My profession and previous post discussed a few methods to use modern science for neurological protection in the ring. These included things like oxiracetam as a potent neuro protective agent as well as traditional Chinese medicine.
Despite the usefulness of these nootropic compounds, there may be simple lifestyle choices that can protect your brain even more. Not only are these more convenient, natural, and cheaper, but they will probably provide more of a benefit than the smart drugs.
We all know that getting enough sleep, eating properly and treating our body “right” will yield the best results. However, the specifics of these lifestyle habits and brain trauma are largely unknown or ignored. Here are some of the things you should consider for optimal brain health and protection:
Not getting enough sleep can be painful. Caffeine is one of the world’s favorite nootropics because it can mitigate some of the problems that come with sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, pain associated with a lack of sleep is nearly as head trauma. A study in Sweden showed that toxic substances secreted during head injuries were also found in sleep deprived individuals. This may be one of the reasons sleep deprivation is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Everything in moderation is okay, but not everyone maintains this level-headedness when drinking alcohol. The toxic effects of alcohol are well known, but on the brain there is less research. Alcohol severely impairs testosterone production, which will negatively effect memory construction. Chronic alcohol consumption increases the chances of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and cognitive decline. As one gets older, the toxic effects of alcohol become worse and worse.
Food Choices Matter
Eating the right kinds of foods (or avoiding them) can be imperative to brain health and protection as well. For MMA fighters that want to minimize head trauma as much as possible, a healthful diet is key.
Choline is the precursor to acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for memory formation. Historically, people have consumed plenty of choline through organ meats and eggs, but modern diets lack in both. If you can’t stomach the organ meats, try to incorporate an average of one egg per day to get adequate amounts of choline.
Not everyone Celiac disease (gluten sensitivity), but many recent studies show far greater effects of gluten than initially thought. Whether gluten is harmful to you may be hard to determine, but tracking cognition is a great way to find out whether your gluten food choices are having an impact on your brain. Avoiding all gluten can be difficult so move into a gluten-free diet slowly if needed.
I’ve been an adherent to a modified Paleo style diet for over a year and the one thing that has provided the biggest benefit for my brain is the lack of sugar. If you need carbs or glucose, try to get complex carbs in the form of sweet potatoes and yams that have other nutrients and fiber. Sugar consumption might not be a huge problem for the body composition of an MMA fighter, but the effects it has on the brain are profound. The glucose rush to the brain along with dopamine overload can cause a decline in brain health.
Natural Brain Health Improvements
Nootropics and smart drugs are great, but there are plenty of natural methods you can use in order to improve your brain health. Some of the daily tasks and decisions you make can profoundly impact your overall cognition.
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