16 Dec Brain Cell Growth: 4 Ways to Neurogenesis
Breakthrough Science for Brain Cell Growth
Modern science is pushing the limits of possibility. Recent research has showed that brain cell growth in adulthood can occur. For many decades, scientists have believed that brain cell growth was impossible after the adult brain fully develops — which happens in a human’s early 20s.
While it is true that humans do lose neurons as aging progresses and most parts of the brain don’t grow new cells, research has shown that neurogenesis — specifically brain cell growth – can happen in a rich and stimulating environment. This revolutionary discovery can have a huge impact on healing and the future health of mankind.
Researcher Michael Kaplan conducted an experiment comparing animals that had no toys with animals that had learning exercises and stimulating toys.
“The animals that participated in the learning tasks and consistently played the toys demonstrated increased brain cell growth and maintenance of their mature cells,” stated an article published by Luis R. Valdez, and American author and research psychologist. “Meaning that our environment plays a much larger role in determining our intellect than our genes do.”
How Alcoholism Affects Brain Cell Growth
The possibility of brain cell growth is critical to recovering from an addiction such as alcoholism, which as proven to significantly decrease neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus.
According to a study by published by the Neuroscience Department of the Rutgers University, “the number of cells produced in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus was reduced by nearly 40% [after just two days of drinking]. Thus, even moderate consumptions of alcohol for a relatively short period of time can have profound effects on structural plasticity in the adult brain.”
Why Brain Cell Growth is Important
Brain cell growth occurs with habits like exercise, meditation and more. This is important because neurogenesis is linked to improving the brain’s memory and thinking functions.
“Exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills …” said Harvard Health Letter Executive Editor Heidi Godman. She points out that this helps combat “the brain fog that comes with age.”
4 Ways to Grow New Brain Cells
New brain cell growth is actually easily achievable. It replies on providing the brain with an enriching and stimulating environment. Follow these 4 steps:
1. Stimulate Your Brain
Research has shown time and again that providing your brain with an enriching and stimulating environment promotes the growth neurogenesis.
This can be accomplished through so many ways: study a new language, immerse yourself in a new culture, challenge yourself with a new puzzle, learn a new instrument, play a memory game, read a book … the list goes on.
2. Go for a Run
As referenced earlier, exercise – specifically cardiovascular exercise – is a great way to induce the growth of new brain cells. Exercise reduces insulin resistance and inflammation, as well as stimulates the release of growth elements (i.e. chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells).
“Engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of selected brain regions,” says Dr. Scott McGinnis, a neurologist at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital and an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School.
So start exercising and encourage new brain cells growth! Walking, running, swimming – any type of aerobic exercise will do!
3. Meditate Daily
Meditation has been linked to brain evolution. Mindful meditation is the practice of being aware of the present moment and noting your feelings and thoughts as they go. Scientists discovered that 10 minutes of quiet mindfulness promotes the creation of new brain cells. According to research psychologist Luis Valdez, the logic behind this idea stems from evolution: Being mindfully present in the moment was an essential skill for survival because being aware and alert helped humans avoid being attacked by predators. Today, being focused and absolved in the present second evolves our brains.
Studies have also shown that meditation has been linked to epigenetics, the ability to alter the expression of one’s DNA.
The benefits to meditation is prolific. Try to incorporate 20 minutes of mindful meditation each day. It’s a great way to start or end your day.
4. Load Up on Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 Fatty Acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential nutrients for health and new brain cell growth. Omega 3s are found in walnuts, flaxseed, Brussels spouts, kale, spinach, salad, fish and more.
According to Dr. Frank Sacks, professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at the Department of Nutrition in Harvard School of Public Health, omega 3 fatty acids are necessary for building cell membranes in the brain.
It can also promote neurogenesis in adults because Omega 3s are made up of two primary components: EPA an DHA. These are both found in the body’s central nervous system and are linked to many neuroprotective and cognitive benefits.
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