Volume 10, Issue 6

September 2018

Keeping Your Brain Healthy

You've likely heard that the Canadian population (and the populations of many other countries) has been aging for some time now and will continue to age over the next few decades. It's generally nice to know we're living longer, as long as we can stay healthy. An extremely important aspect of our health is brain health. Probably the biggest fear these days is of losing our cognitive functioning as we grow older. The good news is that it's never too early or too late to improve our brain health. Read on below...

These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better as it is a step towards longevity.

Ramila Padiachy

Doctor of Natural Medicine (DNM)®


How to Keep Your Brain Healthy

It's only fairly recently that the neuroplasticity of the brain has been understood - see our newsletter of October 2015. The brain is able to reorganize pathways, create new connections and even build new neurons throughout its entire lifetime. It is not at all the fixed structure it was believed to be until recently.


There are many things we can do to help keep our brains healthy:

Get mental stimulation. Research has shown that using your brain stimulates new connections between nerve cells and may help the brain generate new cells, and building up a functional reserve that provides a hedge against future cell loss. Any mentally stimulating activity should help, e.g. read, take courses, try word puzzles or math problems. Activities that require manual dexterity, as well as mental efforts, such as drawing, painting, or crafts are very helpful.

Get physical exercise. Regular exercise increases the number of tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood to the region of the brain responsible for thought. Exercise results in the development of new nerve cells and increases the connections between brain cells (synapses). Exercise also lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, helps blood sugar balance and reduces mental stress, all of which can help your brain as well as your heart.

Get quality sleep. The brain does not shut off when we're asleep. Much of the work going on while you sleep involves consolidating the learning that took place during the day. If you do not sleep properly, you not only lose the benefit of your learning experiences, but you will also not learn as well the following day. Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to benefit fully and perform at their cognitive peak. See our June 2018 newsletter on sleep.

Improve your diet. Good nutrition can help your mind as well as your body. For example, people who eat a Mediterranean style diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, unsaturated oils (olive oil), and plant sources of protein are less likely to develop cognitive impairment and dementia. Brain-healthy foods include:

  • Blueberries help to protect the brain from oxidative stress, and may reduce the effects of age-related cognitive decline. Studies have also shown that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to much younger rats.
  • Wild salmon, and other fish, such as herring and sardines, are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are necessary for brain function. Omega-3s also contain anti-inflammatory substances.
  • Nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin E, which protects against cognitive decline as we get older. 
  • Avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health. The monounsaturated fat in avocados contributes to healthy blood flow which results in a healthy brain.
  • Whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and brown rice can reduce the risk of heart disease; the improved blood flow benefits the brain. Note: If you're gluten sensitive, avoid wheat and other grains containing gluten.
  • Freshly brewed tea contains a modest amount of caffeine which, when used judiciously, can boost brain power by enhancing memory, focus and mood. Tea also has powerful antioxidants, which promote healthy blood flow. Bottled or powdered teas are not recommended (the tea must be freshly brewed), but tea bags are fine.
  • Dark chocolate contains powerful antioxidants, and includes natural stimulants (including caffeine) which enhance focus, concentration and stimulate the production of endorphins, which helps improve mood. One half to one ounce a day is all you need; more is not better!

Avoid tobacco in all its forms.

Protect your head. Moderate to severe head injuries, even without diagnosed concussions, increase the risk of cognitive impairment.

Build social networks. Strong social ties have been associated with a lower risk of dementia, as well as lower blood pressure and longer life expectancy.

Meditate. Research shows that meditation improves concentration and memory. Studies have also tracked the growth in important areas of the brain associated with intelligent thinking over time as study participants practiced meditation. Meditation helps calm the mind.

Manage stress well. Avoid long-term chronic stress (meditation, physical activity and strong social ties are helpful). Stress deliberately prevents good learning. The stress response prioritizes immediate information and actually shortens attention span.

Don't abuse alcohol. Excessive drinking impairs cognitive function.



  1. 12 ways to keep your brain young. June 2006; updated January 16, 2018., accessed July 24, 2018.
  2. Roche B. 10 ways to improve your brain health. July 17, 2014., Accessed July 24, 2018.
  3. Sorgen C. Eat smart for a healthier brain. Accessed August 30, 2018.

Disclaimer: The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.


There are some Nature's Sunshine supplements that would help you to maximize your brain health. You can find information about these products and purchase them in our online store:

  • Blood Pressurex
  • CoQ10
  • Ginkgo & Hawthorn
  • Grapine
  • Super Omega 3
  • Vitamin D3
Milk Thistle

For additional information, please email or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment. Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter. Also, on our website, please see back issues of this newsletter, information about services, products and our clinic, and order products.

“Will I ever be able to dance at my niece’s wedding?" I asked myself. My feet are cramping and I cannot stand to wear shoes. I happened to have an appointment with Ramila and Megs on the day before the wedding. It seems I had been sensitive to magnesium all along. One desensitization treatment and Voila! I was able to dance the evening away! Thank you much Ramila and Megs.

-Johanne, Ottawa

The Belly of the Beast


1437 Woodroffe Avenue

Ottawa ON (map)

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