How Can I Grow New Nerve Cells?
A lot of scientific research tells us that the key to recovery from neurological diseases, such as stroke (paralysis, lakwa), Parkinson’s, spinal cord injury, is neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity means rewiring your brain i.e. generating new brain cells and connections so that in spite of the damage in your brain or spinal cord, you can work toward gaining function ability, independence and better quality of life.
There are trillions of cells and connections in our brain – consider the same number as the stars in the universe. The good news is that you can grow new cells and connections through your efforts to gain recovery. Here is what you can do:
(a) Repetitive actions: Rule of 1200
Repetitive movements are extremely important for rewiring of the brain. The challenge is that the number of movements required to gain movement in the body is large.
On an average ~1200 repetitions are required for improvement in one joint movement.
For example, one common problem is foot drop. This is due to poor dorsiflexion i.e. inability to lift the foot at ankle joint. This action is vital in improving your ability to walk.
So to gain some improvement in your dorsiflexsion, you need to repetitively move foot in dorsiflexion at least 1200 times. And keep doing this over weeks and months.
That’s why, it is essential that neuro patients perform exercises at home in addition to their therapy sessions.
What you eat has also shown to have a relationship with the regeneration of brain cells.
What is helpful?
- Calorie restriction – eat a low calorie diet.
- Intermittent fasting – practice of fasting a day a week is excellent. Keeping space between meals is helpful.
- Dark chocolate.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – walnuts are a good source.
What is harmful?
- Diet rich in high saturated fats – vegetable oil, fried foods is a major culprit
- Soft diet (diet that requires more chewing is better for you)