Welcome to Bernard’s Body series! Every month Bernard will let us study different parts of his body to gain a better understanding of how our bodies work. Each month we’ll focus on one part at a time and explore its functions, strengths, and weaknesses. Then we’ll give you tips on how to keep that part healthy and clean. Since this is our first in the series, it only feels appropriate to start with the epicenter of our central nervous system - the brain!
Even with centuries of research aided by ever-growing technology, the brain is wildly complex and still leave scientists scratching their craniums. We’ll leave the theories and paradoxes to the experts for now and explore what information we do know.
Our brain is the center of the nervous system. It’s the main hub of our thoughts, it interprets our external environment (AKA: how we see things), and controls our body movements.
Our brain is over 3xs bigger than other mammal brains that are close to our body size.
Our brain is protected by the cranium - a hard shell (skull) composed of 22 bones.
The brain floats in a liquid called Cerebrospinal fluid, that cushions physical impact and guards against infections.
The brain weights about 2% of an adult's body weight, although the body uses around 20% of its energy (WOW!).
The brain is composed of about 75% water.
Babies have large heads to make room for the speed of brain growth. A 2-year-old’s brain is 80% of an adult-size brain.
The human brain has about 100 billion neurons.
***Since the brain and body are connected, thoughts create the body's reality, even over its environment. Ever thought about your favorite food then started to salivate? There's more to learn here, but the way you think has been proven to affect anything from stress levels to certain diseases created from worry and an unhealthy mindset.
Our brains are the center of good health - mentally and physically - and should always be treated with care. Here are some basic things you can do to take routine precaution.
Brain Health Tips
Wear a helmet. Consider your brain the center of your universe (the body). It doesn’t matter how many knee and elbow pads you wear, if the brain gets injured, you won't have anything to control those body parts.
Meditate and chill out! "One reason is that cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re under stress, has a stronger effect on older brains, challenging an elderly person’s ability to recover from emotional upset." - Kaiser Permanente (link below)
Steer clear of drugs and excessive alcohol. These substances activate various parts of the brain that feel good in the moment because the body is using all of your feel-good transmitters. The body inevitably experiences a "crash" when its dopamine and serotonin are depleted. Addiction occurs when the brain lets these substances take over and the body expects heightened amounts of stimuli on a regular basis. If you’re looking for a rush, try skydiving or public speaking - that should do it.
Drink water! Dehydration actually affects cellular function, including attention and memory. That headache you feel? It’s quite literally your brain temporarily shrinking away from its skull. Water your brain like your life depends on it, because it does.
Up for more Bernard's Body Series? Learn about his Heart, Liver, Lungs, and Stomach next!