Sunday, 17 February 2008

How To Keep Your Brain Healthy

Tess Thompson

The brain is exposed to a large amount of oxygen that is brought to it by oxygen-laden blood. This very condition exposes it to possible damage by free radicals. Technically, free radicals are atoms or a group of atoms with at least one unpaired electron. In the body, this usually occurs when an oxygen molecule loses its electron. This unstable molecule of oxygen stabilizes only when it can steal an electron from a nearby molecule. Free radicals harm the membranes of cells and the DNA, which contains the basic instructions for cells.

This process of oxidizing always occurs accompanied by reduction. As people age, the free radicals attach to the fatty membranes that cover the brain cells. This is the main phenomenon considered to be responsible for loss of mental focus cognitive abilities and memory. It is also believed to be the major cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

Antioxidants are known to provide a convenient manner in which free radicals can be combated. These free radicals enter our system through various sources. The most common sources are pollution, fried foods, and the natural metabolic process that goes on continuously in the body. Antioxidants are thus the most useful foods that can help in protecting overall brain health

The brain not only consumes 20% of the oxygen in the body, it also consumes nearly one third of the body’s energy, despite its low proportionate weight. While energy levels can be maintained with a diet that contains a correct balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, it is not always possible to get a fair amount of vitamins. Vitamin C and E are natural antioxidants, and daily intake of vitamins helps in maintaining a steady level of antioxidants in the body.Herbs that promote mental focus along with foods that are rich in antioxidants, can prolong and even prevent the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and gradual memory loss.

Besides these two vitamins, the value of other vitamins, especially Vitamin B, also deserves mention. There have been studies that show deficiency of Vitamin B6 and B12 can raise levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acid that can lead to injury to the lining of blood vessels and enhance blood clotting if present in excess. Separate studies also show that high levels of this amino acid and low intake of Vitamin B increases risk of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.

Deficiency of Vitamin B6 leads to difficulties in absorption of Vitamin B12 that may increase deficiency of biotin, which is elemental to growth. Deficiency of Vitamin C can impair the natural metabolic process and hamper absorption of iron intake from food. Sufficient quantities of vitamin B, C, and E are highly recommended for delaying and preventing the onset of dementia. Vitamin deficiency in mothers and in early developmental stages of children can lead to abnormalities in the development of the brain.

The value of eating the right kind of food that supplies enough vitamins cannot be undermined in any case. Ensuring vitamin intake in foods or as supplements makes good sense for long-term benefits for the brain. Their properties of preventing oxidation and aiding absorption of essential minerals are elemental to proper growth and maintenance of brain cells.

Article Courtesy Of Native Remedies

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