In today's uncertain times, it's not unusual for our brains to feel fuzzy and our thinking to become distracted by the anxiety around us. But a leading functional medicine expert says that just as we want to pay attention to and increase our lifespan, we should be giving our brains a little TLC right now.
Bryce Wylde, author of the newly released book, "Brainspanners," says most of us are not doing enough to take care of this vital organ.
"If you want to remain clear-headed as you age, taking care of your brain should be at the top of your self-care list," he says.
Wylde says that our brains become toxic from various environmental factors and chemicals. He says that accumulation of toxins is associated with cognitive decline, which make detoxifying the brain essential. These toxins are found everywhere, from the bleach in our laundry rooms to the chemicals in foods and cosmetics.
"While the brain is designed to detoxify itself, over time this process may become less efficient," he says. "Your brain may also be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of toxins it's exposed to from the environment and your diet. Thankfully, there are ways you can support your brain's detoxification process, and in doing so may increase your 'brainspan.'"
Wylde explains that your life span is the number of years you live on this planet. "Healthspan is the number of healthy years you will enjoy, while brainspan refers to the number of years you will live in good health with the healthiest brain possible," he says.
His new book features tips from brain experts such as Dr. Mehmet Oz, Andrew Weil, Daniel Amen, and Bill Sears.
Here are his tips:
- Make sure you are getting enough vitamin B9, also called folate. This is an essential vitamin for your brain and central nervous system. It also aids in cellular detoxification. Foods rich in folate include fortified foods, fresh fruits, leafy green vegetables, and nuts.
- Supplement with Glyteine to boost glutathione levels. "Glutathione is the most important detoxification molecule, essential for getting rid of harmful chemicals and metabolic byproducts that are dangerous to the brain," says Wylde. Some people are better at manufacturing glutathione than others, and as we age, our body's ability to make the substance declines, so supplementation may be necessary.
- Make sleep a priority. "Our brains do most of their detoxifying when we are in deep sleep," Wylde explains. "That's when the spaces between the brain's cells enlarge and accumulated waster can be flushed away. This can't happen during waking hours. It would be like a railway crew trying to repair the tracks while the train are running."
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