July 15, 2015
Lifestyle strategies can promote neurogenesis and regrowth of brain cells. All of the following strategies target a specific gene pathway called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes brain cell growth and connectivity as demonstrated on MRI scans.
- Exercise. In one year-long study, individuals who engaged in exercise were actually growing andexpanding the brain’s memory center one to two percent per year, where typically that center would have continued to decline in size.
- Reducing overall calorie consumption.
- Reducing carbohydrate consumption.
- Increasing healthy fat consumption. Coconut oil is ideal, as it contains 66 percent medium-chain triglycerides (MCT)—a primary source of ketone bodies, which is the preferred fuel for your brain. There’s even evidence suggesting that ketone bodies may help restore and renew neurons and nerve function in your brain, even after damage has set in. Therapeutic levels of MCTs have been studied at 20 grams per day, which is equivalent to just over two tablespoons. Intermittent fasting also boosts ketone production.
- Increasing your omega-3 fat intake and reducing consumption of damaged omega-6 fats (think processed vegetable oils) in order to balance your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Krill oil also contains astaxanthin, which appears to be particularly beneficial for brain health. It belongs to the class of carotenoids, and is very “focused” on reducing free radical-mediated damage to fat, and your brain is 60 or 70 percent fat.