Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


Body-Brain Connection: When Bigger Really is Better

posted by Linda Mintle

brain“As your weight goes up, the size and function of your brain goes down.” This, according to psychiatrist, Daniel Amen. It’s true, smaller doesn’t always mean better, especially when it comes to the size of your brain!

Dr. Amen, author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, wants us all to get on his brain program and avoid what he calls the “Dinosaur Syndrome.” Yes, dinosaurs, those creatures with little brains and big bodies. Apparently some of us fit the description. Our bodies are growing in size, but are brains are getting smaller.

When a person is overweight, brain function decreases, especially in the area know as the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex in the brain  is responsible for impulse control, decision-making and other reasoning functions. So when you see that large scrumptious piece of chocolate cake, your overweight brain may say, “Go for it!” When you are confronted with multiple choices of tempting concoctions at that buffet, reason goes out the window. You give in and eat!

And to add insult to injury, when Dr. Amen imaged overweight brains, he found that the overweight brain also appears to be more typical of older people. To use the dinosaur metaphor, not only are our bodies bigger, our brains smaller , but like the dinosaur, our brains appear older! You might be thinking, “Great, is there any good news here?”

Yes. With so many of us overweight, Dr. Amen says exercise can help increase gray matter and even help avoid dementia in some cases. He also advocates a healthy diet that includes eliminating sugars, too much alcohol and processed foods. You can make lifestyle choices to not only improve your brain, but make it bigger. In this case, bigger is better!

As usual, the solution here is one that you have heard repeatedly–eat better and exercise more. There seems to be no way around this tried and true advice. So if you want a bigger brain that functions along with your age, get on that treadmill, walk the dog and commit to those five servings of fruits and vegetables we all need daily. When you do, your expanded brain will thank you!



Previous Posts

Grieving During the Holidays
I was driving down the road the other day when a song played on my phone. It touched me and it will touch you. I encourage anyone who will be missing a special someone this holiday season to click on this link. The music will minister to you. Such poignant words from Christian song artist Mark Sc

posted 6:00:59am Dec. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Relatives Who Drink Too Much: How to Handle it
Question: We will be traveling to our relatives in another state for several family gatherings during Christmas. Two of my siblings are problem drinkers and I am not sure how to handle this with my family. We do not drink so my children are not used to seeing family members act up while under the in

posted 6:00:57am Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Christmas Shopping With Toddlers: Dr. Linda's 10 Tips
A reader asks: As much as I love to shop on-line, I prefer to tackle the masses during Christmas and head to the malls and store. My question is, “How can I shop with two little ones (ages two and four) and remain sane?” I will have to take them with me but really want to give it a try.  

posted 6:00:45am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

What's Eating You This Holiday Season? Keep a Log and Find Out!
Joanne looked at the chocolate-covered donut in her hand. As she took her first bite, she wondered, "Why am I eating this? I''m not really hungry, but the plate of goodies sitting by the office coffee pot just looks good. Besides, my boss is making me crazy! But is there more to the story? F

posted 6:00:24am Dec. 16, 2014 | read full post »

10 Ideas to Avoid Depression During the Holidays
It's the most wonderful time of the year....well, not for everyone. Holidays can be difficult if you struggle with your mood and family issues. However, there are proactive ways to keep your spirit bright. 1) Don't overspend. Avoid being caught up in all the deals, discounts and e-shopping. Fi

posted 6:00:31am Dec. 12, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.