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Tips to Reverse Brain Aging and Get Smarter

Cognitive impairment is part of the aging process. but it doesn't have to be! Get-Fit Guy has tips on how to care for your cranium and prevent disabling nerve damage.

By
Ben Greenfield
March 16, 2014
Episode #177

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The recent winter Olympics featured a plethora of head injuries, concussions, and nasty falls, including this cracked helmet snowboard accident. After experiencing multiple concussions myself from activities such as downhill mountain biking and playing backyard football without a helmet (not recommended!), I can’t help but cringe when I see athletes go down hard on or near their head.

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Brain injuries are also extremely common in American professional football players, which has lately created enormous controversy over who is responsible for the early onset of Alzheimer's and other serious cognitive impairment issues being experienced by both current and retired NFL players.

But the fact is that you don’t need to hit your head hard to get brain damage. The normal aging process is associated with diminished blood flow to the brain, which is known as hypoperfusion and causes cell injury, early onset of Alzheimer’s, and cognitive impairment very similar to a head injury, with no helmet cracking required.

So if you want to think better, improve blood flow to your brain, and generally care for your cranium, this episode is for you!

How Your Brain Gets Damaged

Tiny capillaries in your head surround neurons and deliver oxygen and nutrients into the brain. Any interruption to this capillary blood flow can injure or kill your neurons, causing both nerve damage as well as restricted blood flow. This type of interruption is known as hypoperfusion, and must be prevented or fixed to preserve cognitive function.

So how do hypoperfusion and nerve damage occur? Some of the major contributing factors are:

  • Getting hit in the head or knocked unconscious, which creates trauma, inflammation, and swelling that restricts blood flow and damages nerves.

  • Any type of heart surgery in which fat globules released during surgery can travel to the brain and cause clots or low blood flow.

  • Aging, during which veins thicken and capillaries degrade, especially in the presence of a poor diet and low amounts of exercise or mental activity.

  • High levels of blood glucose or intake of inflammatory foods such as vegetable oils, processed sugars, commercially raised meats, or foods to which you might be intolerant or allergic.

For more details on the mechanisms behind how each of these issues can affect your brain, I’d recommend reading this excellent article from the Life Extension Foundation.

How to Increase Blood Flow to Your Brain

So how can you increase blood flow to your head, reverse brain damage, and halt cognitive decline that occurs with aging? Here are 3 Quick and Dirty Tips to reverse brain aging and get smarter:

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