Growth is such a funny thing, it’s a simple enough concept but with a mind of its own, and that too of a naughty kid. You think I am joking, well answer me this, when we want our biceps to grow, that may or may not happen but your tummy would gladly grow. Want more hair on your head, keep trying remedies but your stubborn mustache will be back in no time. Hoping for money to grow, well gotta try harder, but the bills (deep sigh). When you are a kid all you want is to grow old and then when we turn adult, we wish to halt the growth or reverse it still. So yeah growth is funny, it’s like that climber on your wall that will go wherever it feels like unless you direct it and keep guiding it back to where you want it.
Similarly, this whole growth thing is happening in our bodies as well all the time. Our old cells die and are replaced by new cells. Now one would naturally assume that this procedure applies to the brain as well. But for the longest time it was thought that brain cells (neurons) aren’t regenerated, you use the ones you are born with and as they slowly die out, out goes your cognitive functions like retaining old memories, confusing things, motor movements too. But thankfully this belief was altered, or else it would have been a very short article. So yes brain cells can and do regenerate.
The first study came in the ’90s from Princeton university on monkeys showing the growth of new brain cells. Then some more study and research was conducted and to be honest there is still a debate happening about neurogenesis. But the scales have been weighing heavier with research that says we do continue to grow new brain cells.
Neurogenesis (growth of new brain cells from stem cells) happens in one part of the brain – hippocampus the one associated with learning and memory. This part continues to sprout more brain cells all through the age, more research is being conducted to find more about other parts. Yes, there is the fact that the number of new neurons declines with age, the same as the rest of our body. Now the best way to do is to exercise the brain, physical exercises help too, but working out your brain like learning something new, or breaking the routine and trying the old thing new way, releasing stress all boosting growth of new cells.
And our diets also play an important role in aiding and promoting neuron regeneration. Here’s what you need to be chewing on for your brain to stew on:
· Flavonoids & Resveratrol: blueberries, red wine, cocoa, green tea
· Omega-3 Fatty acid: salmon, sardines, herring, flax seeds, Walnuts
More brain cells mean better learning, better retention, better emotional stability, helps fight against depression, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. So put those grey cells to use to produce more, so you can finally enjoy your growth into those advanced years.