12 Daily Life Styles that Damage the Brain

12 Daily Life Styles that Damage the Brain
Photo Credit: Gawker.com

Our brain is the single most important organ in our body, controlling everything we do, from breathing, walking, eating, sleeping, etc. It’s the central processor for all our bodily functions, the part that interprets what we see and hear, smell and taste, and even a place where the chemical reaction associated with love occurs.

With all that in mind (excuse the pun), we practice ten common bad habits that actually damage our brain, and should be avoided.

You can’t figure out what’s going on: you’re tired, you can’t concentrate, you forget things, but the strangest thing is that it only happens when you do certain things, like waking up early and not eating anything until the afternoon, or getting too stressed at work… the problem is that you are forgetting to take care of an essential part of your body: your brain.

Everything you do influences your body in a certain way, and what’s more, certain activities prevent normal brain functioning and even damage its structure.  Now imagine that you repeat these actions daily for years and years.  Can you guess what happens?  Your own habits are killing your brain!  But don’t worry, there’s still time.  Changing your lifestyle can guarantee both brain and bodily health.  In this article, I am going to talk about these terrible daily habits that damage the brain.


My brain and I

Your brain is an extremely complex and delicate organ that takes direct or indirect action in all bodily processes.  It regulates homeostatic functions like heartbeats, fluid balance, blood pressure, hormonal balance and body temperature.  It is responsible for movement, cognition, learning, memory, human emotions, and therefore, overall health.

According to numerous scientific studies the way in which one lives ones life could damage brain cells over short or long term periods, leading to the development of degenerative diseases and several other conditions.  On the other hand, doing positive activities, like eating a balanced diet and physical exercise, activates the brain and makes it healthy once again.  So let’s get to work, and get to know what these 11 daily habits are that damage the brain.

12 Daily Life Styles that Damage the Brain
Foods for a healthy brain

12 Daily Life Styles that Damage the Brain


  1. Skipping breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it noticeably influences your performance, endurance, and emotional situation.  During the first few hours of the day, the brain allots nutrients to continue “managing” the physiological processes after the long fast it has been subjected to.  If you don’t supply it with energy, it will need to use reserves and it will have to make an extra effort to maintain correct functioning.  A lack of breakfast could cause general lack of energy, loss of concentration and memory, bad moods, poor physical and intellectual performance.  Eat a substantial and healthy breakfast.


  1. Smoking

The terrible habit of smoking considerably reduces brain matter as well we oxygen supply to the brain.  It has been proven to promote the appearance of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.  Also, heterocyclic amines that are released during cigarette combustion interfere with correct DNA reproduction, leading to mutations that cause cancerous cells.


  1. Elevated sugar consumption

The predominance of refined sugars, white flour, fried food, and packaged food in the diet while also lacking sufficient amounts of vegetables, fruits and fiber, promotes an accumulation of harmful substances in the body.  This increases the development of tumors, it warps immune system functioning, causes malnutrition and interferes with neurological development.


  1. Constant exposure to contaminated environments

The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen, but different toxic substances could interfere with the exchange of gasses, the transportation and processing of oxygen to the cells, leading to reduced brain efficiency.


  1. Not sleeping enough

You need 8 hours of sleep a night in order for your brain to rest, for metabolic processes to properly take place with the resulting energy produced, as well as for cellular renovation.  Depriving oneself of sleep accelerates the death of brain cells over short term, and will keep you tired and in a bad mood all day.


  1. Overeating

Eating foods that the body does not need causes an accumulation of residual substances in the form of fats and hardening of the cerebral arteries, which impact its correct functioning.


  1. Alcohol

Alcohol could ruin ll the organs, primarily the nervous system, the liver, and the heart.  It impacts the chemical reactions that take place in the brain.  Alcoholism also kills neurons and reduces the speed with which nerve impulses are transmitted.


  1. Violent reactions or premature stress

Stress causes several reactions to the nervous system, some of which reduce mental capacity and also increase the risk of suffering from a stroke and heart attacks.


  1. Covering your head while sleeping

Sleeping with your head covered increases the concentration of carbon dioxide and reduces the amount of oxygen, which could cause harmful effects on the brain.

12 Daily Life Styles that Damage the Brain

  1. Forcing the brain during an illness

Working or studying a lot while ill is damaging because the body’s energy is being re-routed from the healing.  Forcing the brain during this period could reduce the body’s efficacy, as well as weaken the immune system even more.  This facilitates the appearance of even more types of illnesses.


  1. Lack of mental stimuli and exercise

There’s nothing quite like thinking, having intelligent conversations, reading a book, or working through a word search to stimulate your brain: it increases learning capacity and memory, as well as reaction time to stimuli.


  1. Too much salt


After all these years of sugar-bashing, you can add another ingredient to the list of nutritional villains: salt. A study published in the journal of JAMA Neurology, exposed salt as one factor contributing to high blood pressure. And indeed, research has proven that a high intake of salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure, which in turn can lead to minor cognitive deficits and an increased risk of stroke [1]. A higher risk of stroke can cause quite severe damage to your brain.


Final thoughts

Take care of your brain by adopting a healthy lifestyle:

  • Eat appropriately, incorporating delicious fruits and vegetables that will stimulate brain activity.  Ingesting fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids is also recommendable, as these fats promote communications between neurons.
  • Drink 3 or 4 cups of tea or small cups of coffee a day to improve your short term and long term memory and to reduce your risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid drugs, tobacco, and alcohol.
  • Sleep as much as necessary.
  • Fill yourself with positive thoughts.



1: Gottesman, R. F., Schneider, A. L. C., Albert, M., Alonso, A., Bandeen-Roche, K., Coker, L., Coresh, J., Knopman, D., Power, M. C., Rawlings, A., Sharrett, R., Wruck, L. M., & Mosley, T. M. (2014). Midlife Hypertension and 20-Year Cognitive Change. JAMA Neurology, 71, 10, 1218-1227.

2: Blackwell, T., Yaffe, K., Laffan, A., Ancoli-Israel, S., Redline, S., Ensrud, K. E., Song, Y., & Stone, K. L. (2014). Association of Sleep Quality with subsequent Cognitive Decline in Older Men. Sleep, 37 (04), 655-663.

3: Lin, F. R., Metter, J., O’Brien, R. J., Resnick, S. M., Zonderman, A. B., & Ferrucci, L. (2011). Hearing Loss and Incident Dementia. Archives of Neurology, 68(2), 214-220.

4: Singh-Manoux, A., (2012). Obesity phenotypes in midlife and cognition in early old age. Neurology, 79 (8), 755-762.

5: Hawkley, L. C., & Cacioppo, J. T. (2010). Loneliness Matters: A Theoretical and Empirical Review of Consequences and Mechanisms. Annuals of Behavioral Medicine.



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