8 Everyday Habits That Can Damage Your Brain

Brain damaging activities
Sleeping with a head cover
Sleeping with your head covered can also damage brain! Covering your head with a scarf or winter cap while sleeping deprives your brain of the requisite oxygen content as well as spikes the carbon dioxide levels, which is detrimental to the brain.
It goes without saying how cardinal your brain is to you and your body. It is what that separates us from animals and makes us ‘superior’ of all, only if we knew how we, through some of our activities and habits, are tarnishing it. As creatures of some of not-so-healthy and wise habits, we sabotage the efficacy and strength of our brain, which then reverberate on the overall processes of our body. The following mentioned are everyday habits that we engage in that can harm our brain.
Forgoing breakfast
Many of us don’t know the significance of breakfast. Not only does breakfast make an important meal of the day, it also has a significant impact on the activities that you undertake in a day. After hours of sleep, our brain is in need of essential nutrients to kick start its functioning. However, by skipping breakfast, we don’t just deny our brain of its essential fix of energy but also compel it to seek for high calorie and unhealthy food options.
Excess consumption of sugar
Our body takes liking to sugar like a duck to water. From its first taste, sugar hooks into our brain and makes it want to consume it in unduly amounts as it activates its reward centers. In addition to creating excessive addiction cycles, high sugar consumption is responsible for cognitive ailments, depression, memory impairment, etc.
Overeating
Those who hog out on unhealthy food expose themselves to the risk of heart failure, obesity, metabolism malfunctioning, mood swings, diabetes, and a host of other grave problems. Overeating, too has a similar effect on the brain as that of high sugar consumption. It releases dopamine, a feel-good hormone that gives a high to the brain. Overeating alters the biochemical constitution of the brain as well as creates craving cycles that wreak havoc on the brain and thus our body.
Smoking
The deleterious effects of smoking don’t just manifest on our lungs and heart but also our brain. Nicotine, in addition to causing the release of dopamine, also causes the cortex to thin. Thinning of the cortex is associated with memory impairment, anxiety, depression, and also increases the risk of Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.
Working despite not feeling well
What most of us don’t realize when we work despite feeling unwell is that we are encumbering our already feeble brain. Even during sickness, our brain is actually working to throw the bacteria out of our body and regulating our immune system. So, by saddling it with extra work, not only are you damaging its efficiency but also changing its focus from restoring your health.
Depriving yourself of sleep
Sleep is cardinal to the functioning of our brain. It is during our deep sleep cycles that our brain initiates processes that help our body to purge toxins. Sleep deprivation also disrupts cellular regeneration as well as kills the brain cells, which can cause severe cognitive impairment as well as neurode generation in those who already suffer from disorders.
Not engaging in brain-stimulating activities
Our brain needs to be engaged in stimulating activities like thinking, writing, and talking, because that’s what it is MEANT FOR! Those of us who are not training their brains enough, it might just shrink, and that’s definitely what you would not want to happen to you.
Air pollution
The air we breathe is a toxic amalgam of gases and has little oxygen in it. However, oxygen is like a life-saving drug for our brain and so when we inhale the vitiated air, not only does it robs it from its imperative supply of oxygen but also damages it.

List of Fermented Foods That are Good for Your Health

Fermented food example - kimchi
Fermented foods are literally packed with good bacteria. It is important to include them in our diet. Including a single probiotic food will immensely benefit the body.

In case you are wondering what are fermented foods, the answer is very simple; fermented foods are those foods in which the sugars are converted into alcohol using bacteria or yeast. Fermentation is a very popular food preservation technique. But today, foods are fermented to reap their various health benefits.

There are some probiotic foods which are a must in your daily diet. These are not bland or boring, and you will actually enjoy eating them. So let’s take a look at some healthy fermented foods, in the following sections.

List of Healthy Fermented Foods and Their Benefits

1. Kimchi

If you like spicy food, then the Korean side-dish kimchi should definitely be on your list. It is packed with both, nutrition and strength. Kimchi is usually made with cabbage, but radish, scallion or cucumber is used as well. The vegetables may vary according to the season and availability. They are seasoned with brine, spices, ginger, and shrimp or fish sauce. Kimchi has featured in the list of World’s Healthiest Foods by Health magazine.

Benefits
Kimchi packs 50% of your daily recommended vitamin C; plus, it has vitamin A, B1, B2, calcium, and iron. Most importantly, it contains lactic acid, and all the good bacteria.

Serving Tip
You can eat kimchi as is, or with rice. By combining it with other dishes, you can get tastier options, like kimchi burger, kimchi fried rice, or kimchi soup.

2. Kefir

It is a fermented milk drink, packed with calcium and probiotics. The drink is made by adding kefir grains to milk. These grains are made of lactic acid bacteria, and resemble cauliflowers. Cow, goat, or even sheep milk can be used to make kefir. The grains also ferment soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, fruit juice, and coconut water. It is definitely one of the best fermented foods with probiotics.

Benefits
Kefir contains all the nutrients of the milk used to make this drink. Since most of the lactose is broken down, people who are lactose intolerant can enjoy kefir as well.

Serving Tip
You can get kefir grains or kefir powder in health stores. It is best to consume it immediately after preparation. It remains unspoiled for about a month without refrigeration.

3. Yogurt

Yogurt is prepared by bacterial fermentation of milk. The lactose in the milk gets converted into lactic acid, thus making the yogurt suitable for lactose intolerant people too. Cow milk is preferred when making yogurt, but buffalo, goat, camel, or even yak milk can be used.

Benefits
Very low in fat, yogurt is packed with protein, calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B6, B12, etc.

Serving Tip
Yogurt can be enjoyed plain or with fruits and nuts too. Since it’s very light, it makes a wonderful snack food. If you like it savory, you can add salt and spices to it.

4. Tempeh

Tempeh is a healthy natural fermented food. It is made by fermenting soybeans in a controlled process, and has a slightly nutty flavor. Tempeh is an excellent source for proteins for vegetarians.

Benefits
Tempeh is a good source of probiotics. It contains all the essential amino acids.

Serving Tip
Tempeh can be eaten alone or used in salads, sandwiches, soups, or burgers. It makes a crispy snack when deep-fried in oil. It is also suitable for marination, and can be grated as well.

5. Miso

Miso is a fermented paste made from barley, rice, or soybeans. It has lactic acid bacteria, making it a very healthy probiotic food. It is used in soups, sauces, pickles, etc. Miso soup with rice is a Japanese staple.

Benefits
Miso is very high in proteins, vitamins, and minerals. But it is important to remember that it has high quantities of sodium too.

Serving Tip
You can use one or two tablespoons of miso to make soup, or include it in your diet as a salad dressing. But never add it while cooking food, as the heat kills all the good bacteria. Once you remove the soup from the heat, you can add in the miso.

6. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is made from cabbage and salt, and packs a healthy dose of probiotic nutrients. Basically, it is fermented cabbage. It is served with meat dishes, and is also added to sandwiches and hot dogs.

Benefits
Sauerkraut has several benefits. It is low in calories, and has vitamins like C, B, and K. It has calcium, magnesium, dietary fiber, potassium, and copper. Uncooked and pasteurized sauerkraut is an excellent source of lactobacilli. It also aids in digestion, and helps in reducing canker sores.

Serving Tip
Sauerkraut, if properly fermented, stays for months if packed in an airtight container. It is best consumed raw.

7. Pickles

Pickling not only gives an amazing taste to food, but also increases the nutritive value. Brine or vinegar is used to preserve food. Initially, pickling was used to store food, especially foods which were not available all around the year. But today, it is done for the taste and various health benefits.

Benefits
The good bacteria that are developed as the pickles ferment detox and cleanse our body.

Serving Tip
Pickles can be paired with any dish of your choice. Always opt for pickles made from salt brine. Do remember though, that pickles have very high sodium content.

8. Kombucha

Kombucha is an effervescent tangy tea flavored with herbs or fruits. Symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts (scoby) is used along with black or green tea. Very little (2 – 3%) alcohol is produced during fermentation.

Benefits
It is very popular, and is known as the ‘Tea of Immortality’ in China. But, the nutritional benefits of this tea haven’t been proven as yet. If the tea is not fermented properly, there can be some side effects.

Serving Tip
You can add fruits or syrups to make the tea a great summer drink, or enjoy it with spices.

Main Benefits of Fermented Foods

┗ Development of immune system
┗ Provide beneficial bacteria
┗ Detoxification of the body
┗ Natural supplements
┗ Aid in digestion
┗ Prevent depression
┗ Help in hormonal balance
┗ Better absorption of nutrients

Fermented foods have several benefits, which our ancestors rightly understood. Although most of the above food items are a result of preservation techniques, their nutritive importance also made them a staple in our diet. When there is good flora in our gut, overall improvement in health is seen. Right from taking care of our immune system to benefits to the skin and hair, and protection from common allergies to weight loss, are some of the reasons why you should consume probiotics.

Now that you know how beneficial and delicious fermented foods can be, you should definitely include them in your diet. Just remember though, it is always better and safer to prepare the dishes at home.