Neuroscientists have discovered that stress and excess amounts of cortisol are damaging to the brain. Stress can damage brain structure and connectivity, and when it happens early in life, can trigger changes in brain structure that can be for the better or worse. Finding ways to sidestep some of our modern-day pressures is critical for a healthy brain and a long life, and adopting a positive attitude has been shown to extend our lives an average of 7.5 years. Learn how to deflect some of life’s “slings and arrows” through stress management, breathwork and body relaxation techniques, meditation and prayer, and adopting the right mindset.


Brain Matters

How the Myelin Sheath Continues to Develop Through Healthy Diet


The myelin sheath is an insulating layer, or sheath, that forms around nerves, including those in the brain and spinal cord. It is comprised of 70% fat. The purpose of the myelin sheath is to allow electrical impulses to transmit quickly and efficiently along our nerve cells. When the myelin sheath is weak, due to either malformation or disease, a lot can go wrong with the brain, including the development of serious health issues. However, it is possible to strengthen the myelin sheath (and possibly even repair it) through diet and lifestyle. Here’s how:


  • Avoid processed foods, sugar, and trans fats.
  • Eat fish at least twice a week to get your needed Omega-3s and Omega-6s. And add more Omega-9 fatty acids to your diet, as well—foods such as nuts, high-quality olive oil, and avocadoes are good sources of Omega-9, which provides oleic acid, a common type of fatty acid found in myelin.
  • Eat a balanced diet of a wide variety of healthy foods.
  • Eat foods high in choline and inositol. These amino acids are crucial to myelin sheath repair. Choline is found in eggs, beef, beans and some nuts.
  • Add foods that contain copper. The myelin sheath regenerates using lipids, which can only be created using a copper-dependent enzyme. Without this assistance, other nutrients cannot do their job. Copper is found in lentils, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and semisweet chocolate. Dried herbs such as oregano and thyme are also great sources of this mineral.