It never ceases to amaze me that there is a connection between our brain and our bones. Of course, the brain connects to every body system in some capacity; but the way in which it interacts with bones is really fascinating.
We’re going to delve into this topic today, touching on two important bone health concepts: cognitive function and fracture avoidance. Both of these health issues can be addressed at the same time with these six activities, beginning with something you’re doing right now, as you read this post…
1. Keep Learning
Learning is easier than ever these days. Thanks to the internet, learning is right at our fingertips, and when you’re searching for information online, you’re actively participating in the experience. Also, hand-held devices that connect to the internet just about anywhere make it easier than ever to keep your brain sharp.
Of course, you don’t only have to gain new knowledge using a computer or electronic device. Reading books, magazines, and newspapers is also an option, and so is solving mind-challenging games like crossword puzzles and Sudoku. Brain-teaser games are also a fantastic way to get a mental workout and keep your mind sharp and your brain healthy.
A healthy brain is a key component of good balance and vice versa, as research confirms.1 The risk of falling increases with cognitive decline, and balance is the key to avoiding falls that could result in painful fractures.
2. Get Enough Bone-Rejuvenating, Mind-Restoring Sleep
Sleep is not unlike a “restart” for your brain, just as you do with a computer. But for your brain to reap the benefits, you need to get quality sleep. According to a Harvard study, sleep that includes dreaming reorganizes and consolidates memories. This isn’t just memories of things you did and experienced, but also tasks you learned, so performance on these learned tasks is actually enhanced when you get adequate sleep.
In the Harvard study, participants worked on completing a puzzle. Half of them took a nap and the other half just rested and remained awake. Then all the participants worked again on the puzzle, and only the ones who had dreamed about the puzzle during their naps improved their performance in solving it.2
The researchers therefore concluded that:
“…human relational memory develops during offline time delays. Furthermore, sleep appears to preferentially facilitate this process by enhancing hierarchical memory binding, thereby allowing superior performance for the more distant inferential judgments…”2
Sleep allows your brain to sort things out and process information. Think of it as allowing your brain to do your filing!
Quality sleep is also a significant factor in bone health. In fact, research clearly shows a connection between sleep deprivation and osteoporosis, because new bone is formed while you sleep.
Remarkably, Foundation Foods, such as cherries, bananas, almonds, and hummus promote healthful sleep, showing once again that building bones and improving brain health go hand in hand.
3. Eat A Bone-Smart Diet That Includes Healthful Fats
Did you know that more than half your brain is composed of fats? Both your brain and your bones thrive when given healthful fats, particularly Omega-3s.
These essential fatty acids are found in foods like walnuts, salmon, chia, pumpkin, and sesame seeds, which are Foundation Foods in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. In fact, many brain-healthy foods are included on the Program’s list of Foundation Foods, such as:
- Legumes, including green beans, black beans, and lentils, which are a healthful source of brain-boosting carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes are also a healthful source of carbohydrates.
- Strawberries, grapes, mangoes, tomatoes, and cucumbers (with the peel) are excellent sources of the antioxidant fisetin, which protects the brain and nervous tissue and is a powerful anti-inflammatory substance.
- Asparagus, citrus fruits, and apples provide rutin, a polyphenol that has been scientifically proven to protect the brain and prevent harmful changes in the hippocampus.3
- Whole grains like oats, brown rice, barley, quinoa, and spelt once again provide healthful carbs your brain needs.
While not a Foundation Food, coconut oil is another excellent brain food, fueling your brain with ketones that are produced when your body converts fats rather than glucose into energy. Coconut oil is especially good for providing these energy-producing ketones, because it is composed primarily of medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, which your body uses to build the ketones. Coconut oil may actually restore neurons even after damage has occurred.4
Human beings are wired to socialize. Even if you find socializing a bit draining, the fact remains that it is good for our brain health. An interesting study of 2,249 women aged 78 or older found that maintaining a large and active social network reduced dementia risk.
The researchers conclude that:
“Our findings suggest that larger social networks have a protective influence on cognitive function among elderly women.”5
So go ahead and make plans to get together with your friends and family, hopefully on a regular basis! That can be a part of the next activity.
5. Make Some Plans For Your Future
I understand that no one can plan everything about their future. There are just too many variables in life. What I mean is to visualize future goals and plan some steps to achieve them. They don’t even have to be that big; you can simply plan for a long-awaited weekend getaway or lay out plans for a small home improvement project. It feels good to have direction and purpose and to see the doable steps you can take to get there!
In fact, making plans actually boosts dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates emotional responses. Dopamine also controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, and having something to look forward to and get excited about is a fantastic way to maintain a pleasurable sense of optimism.
6. Work It Out By Working Out
This one will come as no surprise to Savers. Time and again, research shows that exercise improves cognitive function, relieving depression and improving mood. It also sets a positive feedback loop into motion, where exercise stimulates “feel good” brain chemicals that in turn encourage you to exercise again. Exercise can extend your lifespan, enhance cardiovascular health, and even improve your memory.
Clearly, the benefits of exercise go well beyond building stronger, healthier bones. But of course, reversing bone loss and stimulating new bone growth via exercise is a very important aspect of overcoming osteoporosis and building fracture-resistant bone.
But where to start? Do you ever feel like you know you should exercise, but you’re just not sure about the best place to begin?
Beginning An Exercise Routine Need Not Be Daunting
You don’t have to work out for hours a day to reap all the amazing benefits of exercise. In fact, the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System is designed so you can reap the benefits when you exercise only 15 minutes a day, three days a week. And because Densercise™ is digitally delivered, you can begin in your own home within minutes of your purchase and go at your own pace.
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
Till next time,
1 Tabara, Yasuharu, PhD, et al. “Association of Postural Instability With Asymptomatic Cerebrovascular Damage and Cognitive Decline.” Stroke. December 18, 2014. Doi: 1.1161/SROKEAHA.114.006704. Web. http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/early/2014/12/18/STROKEAHA.114.006704.abstract
2 Ellenbogen, Jeffrey M., et al. “Human relational memory requires time and sleep.” PNAS. 104. 18. (2007): 7723-7728. Web. August 20, 2016. http://www.pnas.org/content/104/18/7723.abstract
3 Javed, H., et al. “Rutin prevents cognitive impairments by ameliorating oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in rat model of sporadic dementia of Alzheimer type.” Neuroscience. 210. (2012): 340-352. Web. May 15, 2016. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306452212001893
4 Nafar F, Mearow KM. “Coconut oil attenuates the effects of amyloid-β on cortical neurons in vitro.” J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;39(2):233-7. doi: 10.3233/JAD-131436. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24150106
5 Crooks, Valerie C., et al. “Social Network, Cognitive Function, and Dementia Incidence Among Elderly Women.” AJPH. 98. 7. (2008): 1221-1227. Web. August 20, 2016. http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2007.115923