The 7 Scariest Brain Health Enemies to Watch Out For

Max Lugavere, a journalist and author of the book Genius Foods, emphasized the importance of identifying the “bad guys” threatening your cognitive power. Identifying them is the first step towards defeating those brain health enemies.

Lugavere describes Genius Foods as “a guide to attaining optimal brain function.” (He was also one of our amazing speakers at a past  Nutritious Life Studio Master Class!)

That means he doesn’t just share the things that might be messing with your mental health. He also explains the many scientific concepts and research studies relevant to brain health, like how neurotransmitters work and how your gut health affects your brain. And those chapters are interspersed with odes to brain-boosting foods like avocados, eggs, dark leafy greens, and chocolate. (Wow, brain health is delicious!)

“We deserve better brains—and the secret lies in our food,” he says.

Ready to rev up your brain for better memory, sharper thinking, more happiness, and dementia prevention? Start by battling the brain health bad guys, below, and then dive deeper into Genius Foods to take your mind to the next level.

brain health enemies

7 Brain Health Enemies to Defeat

1. Inflammation

Over the past few years, it’s become more clear that inflammation (the systemic, chronic kind)  is at the root of most chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Lugavere lays out how it’s also linked to “brain disease, brain fog, and depression.”

RELATED: 7 Delicious Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Eat Daily

2. Overfeeding

As you might have heard, there are now more overweight than underweight people in the world, and obesity is especially bad news for the brain. “With our bodies constantly in a ‘fed’ state, an ancient balance has been lost,” Lugavere says, “one that has set us up for low brain energy, accelerated aging, and decay.”

3. Nutrient Deficiency

Aging and cognitive decline is also accelerated by not getting enough of all of the important vitamins and minerals in our diets, he says. Eating a wide variety of nutrient-dense whole foods can help combat that.

4. Toxic Exposure

Here, Lugavere’s not just talking about chemicals like pesticides (but yes, those are a serious problem). There are also all kinds of “food-like” products you may be eating if your diet is high in processed foods, like cheap oils and additives.

5. Chronic Stress

Stress is a major cause of inflammation, and we already know that’s no good. It also often makes you reach for unhealthy foods and “is directly toxic to our brain function,” Lugavere says.

RELATED: The Effective, Long-Term Stress-Relief Techniques Experts Rely On

6. Physical Stagnation

The brain-boosting benefits of exercise are backed by tons of research (hello, endorphins!), so it’s no wonder sitting still all of the time would have the opposite effect.

7. Sleep Loss

If you don’t get enough high-quality sleep, your brain’s going to be totally out whack, since it uses the time to give your brain a kind of “deep clean.” Research has shown lack of sleep is associated with the loss of brain cells, disrupted dopamine levels (which affect mental health),  and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)

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The Nutritious Life Editors are a team of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who not only subscribe to — and live! — the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, but also have access to some of the savviest thought leaders in the health and wellness space — including our founder and resident dietitian, Keri Glassman. From the hottest trends in wellness to the latest medical science, we stay on top of it all in order to deliver the info YOU need to live your most nutritious life.

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