[권순일의 헬스리서치] Only 10% of your brain is used? Myths and truths about the brain

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There’s still a lot we don’t know about how the brain works. But be careful not to fall for common misconceptions about the brain. Knowing exactly how your brain works can help you better understand some of the factors that can affect your mental health.

In this regard, based on data such as ‘VerywellMind.com’, we look for false information about the brain and the truth about it. Along with this, we will also learn about diets and foods that improve brain health.

|Myths & Truths|

1. Humans only use 10% of their brain?

This is information about the brain that is quoted all too often. The phrase that humans only use 10% of their brains is often used to mean that using the rest can dramatically increase intelligence, psychic powers, or even telekinesis.

If this is true, it can be interpreted that using only 10% of the brain can significantly reduce the chance of brain damage. In other words, we only need to worry about hurting a tiny 10% of our brains.

But the fact is that damage to even a small part of the brain can have profound consequences for both cognition and function. In addition, according to a study by brain imaging technique, it was found that the entire brain shows activity levels even during sleep. This shows that a whole part of the brain must be used for normal human activity.

2. Is brain damage permanent?

The brain is susceptible to injury and can be damaged by injuries, strokes, and other ailments. These impairments can have a variety of consequences, ranging from mild impairment of cognitive abilities to complete impairment.

Brain damage can be incredibly devastating, but it can be questioned whether it is always permanent. It is common to think that brain injuries are persistent, but the ability to recover from such injuries depends on the severity and location of the injury.

For example, a blow to the head during a soccer match can lead to a concussion. This can be quite serious, but most people recover when given time to heal.

A severe stroke, on the other hand, can have serious consequences that can be permanent for the brain. But it’s important to remember that the human brain has an impressive resilience. Even in the case of serious brain diseases such as stroke, the brain often heals itself over time and can form new connections.

3. Humans can be clearly divided into right-brained and left-brained?

You’ve probably heard it described as being right-brained (right-brained) and left-brained (left-brained). This stems from the notion that people are dominated by either the right or left brain. According to this idea, right-brained people tend to be creative and expressive, while left-brained people tend to be analytical and logical.

As experts say, “the ubiquity of brain function, that is, certain types of tasks and thinking tend to be more related to specific parts of the brain, but no one is entirely right-brained or left-brained,” experts say. In fact, they tend to do things better when the whole brain is utilized, despite the fact that they generally relate to specific areas of the brain.

4. Do humans have the largest brains among animals?

The human brain is fairly large in proportion to its body size. However, it is a very common misconception that humans have the largest brains of any living creature on Earth. The average adult brain weighs about 3 pounds (about 1.36 kilograms) and is about 15 centimeters long.

The animal with the largest brain is the sperm whale, which weighs 18 pounds (about 8.16 kg). Another large-brained animal is the elephant, with an average brain size of about 11 pounds. But what about the relative size of the brain relative to body size?

Humans are obviously thought to have the largest brains for their body size. Is that really the case? The animal with the largest body-to-brain ratio is the shrew. Their brains make up about 10% of their body mass.

5. Brain cells, once dead, do not come back to life?

It has long been known that adults have too many brain cells and never form new brain cells. Once the cells in the brain are gone, they are gone forever.

But scientists have found evidence that the adult human brain actually forms new cells throughout life and even during old age. The process of forming new brain cells is known as neurogenesis, and scientists have discovered that it occurs at least in one important part of the brain called the hippocampus.

6. Alcohol destroys brain cells?

Along with the misconception that brain cells do not grow new, it is also a false belief that drinking alcohol kills brain cells. If you drink too much or too often, will you lose precious brain cells that you can never get back?

From above, we saw that adults can actually acquire new brain cells over a lifetime. Experts say, “Excessive or chronic drinking can certainly have serious health consequences, but I don’t think alcohol kills brain neurons.”

|Diet & Foods for Brain Health|

Food affects the health of the nervous system, including the brain. This is because it influences the levels of insulin resistance, systemic inflammation, and toxic substances. In other words, if you follow a healthy diet, you can maintain an optimized brain state for a longer period of time.

Scientists are looking for ways to find out what kind of nutrition can help boost cognitive function and maintain memory. Based on data such as ‘Healthline.com’, let’s find out about typical diets and foods that help brain health.

◇ Diet

1. Mediterranean diet

Studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet is associated with dementia prevention. A Mediterranean diet consisting of healthy fats, such as olive oil, folic acid-rich vegetables, and fish, helps brain health.

A study by researchers at the Rush University Medical Center found that the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 54%.

2. The ketogenic diet

Some experts recommend a ketogenic diet for cognitive enhancement. According to a neuroscience team at the University of Florida, USA, a ketogenic diet that reduces simple carbohydrate intake has the effect of improving cognition.

◇Food

1. Berries

Foods that are good for brain health are first berries. Studies have shown that berries can help your brain transmit signals more smoothly.

This is because it is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Drinking about 1/2 cup at a time, twice a week, can help.

2. Green leafy vegetables

Foods rich in folic acid, such as green leafy vegetables, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by reducing homocysteine, which can cause hyperhomocysteinemia.

In addition, it is good to eat cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli because it has the function of excreting toxins. Aim to eat green leafy vegetables 6 times a week, and eat 1 cup of cooked vegetables and 2 cups of raw vegetables at a time.

3. Beans

Studies have shown that eating fiber-rich foods, such as legumes, can help regulate cognitive function in pre-pubertal children. Eat about 1/2 cup of cooked beans at a time, three times a week.

4. Whole Grains

For brain health, avoid simple carbohydrates such as white rice or white bread, and eat whole grains, which are complex carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates are strongly associated with metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of Alzheimer’s.

5. Fish, poultry

When eating animal foods, choosing poultry or fish, such as chicken, over meat is more beneficial for brain health.

Several studies have reported that fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly salmon, may help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. 1 to 2 times a week or more should be eaten with these animal foods.

6. Nuts

Nuts are rich in polyphenols, which help reduce inflammation in the body. Studies suggest that dietary polyphenols are one of the potential solutions for dementia. Eat 5 times a week, about a handful at a time.

By Kwon Soon-il, staff reporter [email protected]

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