Neurogenesis is the amazing process by which our brains are capable of creating new brain cells as well as their respective connections.
Feeling skeptical? That’s common.
After all, until recently, it was widely believed that, as we grow older, the brain loses its nerve cells and they’re destroyed beyond repair. Now, there’s evidence that you can actually regenerate your neurons.
What’s more, it was assumed that suffering a traumatic accident or consuming high levels of alcohol led to the definitive loss of the brain’s agility and competency, both of which are characteristic of a healthy person and healthy habits.
Now, there’s a word that gives us hope: neuroplasticity.
Despite the fact that our brains do change over the years, or because of injuries or bad habits (alcohol, smoking…), this organ has the capability of regenerating itself, creating new neuronal pathways and tissue.
However, for this process to actually happen, we must take a proactive approach in order to stimulate our brains’ natural capacity.
Today, we want to share the steps you can take to help promote neurogenesis.
Everything you think and do reorganises your brain
The human brain barely weighs around three pounds, yet it consumes almost 20% of our total energy.
Everything we do – whether it be reading, studying, or talking to somebody – causes incredible changes to be made to our brain’s structure. In fact, rather interestingly, everything we think and feel has an effect.
For example, if our daily life is built on stress or we are taken over by anxiety, regions of the brain (like the hippocampus, which is associated with memory) are often affected.
The brain is like an internal sculpture shaped by our emotions, thoughts, actions and everyday habits.
For this internal map to work, it needs all of the relevant ‘roads’, ‘bridges’ and ‘links’ that make it possible to stay in touch with the real world.
Today, we’ll explain how you can improve your quality of life by focusing on your mental health.
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5 top tips to help promote neurogenesis
Physical exercise and neurogenesis are very closely related.
Every time we start our body working by going for a walk, going swimming, or hitting the gym for a simple exercise regime, we oxygenate our brain.
Not only does this supply our brains with a rush of purer and more oxygenated blood, it also stimulates the production of endorphins.
Endorphins improve our mood, and for that reason, help to combat stress, therefore strengthening many neural structures.
Any activity that reduces our stress levels promotes neurogenesis. All you need to do is find what type of exercise is best for you (dancing, walking, cycling…)
2. An agile mind, a powerful brain
There are many ways to keep your brain agile, awake and capable of processing your surroundings more quickly. One of these ways is by doing another type of exercise, although this time we have to put the physical kind to one side and take our brains to the gym.
- By reading every day, you heighten your interest and curiosity for new things.
- You can also enjoy the benefits of learning a new language.
- Learn to play an instrument.
- View things critically and make your own conclusions.
- Play games and solve puzzles.
- Develop an open mind, be receptive to everything that is around you, socialise, travel, discover things, and be passionate about life.
3. Take care of your diet
One of the biggest enemies against having a healthy brain is saturated fat. Pre-prepared and processed foods also slow down neurogenesis.
That’s why it’s important to follow a low-calorie but varied diet that includes all the nutrients we need.
Always remember that our brains need energy, and that in the morning, for example, a healthy dose of sugary food is always good.
However, we should also take into account that this glucose load should come from a piece of fruit, a square of dark chocolate, a spoonful of honey, or a cup of oats.
Foods rich in omega-3 are, without a doubt, the best foods to encourage neurogenesis.
4. Sex helps, too
Sex is a great architect of the brain and a natural promoter of neurogenesis. Can you guess why?
Sex doesn’t just regulate stress, but it also has a huge impact on our emotions, which stimulates the areas of the brain related to memory.
Hormones like serotonin, dopamine, or oxytocin, generated during these intimate moments, promote the creation of new nerve cells.
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The effects that meditation has on the brain are unquestionable and marvelous.
- Meditation improves certain cognitive abilities, such as attention span, memory and concentration, for example.
- It helps us to be present, to channel stress and anxiety.
- Also, when we meditate, our brain starts to work differently; it boosts alpha waves, which little by little, create gamma waves. These waves improve relaxation which, in turn, helps stimulate brain connectivity and neurogenesis.
Despite the fact that learning to meditate requires some time and practice, achieving it is the best natural medicine for our minds and well-being.
To conclude, as you can see, these 5 key things are easy to do, fun to put into practice and very beneficial for your brain’s health.
If you would like to find out more about neurogenesis, we suggest you watch the following video: