Certain lifestyle choices and daily habits can be a major threat to your brain function which can lead to long-term health problems. In this article, we’ll explore the bad lifestyle habits that could be damaging your brain, perhaps not noticeable now, but the decisions you make now could be causing problems as you age. You may be doing things that are bad for your brain every day without realising!
The human brain is a very important organ in the body. It is responsible for controlling most of the functions that keep us alive. The brain also controls all of our thoughts, memories, and emotions. We need to take care of our brain because it is not something we can easily replace or fix if it gets hurt.
Your brain needs to be looked after just as your body does, but many of us don’t pay enough attention to our cognitive health and realise the things that affect the brain negatively.
We all know that poor lifestyle choices can impact our physical health. For example, if you eat a lot of unhealthy food and never exercise, you will gain weight and increase your chances of heart disease and strokes.
But did you know bad lifestyle choices can also kill brain cells and stop your brain from functioning as it should?
Over the years, neglecting your brain will increase your chances of developing cognitive conditions like memory loss in later life.
In the short term, it makes it hard to concentrate on things and stay productive, and can also lead to mental health issues.
List of things that are bad for your brain (why and how to fix)
There are lots of ways to keep your brain sharp and healthy, as well as protect it from damage as you age. From food to environment, you can help to improve brain function and prevent cognitive decline in later life.
Below we’ll explore some of the things that are bad for your brain and the bad lifestyle choices you should avoid.
#1 Eating junk food is bad for your brain
We all know junk food is bad for our bodies, but what about our brains?
Consuming lots of fat and sugar leads to high blood pressure and cholesterol. This restricts the blood flow to the brain.
This can kill off neurons and reduce your overall brain function leading to reduced brainpower and potential problems in the future.
Sugary foods also cause a big spike in energy followed by a crash. When people are experiencing this sugar crash, it affects concentration in a big way.
Constantly eating the wrong nutrients is one of the main things that are bad for your brain.
However, eating a diet rich in vitamins and nutrients, and cutting back on the sugar and fat will ensure that your brain has everything it needs to stay healthy. A whole food, plant-based diet rich in all the nutrients your brain needs is one of the things that affect the brain positively.
I recommend reading the books The China Study, Wholefood Revolution and A Fat Chance to learn more about how a plant-based diet is good for your cognitive function and also why sugar is so terrible for us.
If you’re wondering what to eat and how to get started with eating healthier, I recommend topping up your fruits and veggies each week with a delicious organic box from Riverford or Abel and Cole. This will ensure you get a variety of fresh foods in your diet.
Then add lots of natural wholegrains and whole foods like beans, peas, lentils, nuts, wholegrain rice, chickpeas, spices and herbs. For texture in meals add tofu, seitan, jackfruit, mushrooms, aubergine, soya mince, soya pieces and as much natural unprocessed food as you can.
#2 Not sleeping properly can negatively impact your brain
Lack of sleep is one of the worst things for your brain. It can impact all areas of cognitive functioning, including memory, concentration, decision-making, and creative thinking.
Sleeping helps provide the time for your brain to heal and repair cells that have been damaged during the day.
When you are sleep-deprived, your brain cannot focus on anything for more than a few seconds before wandering off to something else.
So, it’s vital that you get into a good sleep routine and try to sleep at the same time each night. If you have trouble sleeping, try some of these great natural remedies to help.
Here’s one of the best videos on sleep I have ever seen, explaining why it’s so important:
#3 Drug abuse affects your brain
Drug abuse has a huge impact on the brain, and not just in the short term. Studies have long proven that drugs can cause long-term damage to mood and cognitive abilities, and also increase the risk of developing depression and other mental issues.
Over time drug abuse can lead to significant memory loss; it damages neuron pathways and reduces the number of connections between neurons in the brain. This can lead to mental health problems and cause someone to get into a downward spiral that is very difficult to get out of. If you are using drugs and can’t stop, it is crucial that you get into a drug rehab facility as soon as possible.
People often make the mistake of thinking that recreational drug use will not cause long-term damage but even if it is only occasionally, using drugs will always damage your brain. If you are having trouble breaking free from the social circles that enable your addiction, consider visiting an inpatient drug rehab centre.
#4 Not taking care of your ears may impact your brain
You may not realise it but there is a very strong link between hearing loss and cognitive decline.
Studies show that those who had suffered from hearing loss for a long time were more likely to develop dementia or other brain-related diseases later on in life.
This is thought to be because the brain loses plasticity and the ability to adapt when it has been deprived of hearing for such a long time.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t take good care of their ears when they are young because they don’t think that hearing loss will be a problem for them yet.
But listening to headphones very loud or exposing yourself to a lot of loud noises without hearing protection will do some serious lasting damage. By protecting your ears, you can reduce the chances of hearing loss and protect your brain too.
It’s also important to take care of your children’s ears in noisy environments such as at festivals with loud music. Our kids have these ear defenders and love them for noisy events. They come in all sorts of designs and many expand to adult size too.
#5 Lack of natural light could damage your brain
We know that getting enough sunlight is important for a number of reasons. But did you know it also helps protect your brain?
When exposed to natural light, the pineal gland produces a hormone called melatonin, which has been linked with slowing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
The problem is that most people spend far too much time indoors these days, and rarely get enough exposure to natural light. This is a problem because it can disrupt the body’s internal clock and make it difficult for people to sleep properly.
Try to get outside every day if you possibly can, even if it is just for a few minutes.
Final thoughts on things that are bad for your brain
The brain is the most important organ in the body. Without it, we cannot function. It controls our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Our brains need proper nutrients to stay healthy and maintain their functions.
Above are just 5 bad habits that damage your brain. There are lots of things that are bad for your brain, but many of them you can make a decision to improve. The choice is in your hands.
By making some simple changes to your lifestyle, you can avoid damaging your brain and maintain your cognitive function for much longer as you age.