Based on current research literature, we know a single chiropractic adjustment can improve overall brain function by 20%. We understand specifically the prefrontal cortex undergoes functional improvement with chiropractic care. This part of your brain is a little bit like the conductor of the brain and is responsible for making all the other parts of your brain cooperate together in perfect harmony. It is where your executive functions take place. Check out the following improvements to the prefrontal cortex with adjustments:
A Chiropractic adjustment can improve:
- goal directed tasks
- autonomic function
- decision making
- eye movements
- memory and attention
- spatial awareness
- processing of pain and emotional responses to it
One of the best ways to protect your thinking skills is to exercise. Aerobic exercise helps improve the health of brain tissue by increasing blood flow to the brain and reducing the chances of injury to the brain from cholesterol buildup in blood vessels and from high blood pressure. Exercise also stimulates the brain to release brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a molecule essential for repairing brain cells and creating connections between them.
Eat a healthier diet
The best diet for your brain is the one that’s good for your heart and blood vessels. That means eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; getting protein from fish and legumes; and choosing healthy unsaturated fats (olive oil, canola) over saturated fats (butter). Foods associated with slowing cognitive decline include fish with omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, mackerel); strawberries and blueberries; and dark, leafy greens (kale, spinach, broccoli).
Take better care of yourself
These habits also support brain health:
- Get more sleep. People who sleep less than seven hours a night have a higher risk for dementia. During sleep, the brain clears out waste material, including excess amyloid protein, which contributes to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Manage stress. Stress stimulates the release of the hormone cortisol, which is helpful in small amounts. However, high cortisol levels over the long-term lead to excess plaque in blood vessels, decreased oxygen to the brain, and brain damage.
- Stop smoking. Quitting cuts down on the risk of blood vessel disease and brain damage, among other health benefits.
- Treat underlying conditions. High blood pressure and high cholesterol impair blood flow to the brain. People with depression or hearing loss have a higher risk for developing dementia.
This connection is fascinating, because although there are thousands of years of anecdotal evidence that meditation can help a person psychologically, and perhaps neurologically, the scientific evidence for meditation’s effects on the brain has really just exploded in the last five or 10 years. Meditation has been linked to increased brain volume in certain areas of the cerebral cortex, along with less volume in the brain’s amygdala, which controls fear and anxiety. It’s also been linked to reduced activity in the brain’s default mode network (DMN), which is active when our minds are wandering about from thought to thought, which are typically negative and distressing. Meditation also seems to lead to changes to the white matter tracks connecting different regions of the brain, and to improved attention and concentration.
Staying mentally active over the course of a lifetime, starting with education, is tied to cognitive health–which explains why crosswords and Sudoku are thought to help cognition. Mental activity may or may not keep a brain from developing disease (like Alzheimer’s), but it certainly seems to be linked to fewer symptoms, since it fortifies us with what’s known as cognitive reserves. Higher cognitive activity endows the brain with a greater ability to endure the effects of brain pathologies compared to a person with lower cognitive engagement throughout life.