The brain is arguably the most complex and most important organ in the human body. It is also one of the largest organs in your body, responsible for each function that happens in your day-to-day life. Therefore, it’s vital to keep it healthy and working at optimum performance. The following are the top 10 brain-damaging habits you need to stop doing immediately, according to the World Health Organization.
1. Skipping Breakfast
Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day. It’s not just something your mother used to say to get you to eat. We can have endless discussions in terms of what we should eat for breakfast or how we should eat it, but one thing’s certain. Going through the day without breakfast causes the metabolism to slow down and the brain to shut down some of its functions.
Moreover, a Japanese study discovered that people who regularly skip breakfast are 36 percent more likely to suffer a brain hemorrhage. On the other hand, many studies support the claim that the brain functions significantly better if properly nourished every morning.
According to a professor of pediatrics at Duke University: “Without glucose, our brain simply doesn’t operate as well. People have difficulty understanding new information, [they have a] problem with visual and spatial understanding, and they don’t remember things as well.”
Many of us are guilty of this one! Since we often eat nutrient-poor foods which diminish brain performance, we overeat and feel hungry all the time. Besides causing excess weight and damaging our self-esteem, overeating also leads to brain-related conditions like dementia and low brain volume.
3. High Sugar Intake
Hiding in almost everything we eat these days, sugar is more dangerous than you realize. High sugar consumption is harmful to every cell, tissue, and organ in the body, including the central nervous system. Studies have also found that there’s a link between regular excess sugar intake and Alzheimer’s disease.
We’re all aware that smoking is bad for one’s health, right? However, the worst side effect of smoking is that it causes “multiple brain shrinkage”. According to a 2004 research: “The study found that cigarette smoking alone caused damage to neuronal viability and cell membranes in the midbrain and on cell membranes of the cerebellar vermis. These brain regions are involved in fine and gross motor functions and balance and coordination.”
Fortunately, the body is resilient and most of the damage caused by smoking can be repaired over a certain short period of time.
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to think in different ways, keep memories and make new connections. Without intellectual stimulation, your brain’s effectiveness will decline, similar to any other organ.
6. Lack of Sleep
Getting good quality and adequate amount of sleep is of crucial importance for the overall health, including brain health. Your brain is also active while your sleeping. Two important activities that take place while sleeping are: long-term storage of memories and eliminating toxins. Experts believe long-term sleep deprivation leads to plaque accumulation, increased risk of neurodegenerative disease and changes in the memory.
7. Working through Illness
When you’re ill, it’s advisable to rest and eat properly. There’s nothing that can’t wait for at least a day. Whenever going through an illness, even a simple cold, the body, and the immune system are working at full capacity to fight off the infection. So, if you decide to work, you will not only prolong your illness but also increase the susceptibility to subsequent issues that can impair brain function.
8. Cell Phones
This subject of whether cell phones are dangerous or not, is controversial, as there are studies supporting both sides of the issues. Regardless of which one you agree with, you must be aware that electromagnetic fields emit radiation which is detrimental to human health if one’s exposed to it in close proximity and extended periods. At the very least, sleeping next to a cell phone is distracting.
In addition, a Swedish study found that radiation from a cell phone causes confusion, headaches, and is linked to cancers and brain tumors. If you want to minimize the risk, you can limit cell phone use and put it as far away from you as often as possible.
Oral communication uses a different part of the brain than written communication. Since humans are highly sociable beings, the fact that lack of social interaction and oral communication can cause anxiety and depression isn’t surprising.
10. Air Pollution
The only way to avoid air pollution is to wear an oxygen mask constantly. The air we breathe is full of harmful chemicals which affect all aspects of human condition.
Among other things, it has been found that air pollution causes brain shrinkage and cognitive impairment. All that we breathe and absorb through the skin, moves through the bloodstream, affecting every single organ, including the brain.
Researchers have also established a link between air pollution and worsening of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease.
Here’s an informative excerpt from an article written by neurologist Russell L. Blaylock, MD:
“My major concern is that there is evidence that they are spraying tons of nanosized aluminum compounds. It has been demonstrated in the scientific and medical literature that nanosized particles are infinitely more reactive and induce intense inflammation in a number of tissues. Of special concern is the effect of these nanoparticles on the brain and spinal cord, as a growing list of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) are strongly related to exposure to environmental aluminum.
“Studies have shown that these particles pass along the olfactory neural tracts, which connect directly to the area of the brain that is not only most affected by Alzheimer’s disease, but also the earliest affected in the course of the disease. It also has the highest level of brain aluminum in Alzheimer’s cases.
“The intranasal route of exposure makes spraying of massive amounts of nanoaluminum into the skies especially hazardous, as it will be inhaled by people of all ages, including babies and small children for many hours. We know that older people have the greatest reaction to this airborne aluminum. Because of the nanosizing of the aluminum particles being used, home-filtering systems will not remove the aluminum, thus prolonging exposure, even indoors.”