Lifestyle Tips For A Healthy Limbic System

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Man chopping fresh vegetables (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The limbic system represents the part of your brain devoted to the most basic survival structures that protect and regulate emotions and reactive states. Interconnecting pathways link the limbic system, located deep within your brain, to the hypothalamus, which controls thinking, behavior and hormonal functions. The main limbic structures include the hippocampus, or memory center; the amygdala, or anger, anxiety and stress center; and the limbic cortex that interconnects with the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for reasoning and judgment. Your emotional wellness is contingent upon a healthy limbic system and deterioration in this area of your brain can lead to out-of-control emotions like violence or rage, depression and neurological decline.

Step 1

Eat a nutrient-rich diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole-grains. Produce and grains are your main sources of natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that protect your brain cells from harmful molecules. Several daily servings of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help you maintain the chemicals produced in your brain, called neurotransmitters, that are needed to prompt a healthy limbic system.

Step 2

Limit saturated fats and replace with omega-3 fatty acids. Foods high in saturated fats include red meat, fried foods and whole dairy. Excess saturated fats in your diet increase the risk of chronic neuro-degenerative disease like Alzheimer's. Omega-3 fatty acids from foods like fish or nuts can protect your brain and help to keep your mood stabilized.

Step 3

Stay connected to those you care about and socialize regularly. Emotional health is nurtured by the bonds created from relationships. Nourish your emotions by visiting with family regularly, catching a movie with friends or by occasionally forming new social relationships.

Step 4

Deal with stress effectively and when necessary get help. The daily trials of life can increase your stress level. Engage in relaxation by taking time for yourself each day to soak in a bath, read a book or go for a walk. Try meditation or a meditative-yoga class. Seek counseling to help you cope with extenuating stress. Do not suffer alone. Consult your physician for counseling referrals.

Step 5

Exercise regularly to stimulate your body and mind. Exercise helps to elevate mood and increase production of neurotransmitters that help you sleep, think and feel. A regimen of exercise for 20 to 30 minutes, three to five times a week, can help maintain limbic system health.

Step 6

Add aromatherapy scents to your office or house. The limbic system is naturally triggered by scents, and calming or energizing aromas can help stimulate this part of your brain while also regulating your emotions. Use lavender or chamomile for calming and citrus or mint aromas for energy.

Warning

Consult your physician before changing your diet to ensure safety for your specific health.

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