Brain Health 101
The brain is a complex and highly functioning organ in the human body that requires phenomenal consciousness and nurturing to unlock its potential. Researchers and curious individuals alike are fascinated by the brain’s influence on every aspect of human lives. The British Medical Journal- BMJ emphasizes the vital role of a healthy brain when pursuing well-being and the burden of neurological disorders caused by internal/ external factors. Although it may seem like the challenges of maintaining brain health are tremendous and unavoidable for some communities, specific elements contribute to a robust brain.
The World Health Organization- WHO defines brain health as “the state of brain functioning across cognitive, sensory, social-emotional, behavioral and motor domains, allowing a person to realize their full potential over the life course, irrespective of the presence or absence of disorders.” This indicates that optimizing brain health improves mental and physical health besides the impact of optimal well-being on humans, leading to an advanced society.
However, disruption to the brain and nervous system emerges over time and affect brain growth and functions. These conditions may manifest as various diseases- stated by WHO, including but not limited to,
- neurological disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and cerebral palsy;
- headache disorders such as migraine;
- cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke;
- neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease;
- neuroinfectious illnesses such as HIV, neurocysticercosis, and cerebral malaria;
- neuromuscular disorders such as peripheral neuropathy;
- muscular dystrophies, and myasthenia gravis;
- traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries;
- cancers of the nervous system;
In pursuit of resolve for the mentioned conditions unfolds, a multisectoral and interdisciplinary approach guided by professionals focused on prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation over time, besides the active engagement of affected individuals, their families, and carers.
Furthermore, the World Federation of Neurology- WFN and other health-related entities endorse several practices to maintain brain health as follows:
Individuals who stay fit psychical and mentally through regular exercise show lower risks of brain growth/development-related disorders and maintain cognitive abilities. Besides, human beings need to move around to feed the blood-pumping operation to the brain. Passive or active sports such as swimming, walking, cycling, dancing, and more all count, although consistency matters the most.
Another vital key to maintaining brain health is sleeping regularly to help the brain process daily inputs and dispose of metabolic waste. The average amount recommended for restful sleeping is six to seven hours a night, even though it differs between different age groups. Besides, sleep boosts brain functions and the immune system and keeps humans sharp and focused.
- Balanced Diet
In the same way that adopting healthy eating habits preserve the physical body, a balanced diet nurtures the brain. At the same time, processed foods lead to inflammation and vascular disease, resulting in tissue damage. A balanced diet imitates the food pyramid that consists of fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains.
The surrounding environment influences the individual’s well-being, positively or negatively. Environmental toxins humans stimulate or counter can lead to neurological issues (listed above). All types of pollution affect all life forms on earth, including humans starting with children who seem to develop learning problems and behavioral difficulties associated with blood contaminated with deficient levels of lead (a heavy metal), as stated by the United Nations Environment Programme- UNEP.
In summary, it is an individual’s mission to look after humans’ most magnific treasures to crossover into futuristic civilizations of thrivability.