Change Your Brain, Change Your Body

Change Your Brain, Change Your Body is book by Dr. Daniel G. Amen about the mind-body connection.  He advocates using holistic healing and supplements to boost brain function in order to heal the body. It's a long and sometimes repetitive read since diet, exercise and adequate sleep are pretty much standard for many ailments. However, he does back up his statements with research studies, which may compel the less-disciplined reader to actually start following a habit of good diet, exercise and sleep. His book is also comprehensive, and will likely touch on some subjects that are less familiar to the reader. For me, the topics of hormones and heart health were new. The book also includes supplement guides for specific areas of the brain and body, which maybe useful to reference. Some key lessons I learned:
  1. Get your beauty sleep.  Getting adequate sleep is the best way to improve skin.  That is because skin cells regenerate during sleep.  "Seniors need less sleep" is a myth too.  Since skin regeneration slows down as we age, seniors need just as much if not more sleep to keep skin looking young. Adequate sleep also helps you lose weight. In one study, women who sleep 7 hours instead of 5 per night lost an average of 6 pounds over 3 weeks without any intentional change in diet or exercise.
  2. Exercise increases the generation of new brain cells.
  3. Eating less sodium is good, but more importantly, potassium and sodium needs to balance. We are often high on sodium and low on potassium.  Therefore, eat high potassium foods such as bananas. At the same time, eat no more than 1 teaspoon of added salt each day.
  4. High Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is good.  Individuals who exercise regularly have a lower resting heart rate and high HRV. In fact, physicians track the HRV of the birthing infant during childbirth. 
  5. Before getting a divorce, get hormone checks for both partners. Hormone levels change as we age and can cause serious disruption in our moods and personalities.