The brain is one of the least understood organs in the human body. It is responsible for cognitive processing, stores our memories, and helps regulate functions throughout the body. In fact, it’s estimated that the brain processes about 70,000 thoughts each day!
Brain health is related to a variety of factors, including mental and social stimulation, but is also affected by what we’re exposed to in the environment.
What makes the brain so vulnerable?
Almost all the cells in the brain are in place by age two or three, and only a few small regions of the brain grow new cells after that point. Given this short window of time a person has to develop a healthy brain and maintain healthy cells, the human brain is extremely vulnerable to environmental pollution. The brain may only account for up to 2% of a person’s weight, but it consumes 20% of the body’s energy at a rate that is ten times faster than the rest of the body per gram of tissue. This energy-hungry organ requires a constant supply of energy to function, and what you ingest and are exposed to has a direct impact on its processes.
Dementia the seventh leading cause of death among all diseases
Dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in cognitive function beyond what might be expected from the usual consequences of biological ageing. Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. There are nearly 10 million new cases every year. Dementia results from a variety of diseases and injuries that primarily or secondarily affect the brain. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and may contribute to 60-70% of cases. Dementia has physical, psychological, social and economic impacts, not only for people living with dementia, but also for their carers, families and society at large.
There is currently no cure for dementia but studies show that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline and dementia by being;
· Physically active
· Not smoking
· Avoiding harmful use of alcohol
· Controlling weight
· Eating healthy diet and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Additional risk factors include depression, social isolation, low educational attainment, cognitive inactivity and air pollution.
Institute of Integrative Nutrition / Brain Health