The belief that brain cells once dead cannot come back is thankfully a myth. We now know for a fact that our brains very much have the ability to regenerate cells, this process known as neurogenesis.
Neurogenesis occurs in two main parts of the brain, one being in the hippocampus, which is responsible for cognitive memory and learning while the second part is in the olfactory bulb, a section responsible for smell. Everyone experiences loss or death of brain cells - it is a natural process like the greying of hair or the shedding of skin. But, we are here to say there is a way around this. It is never too late to begin and if you start early on, you will be lucky enough to not experience memory lapses or forgetfulness in your late age. The sooner you start, the better!
Here are some things that encourage neurogenesis:
- Learning something new - when we learn new skills and new ideas, it forces our brain to put neutrons in use which results in stimulation and neurogenesis
- Sex - sex fills our body with pleasure senses and our minds with some stress hormones, but despite this being present, also ignites hippocampal neurogenesis
- Aerobic activity - specifically running, HIIT and resistance training also stimulates hippocampal neurogenesis.
- Meditation - when we meditate, we are softening the harmful effects of stress onto our brain. A brain with less stress can naturally regenerate itself as nature intended. Meditation provides an optimal setting for the brain, so that natural functions and processes can kick in
- Increase your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 can help neurogenesis by a whopping 40%. Omega-3 contains DHA which can protect our brain cells from cell death and encourage neutron growth. Remember, our brains are 2/3 fat and 1/3 DHA so consistent Omega-3s are a must
Conversely, there are things you should be avoiding if neurogenesis is a priority. Here are some of those things: extreme or prolonged stress, lack of sleep, diets high in saturated fat, excessive alcohol consumption, specific medications, hard drugs like cocaine and heroin.
Here is a really good rule of thumb if you are serious about neurogenesis for yourself: Do not allow yourself to go on autopilot. This is because when we are on autopilot, our brains do not have to be on alert, and instead can simply "enjoy" to get away with old programming. But when we do not rely on autopilot, our cerebral cortex is forced to recruit neurons to work on the task. Memory is also jogged. The brain's hippocampus, technically your brain's GPS gets activated. Start today by not relying on the autoroute feature when using Google Maps on your phone. Another good way to stimulate the brain is to regularly use your non dominant hand.
You Can Grow New Brain Cells. Here's How.