On average, a human adult brain weighs about 3 pounds (1,300-1,400 g), which is roughly 2% of your total body weight (not counting excess body fat). Your brain is responsible for almost every function in your body. This includes anything that has to do with regulating hormones, breathing, circadian rhythm, muscle control, heart beating, coordination, critical thinking, emotions and much more.
It goes without saying that the brain is one of the most energy demanding organ in your body. It’s estimated that the brain by itself eats up almost 20% of your body’s total calorie intake. And that number can vary based on age, gender, size and how much brain power you actually use throughout the day.
Since the brain is responsible for so many things, you’ll want to have it work at its optimum performance until The Big Sleep.
The following are ten common practices you may be doing that go against that goal.
Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to think in different ways, make new connections, and retain memories. Without intellectual stimulation, your brain—like any other organ—will atrophy.
2. No Breakfast
It’s not just something your mother used to nag you about: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Without it, not only will you feel sluggish but your brain—that’s revving up for another busy day—hasn’t been fed in many hours. (1) Running on empty without proper nutrition day after day will cause your metabolism to slow and your brain to shut down some functions—permanently.
In addition, a Japanese study found that people who routinely skip breakfast are thirty-six percent more likely to suffer a brain hemorrhage. (2) Many studies support the observation that the brain performs better if properly nourished every morning; from a professor of pediatrics at Duke University:
“Without glucose our brain simply doesn’t operate as well. People have difficulty understanding new information, [they have a] problem with visual and spatial understanding, and they don’t remember things as well.” (3)
Eating breakfast also curbs cravings and over-eating later in the day. (4)
3. Cell phones
This is one of those controversial subjects for which you can find studies landing on both sides of the issue, depending on the particular bias of the research.
Electromagnetic fields exude radiation and we know that exposure to radiation in close proximity and for extended periods is detrimental to human health. At the very least, sleeping with your cell phone next to your bed is distracting and can disrupt sleep.
A Swedish study found that the radiation from a cell phone can also cause headaches and confusion. (5, 6) Another recent study established a definite link between cell phone radiation and cancers, including brain tumors. (7)
Use a headset and limit cell phone use, turning it off and putting it as far away from you as possible as often as possible.