Can You Affect Neuroplasticity?
“Neuroplasticity” is a hot buzzword in the scientific and medical communities these days. But what does it actually mean? Simply put, neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to restructure and reorganize itself in response to experience. This includes everything from simple things like forming new connections between neurons after you learn a new skill, to more complicated things like changing the structure of your brain in response to chronic stress or trauma.
But can you actually do anything to influence neuroplasticity? The short answer is yes! Here are a few ways you can make sure your brain stays healthy and plastic:
Get moving: Exercise has been shown to increase neurogenesis (the creation of new neurons) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which helps to support the survival of existing neurons.
Eat right: A healthy diet is important for overall health, but specific nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to support neuroplasticity.
Challenge your brain: Environmental enrichment (i.e., learning new things, practicing new skills, etc.) has been shown to increase neurogenesis and BDNF levels.
Reduce stress: Chronic stress can have negative effects on neuroplasticity, so it’s important to find ways to manage stress effectively.
Remember, you can’t change your brain overnight. But by making small changes in your daily routine, you can help to keep your brain healthy and plastic for years to come!