If you have an eating disorder, chances are it has taken a toll on your brain, whether you realize it or not. Your brain needs to heal. According to Dr. Ovidio Bermudez at Eating Recovery Center in Denver, "The enigma lies in the degree to which the psychopathology is the primary process vs. secondary to the nutritional insult and starvation. Sometimes, the psyhopathological features predated the nutritional insult and are then unmasked or exacerbated by the state of starvation."
Given that the average life expectancy in the US has increased to 78.8 and many of us can reasonably expect to live into our 80’s and 90’s, we want to stay sharp.
Here are some of the most beneficial things you can do to nurture your brain:
–Eat enough calories. Brain imaging studies have demonstrated that the brain literally shrinks in size with malnutrition. Let that sink in for a moment. The good news is that the brain has an incredible capacity to repair itself with increased nutrition.
–Consume omega-3 fats, DHA in particular. This comes from foods like walnuts, salmon, and olive oil, as well as fish oil supplements.
–Exercise. According to Dr. John Rattay, "The evidence is incontrovertible: aerobic exercise physically remodels our brains for peak performance."
–Maintain healthy blood sugar. While glucose (your blood sugar) is your brain's source of fuel, it's important that your blood sugar isn't consistently running high. Some scientists are considering Alzheimer's disease "type 3 diabetes" because it appears that high blood sugar may contribute to the progression of the disease.
–Engage your brain in cognitive challenges, interests and hobbies. It’s like weight lifting for your muscles – you have to push yourself to get stronger.
–Avoid drugs. This includes abuse of prescription and over the counter medications.
–Don’t drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
–Get adequate, high-quality sleep. This is when your brain rests and rejuvenates.
–Hang out with your friends. Social connection is an actual human need.
–Meditate, pray, spend time in nature…do whatever clears your head. Your brain needs breaks from the stress and chaos of everyday life.
–Healthy Mind Platter is a super useful tool from Dr. Dan Siegel!