What Is Brain Health?
Brain health is the epicenter of how we live and function as human beings.
Brain health must be the key to health, as defined by WHO, because the brain is the agent of all our actions and the mediator of all our experiences.
Why Brain Health?
Philosopher Immanuel Kant said it best,
“Our world is constructed by our mind.”
And to take that one step further, it is the brain that creates the mind. So, by better understanding your brain, you can better understand yourself.
We have taken the unfortunate – and often unfavorable – view after decades of clinical practice and research, and despite all the wonderful advancements in technology, we are in the midst of a biological deterioration of the brain that has affected our neurological and physical health.
With that said, we do know the brain and body have far more potential for improvement than we ever thought possible. But the longer these interventions are delayed, the more uphill the battle becomes.
How To Build Better Brain Health
The Nuro App focuses on 3 pillars needed for a healthy brain: blood flow/oxygen, glucose/sugar, and activation of neurological networks.
We have known for decades that the brain creates behavior and that these pillars are fundamental to the development of optimal neurological activity. We target each of these pillars by assessing the underlying biology of your brain through our Virtual Neural Scan.
Nuro coaches you through daily Nuro Brain Flows to help activate neurological networks that are important in maintaining and restoring brain health. Throughout the app, you are able to also access On Demand Flows focused on promoting better brain health.
Why Build Better Brain Health?
We spend so much time of our life focusing on physical health, but what about our brain health? Taking care of your brain health should become as normal as going to the gym and taking care of your physical health.
If you think about it, if your brain isn’t healthy, how can you be physically healthy?
Much of what brain health promotes is our ability to simply be better. Targeting the root of the problem allows us to perform at higher cognitive levels and make better “mental” decisions. Much of our behavior is driven by our brain health. The healthier the brain, the healthier the behavior.
Real World Example
You've been feeling down and anxious for months and COVID hasn't helped at all. Your primary physician has suggested medication and your therapist has been helpful on occasion. They also suggested a meditation app that after a month has brought you little to no relief.
When looking at the situation, medicine does the two things it has been trained to do:
1. Address symptoms
2. Provide cookie-cutter pharmaceutical relief
While these things can be helpful, no attempt has been made to address the specific underlying neurobiology of the brain.
It is this underlying neurobiology that is our focus moving forward.
Blood moves through our vessels from the arteries, to the capillaries then into the veins. Our blood vessels have two circuits in which blood circulates through the lungs and blood is provided for the tissues in the body. Oxygen is a key component to this movement. Without oxygen, our blood would not be able to eliminate waste from the body and provide nutrients where they are needed the most — in fact, we simply could not survive.
How can we make sure we get ample movement for and in our bodies so that these involuntary actions can do their job? This will ensure we are on the road to optimal cardiovascular health, allowing the blood vessels to support us in brain health.
Physical activity can look like almost anything — we just want to ensure that we are reaching target heart rate levels and we’re going at the right pace. Ideally, you’ll be moving at a pace where you can feel your body working and your heart pumping, but you can still comfortably hold a conversation. In other words, you don’t want to be pushing so hard that you’re out of breath.
Whether you enjoy running, bicycling, yoga, or playing a sport, the most important factor is that our muscles are working and that you’re working at this conversational pace.
Getting enough exercise can also help reduce your risk factors for a wide range of conditions like diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure, high cholesterol, neurodegenerative disorders, and mental decline in old age.
In the world we live in today, there is a significant portion of people who are not receiving adequate amounts of exercise. This could be because of working a desk job and being too tired to workout after work, or having such a busy schedule that there is no desire to exert any more energy during the day. This is where micro actions can come into play. Everyone has to start somewhere, and even taking five minutes out of the day to incorporate a little stretching or to grab that weight off the floor and do just a set or two can help bring you closer to your goal.
Micro-actions can lead to macro-results.
At this point, it will take a deep look within to see where there can be a lifestyle change.
Let’s talk about another key factor for a healthy brain: a healthy diet!
Balancing blood sugars should be key in our nutritional priorities.
The American diet is loaded with processed foods that are overloaded in carbs and sugar. While carbs are needed by our bodies for fuel, we also need vitamins, minerals, proteins, healthy fats, and antioxidants, and these other crucial nutrients are outshined by the massive levels of complex carbs and processed sugar that most of us consume, knowingly or unknowingly.
Make it a point to try and balance your blood sugars — start checking labels, incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables, and cutting out (or even just lessening) all the processed breads, pastas, chips, and snacks.
If you already use our app, awesome! If not, here are a few of the suggestions that you will find as you begin to dive into your suggested routine and recommendations.
- We share that it’s actually best to not eat for the first two hours after waking up. Once we are awake, our liver is actually working to get rid of toxins from the day before. When we load up on food first-thing, especially fats, it makes the liver work harder to detox.
- Do your best to diversify what you eat, so that the body can receive nutrients and vitamins from multiple places. One reason the Mediterranean diet is a favorite is due to the consumption of mainly fish, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats and fatty acids (like those in olive oil). In short, all we can do is what is best for our body and making sure we receive nutrient-dense foods. A healthy diet can help support heart health, maintain your immune system function, lower blood pressure, increase life expectancy, and reduce your risk of cognitive decline.
- An easy way to get on the right path? Eat from the sea — think Mediterranean diet. Fish are so, so nutritionally rich, offering lean protein and healthy fats. They’re easy to pair with fresh roasted veggies, or serve over wild rice with a drizzle of olive oil.
Activation of Neurological Networks
It is essential that the neural pathways in the brain are operating appropriately, yet that is directly related to our eye movements. Visualization actually uses the entire brain, unlike anything else, and it’s the way that we process and interpret information.
We use exercises in our app to assist with building better brain health.
We also have specific blog articles on each of these exercises if you want a deeper dive into the topic.
Essentially, our eye movements show us how the brain is functioning and gives us a peek into the status of our neurological health.
We hope this provides a deeper look at our Nuro App. The only person we are responsible for is ourselves. Take the time to really see how you can improve the overall quality of your life — you won’t regret it.
Source: Frontiers in Neuro Aging - Cerebral Blood Flow and Cognitive Functioning in a Community-Based, Multi-Ethnic Cohort: The SABRE Study