You Can Grow New Brain Cells. Here's What You Can Do to Optimize Brain Function

Featured Image

The effect of diet on mental health is thought to be mediated by the production of new neurons in the hippocampus. The growth of new brain cells in adulthood is thought to be required for antidepressants to work properly, or (better yet) to avoid developing depressive symptoms at all. There are things you can do today (or stop doing) to encourage the growth of new brain cells right now. 

Sandrine Thuret is a research scientist at King's College in London. She studies the the way adult brains create new nerve cells in the hippocampus -- a brain area involved in memory and mood. She gives a wonderful and concies TED talk below:

You can grow new brain cells. Here's how

To summarize... The brain continues to develop new neurons in the hippocampus in adulthood. This is required for good spatial orientation and memory. Neurogenesis is required for the efficacy of antidepressants. 

Factors that impair neurogenesis include:

  • Stress
  • Sleep deprivation 
  • Alcohol 
  • Diets high in: 
    • Sugar
    • Saturated fat
  • Vitamin A, B and E deficiency 
  • Soft diets

Factors that encourage neurogenesis include:

  • Learning new skills
  • Exercise
  • Sex
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Calorie restriction 
  • Caffeine
  • Resveratrol (found in red wine)
  • Curcumin (found in turmeric)
  • Diets high in: 
    • Blueberries
    • Flavonoids (found in fruits and vegetables and give them their bright colors)
    • Omega 3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish like salmon)
    • Zinc
    • Folic acid

There are actions you can take today to impact your brain health now and into the future. Get moving!

Neurogenesis 2

Sandrine Thuret

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.