Brain health is the most underrated component for overall success. If you have the healthiest brain possible, then you're able to reach new levels of self improvement. Our brain decreases in size when we don't take care of it. It's gradually decreases in size due to our poor health habits such as eating the wrong foods, drinking alcohol, using drugs, and all kinds of behaviors that shrink our brain, and most importantly our drive to become our best version of ourselves. I've suffered damage to the brain as I played football and suffered many concussions, especially in the era where there was very little research in TBI caused by football. I also grew up eating lots of the foods that caused some of that damage such as excessive sugary drinks, alcohol, sugary snacks, high dopamine snacks, and basically not knowing that a lot of the foods I ate had so much sugar that little by little my brain function had diminished over time. I had difficulty with reading comprehension, staying focused, speaking my thoughts clearly, writing a paper, or just the basics of everyday decision making. I learned over time that I had caused a lot of that damage, but I found out that there were ways to improve brain function. I began reading books of all kinds and one day at our public library here in Laredo, TX I came across this book by Dr. John Ratey.
"John J. Ratey, MD, is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an internationally recognized expert in Neuropsychiatry. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles, and 12 books published in 20 languages, including the groundbreaking ADD-ADHD “Driven to Distraction” series with Ned Hallowell, MD. Their latest release, ADHD 2.0 (2021) explores new science and strategies. With the publication of his bestseller, "Spark-The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain," Dr. Ratey established himself as one of the world's foremost authorities on the brain-fitness connection in areas such as ADHD, Autism, Aging and Cognition.
Recognized by his peers as one of the Best Doctors in America since 1997, Dr. Ratey was recently honored by the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society as "Outstanding Psychiatrist of the Year" for advancing the field. Dr. Ratey and his work are frequently profiled in the media, where he’s been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and NPR, as well as in The New York Times, Newsweek, The Washington Post, US News and World Report, Men’s Health, and other national publications. Dr. Ratey maintains an active practice in Cambridge, MA and Los Angeles, CA."
After I read book, I began digging in the trenches and practicing a lot of his methods and experimented on my own brain. I began to watch my diet, decrease sugar, decrease alcohol, decreased certain chemicals in foods, and increased healthier options and exercise. In a nutshell, I began working on my own engine and fixing it part by part. The increase of oxygen to the brain through working out, mediation, and other breathing exercises that I learned, I immediately felt the shift in my mental sharpness and my ability to perform better in my daily routines from work to just having better reading comprehension, better conversations, more clarity and focus, and most importantly a higher intelligence I didn't know was possible.
Another doctor that I came across during my journey to improve my brain was Dr. Daniel Amen. The following images are from Dr. Daniel Amen's website as he is one of the leaders in brain health and diagnosing what's wrong with our brains by conducting brain scans. He can pin point where you have the damage. The following images are 4 different brain scans. From left to right, the first one is the image of a healthy brain. It's smooth and great symmetry. The second image is the scan for a 16 year old that has abused and smoked marijuana for 2 years. It's incredible the damage this kid has endured, I can only imagine how much it will be for someone who's smoked maryjane all their life. The third scan is for a heroin addict, the image is sad to see. Shriveled and pruned up from all the damaged caused by heroin addiction. The fourth scan is from the most common unnoticed factor in our daily routines, alcohol abuse. This is the brain of someone who's been drinking alcohol for more than 20 years of continued use.
So you start to think, why is our society so messed up, well, we've been sabotaged to mess up our brains. All the products we purchase and the accessibility of drugs in our communities have damaged all of our brains, thus causing for us to fall to the traps of poor decision making, violence, no self control, and predictable patterns in society. We've been led to think that a beer here and there, a cocktail here and there, won't harm anyone. Well, when you've been doing it for years, you'll end up with shriveled up brain and very poor quality of life. We've been brain washed through sports on television, showing beer commercials after every break. I remember watching NFL, NBA, and MLB growing up in the 80's and 90's and beer commercials were always present. I was a kid being programmed to be a consumer of these products. Beer tasted horrible, but I learned that we had to watch a game and beer had to go with it. It's like a burger has to have its fries, which is another topic for another day. So after all that programming, when I became an adult, watching games always included a few beers. It becomes a routine, a habit, and a self sabotaging behavior that slowly eats away your brain and your ability to reach higher levels of intelligence of all kinds.
I'm not saying not to stop these behaviors, but I just want you to be conscious that when we do engage in these behaviors there has to balance behind it, such as vitamins, exercise, meditation, and breath work to combat the damage we've caused.
We need to take charge of our minds by improving our brains and teaching others about the importance of brain health. On this page you will get recommendations on what's worked for me. You can do your own research but I'll provide with the pathways to get there and possibly you'll make some discoveries we haven't seen yet. So, thanks for being here and sharing your frequencies, and I look forward to seeing you become your best version of yourself.
Eric S. Castillo