Autumn 2022 True Natural Health Magazine
By Dr Isabel Hunsinger, MD
Six Steps to Help Improve Your Brain/Mental health – What YOU can Do Today!
Step #1 – Make this promise today!
Make it a promise that I have HOPE to beat any negative thoughts, not just a goal or dream.
Instead of making a goal or having a dream with a date, which can be distant. Why not instead make a promise of HOPE to yourself? A promise is an action word. It’s a verb, which “assures that it will definitely happen.”
So, step #1 is, instead of making a goal, make it a promise to you. I bet you’ll be more successful.
Step #2 – Foods to Avoid.
Sugar and other simple carbohydrates. Stevia or two teaspoons of raw unpasteurized honey per week is ok. We must get the brain fuelled on fats instead of sugars to address insulin resistance of the brain.
Gluten – #1 factor of inflammation in the human body and affects the brain and nervous system. Cognitive decline is inflammation of the brain.
Dairy – When it comes to brain health, the concern about dairy products is that casein, the primary protein in milk, can be an excitotoxin that can lead to brain inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases.
High Mercury Fish – like tuna, shark, swordfish, and some river fish – Mercury and heavy metal toxins are a large contributor to cognitive decline. Our oceans are getting more and more polluted, therefore it’s important to find the fish with the lowest levels of mercury and toxins.
Vegetable Oils – safflower, corn oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, these are oils that you want to avoid because they’re working against you from the perspective of inflammation. These oils are higher in the Omega 6’s inflammation and they don’t have in them some of the good types of monounsaturated fats that you’ll get in things like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, avocado oil, ghee, and olives.
Step #3 – Practice good sleep hygiene.
I want you to pay closer attention to what is happening outside. When the sun sets then it is an indication that you want to start getting ready to do the same. When the sun sets, you too should start getting ready to set.
I CAN HEAR YOU. I know you are busy. Just give yourself time to create new habits that will serve you, not destroy you.
Dim the lights when it starts getting dark outside. Turn off the TV, computer, iPad, phone and turn off your router before you go to sleep. Really those electromagnetic frequencies can really cause a problem for our nervous system and our sleep.
Your bedroom is to do 2 things and two things only. Sleep and sex. We don’t want to be talking on the phone or reading, other than a positive book in our bed. Make sure your room is completely dark when you sleep so you get the most bang for your buck with melatonin.
I’ll give you an idea of what I tend to do before I go to bed. About one hour before I retire, I start winding down. I stop reading my emails on the computer and turn off my iPhone. I never ever watch or read the news … It makes me too sad or oftentimes just plain angry. I prepare my breakfast and lunch for the next day. When the sun rises, and I want to sleep a bit more I put on my sleep mask.
Step #4 – Exercise.
To get that strong muscle, decrease the body fat, and get Oxygen to the Brain, you do 2 exercises. The first is resistance.
Resistance training builds your muscle. You want to go to the gym, or you can Google and find resistance training programs where you are lifting weights or using your body weight. I’m not talking about bulking up and looking like the incredible hulk. I’m just talking about toning your muscles and keeping your muscles because you need your muscles because they burn fat while you’re sleeping or watching TV.
Now you want to do 10 to 30 minutes of resistance training, 2 to 3 times a week.
The next exercise you want to do is called high-intensity interval training. That consists of doing an exercise really, really fast and then you get a brief rest and then you do it again really, really fast and then you get a brief rest. Now the beauty of that is it burns fat right away and for up to 48-72 hours! It also boosts your mitochondria, and your mitochondria is like the engine in each of your cells. It keeps things rockin’ and rollin’ so you have energy.
So those are the two exercises: resistance – you want to do 10 to 30 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week. If you have to go to the gym and get a program, go for it. You deserve it. And you want to do high-intensity interval training, 20 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week. That’s it. That’s all you need to do.
Step #5 – Nature.
Our relationship with nature – how much we notice, think about, and appreciate our natural surroundings – is a critical factor in supporting good mental health and preventing distress. Nature is an important need for many and vital in keeping us emotionally, psychologically, and physically healthy.
When it comes to mental health benefits, nature has a very wide definition. It can mean green spaces such as parks, woodland, or forests as well as blue spaces like rivers, wetlands, beaches, or canals. It also includes trees on an urban street, private gardens, verges and even indoor plants or window boxes. Surprisingly, even watching nature documentaries has been shown to be good for our mental health. This is great news as it means the mental health benefits of nature can be made available to nearly every one of us, no matter where we live.
Step #6 – Thoughts.
What are your thoughts? Thoughts are how you think. It’s what you believe. You need to look and pay attention to what you are saying to yourself. I’d like to talk to you about self-limiting beliefs as part of your thoughts.
What are self-limiting beliefs? Self-limiting beliefs are these lame excuses that keep you small and keep this lid on top of you so that you’re inside this little box.
You might be saying, “Wow! I want to be happy again. I want to start being vibrant and fun. I want to lose weight and be sexy again, and you’re saying, “I want to, I want to, I want to,” but these self-limiting thoughts are stopping you. By you staying inside behind your bars and keeping the lid down actually is a disservice to you and the rest of the world because you’re not sharing your gift. And like Nelson Mandela said, “You playing small does not serve the world in any way.” We need you OUT THERE doing your best.
One of the ways we can get out is by saying “That’s it! I’m out of here! I’m busting out!” and you do that by… putting a flashlight on your thinking going “AM I really saying that to myself? Oh my gosh, I don’t deserve it.”
You may not be where you want to be, but you’ll get there, don’t worry… be gentle, be kind, have HOPE, be kind to yourself right here while you’re walking towards where you want to go.
That’s your medicine. Be Kind To Yourself.
Dr Isabel Hunsinger M.D
Functional Medicine Practitioner
Find more from Dr Hunsinger @Doctoronamission or purchase her great NHSA presentation from our online shop here.