Sometimes one despairs. Sometimes you just feel blue. And sometimes brain science comes up with information to make oncologists, GPs, well being counsellors and any of us either living with or with someone we love, post cancer – sit up and take real notice. In fact not just sit up but stand up and shout Oh Yeah! now that is what I am talking about.
Many people who have undertaken their heroic fight facing down cancer, still have to endure a daily struggle with depression, general malaise, a less than chirpy brain alongside irritating memory loss. And why this is the case is now laid bare in an important TED talk by neurological specialist Sandrine Thuret – she tells her enthralled audience that
a) our brains have the ability to GROW – yes grow bright, and sparkly fresh brain neurons located in our Hippocampus ( the part of our brain where memory and mood setting optimism/ or depression lurks) up to 700 new neurons a day at maximum refresh capacity
b) that these new, shiny neurons, have the capacity to enable us to feel flourishing and work in a positive way against the negative effects to ageing
c) that many post cancer treatments – aimed to block the growth of cancerous cells in the body (Hoorah!) ALSO can block the production of our new singing and dancing neurons – (oh NO!) and this can be a major factor why men and women recovering from cancer, when the cancer cells are all dealt with can still be locked into a cycle of enduring depression. But all is not lost. You can revive the tired old post-op in long term recovery and remission you, and be kissed all over by your bright new neurons, which our wonderful brains have capacity to generate for us – how amazing is that. We need to adjust a couple of things in diet and exercise, dust down our tired libidos and REFRESH – and this is how.
NEURON refreshment – 4 essential things to do
First up – exercise. Vigorous exercise two or three times a week not only blasts into our system endorphins which flood our body and make us feel generally good and UP – and oxygenate our brains and give our hearts a good work out. It also stimulates the production of new brain neurons in the hippocampus – directly addressing the negative effects on our brain of depleted neuron refreshment due to the cancer inhibiting medication many of us are on and are relying on for enhanced longevity.
Second Keep swallowing those Blueberries, in fact most purple based vegetables and fruits are high in the chemicals which help stimulate neuron regeneration – and help us get into our positive and best selves for action
Third keep your calorie control going and STEP up your Omega 3 oils intake (most oily fish are high in Omega 3 – check out your fish recipe books NOW as you want to stay away from processed foods, and the fat pan)
Fourth – good to know that high quality dark chocolate (in moderation) AND red wine (ditto!) are full of good things which assist with the stimulation and growth of our grump busting neurons. An odd shot of caffeine doesn’t do any harm either apparently. (and don’t forget our sexual life when healthy, active and loving, is a pick me up in so many different aspects for our well being we can’t begin to tell you how great that is – plus a tablet of good quality chocolate.
And that’s about it. Good news – what we knew in part, but now all the more reason to adjust your diet, and get that much needed occasional vigorous exercise on board. Keep munching those blueberries – and enjoy the talk which you can access here – let us know how it goes – and tell us about your favourite TED talks and Vlogs to share on the way to great health and a full life post Cancer. (The great thing is these activities and interventions can also assist in limiting the intrusion of cancer in your life in the first instance, so great for all to take note of and build into our lives.)