Simple Ways To Improve Your Brain's Function
The brain and how it functions, has been a mystery for most of mankind's past, but researchers today are beginning to unravel the secrets, allowing you to see how you can influence this remarkable organ and in so doing, improve the quality of your life.
Different food choices can lead to improved thinking
There are a number of key areas where research has highlighted how different choices can lead to improved cognition and mood. How food influences mood, is now understood in more depth, and as we can now see what goes on inside a living brain, it's much easier to see how what you eat is influencing your thinking.
Improving your ability to learn, remember and focus, as well as keeping your moods more stable is valuable information – whether you are getting older, and concerned about senior moments, or trying to maximize your ability in a competitive work environment.
So much information, too little time
School children, as well as university students, battling to keep up with large quantities of information, can also use these specific guidelines. Follow the points below to help your brain work optimally.
Fats for a fatty brain
As 60% of your brain is made up of fat, you need to choose the right ones. Between 20 – 30% of these fats and oils, should be specific ones, called EFA's or Essential Fatty Acids, which have to be obtained through your diet, as your body can not make them.
It is estimated that 95% of people are deficient in these unique fats, as you do not get them in your diet anymore, due to modified farming practices, poisoning oil processing methods, over consumption of refined carbohydrates, and grain fed animal produce.
Therefore, you are probably not getting these unique fats in your diet anymore, and so your brain may be battling to keep up with all the ongoing demands that are placed on it.
Neurons, specialized nerve cells, require these EFA's; synapses, specialized areas on dendrites and axons, which allow neurons to talk to each other, require them. Axons, which need to be myelinated, to increase the speed of transmission between neurons, need these unique fats too.
Without them, the brain is not capable of working optimally, because their unique structure allows the electro-chemical communication required by the brain to run smoothly.
As these essential fats are required for the structure of the brain, on so many different levels, if they are not there, the function will be hampered.
Supplementing with the right ratio of undamaged Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats, in the right ratio, is therefore critical for optimal brain functioning, as well as development. Furthermore, the aging brain requires these fats to maintain optimal function too.
The right carbohydrates for a very hungry brain
Your brain is the most energy hungry organ in the body, although it only weighs between 1.3 and 1.5 kg's. And glucose, the breakdown product from carbohydrates, is the brains primary source of fuel.
When the cells, in this case, neurons, are capable of producing energy effectively, the brain will remain sharp, so you'll be capable of thinking well, facilitating learning and memory, as well as mood stabilization.
Unfortunately, people often consume the wrong kinds of carbohydrates, preferring highly refined, processed, additive fried carbohydrates, crackers, crisps, cookies, to fiber-free breads, pizza, fries and donuts.
When your blood glucose increases too quickly, it sets off a number of different reactions in the body, all of which lead to hampered blood glucose supply to the brain, which will in turn result in spurts of energy, influencing thinking negatively.
Your choice of carbohydrates will directly influence your thinking.
A simple way to see this correlation is when you learn that people who have type II diabetes, have a significantly greater risk of developing dementia.
If the supply of glucose to the brain is hampered in any way, whether through the wrong types of carbohydrates, or through the narrowing of blood vessels, your brain will not be receiving the amount of glucose it requires for optimal functioning.
Combining the right carbohydrates and the right EFA's will ensure the right foundation for optimal brain health.
Your brain needs specific vitamins and minerals every day too
Adding the right minerals and vitamins completes the nutrient requirement for a healthy brain. By ensuring that you include vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, as well as whole grains, and organic animal products, if you choose to eat them, you will be obtaining a wide variety of essential nutrients, that support not just physical health, but also cognitive well being.
Unfortunately it's not possible to obtain all the nutrients that you require from your food, although there are people that argu one can.
You are faced with increased nutrient needs today, due to:
increased stress levels, which place extra demands on your body
levels of pollution that require your body to be in state of detox most of the time
severely reduced levels of vitamins and minerals in the produce that is grown, aimed at convenient mass farming, not maximum nutrient content.
Therefore, supplementing an excellent diet, guarantees optimum nutrient intake, and a great supply of essential compounds that facilitate physical as well as mental health.
Move the body to help the brain
Physical exercise has also been found to play a critical role in both physical and mental health, with countless research studies clearly illustrating the role that regular exercise plays in keeping you healthy, happier and more cognitively aware.
Even studies looking at people, who only form of exercise was walking, showed clear benefits to their bodies and their brains. The more aerobic the exercise, the more benefit was enjoyed. This is simply due to the fact that exercise allows more blood to flow to the brain, due to increased circulation, which means that the brain receives more oxygen and nutrients in the process.
Neurons, specialized nerve cells, of which you have about 100 billion, can also become healthy when you exercise regularly, and even increase in number. There is no reason to be a couch potato, especially if you care about how your body and brain are aging.
Exercising regularly provides so many different benefits, physical as well as mental, that it has to be part of the overall approach to optimal health – on all levels.
Take a deep breath and save some neurons
Stress is capable of destroying neurons, as well as negatively impacting other critical functions in the body, so you need to find a way to manage your stress levels. Fortunately, exercise is one of the best ways to combat rampant stress, as your body becomes occupied with another activity, and you get to use up all the adrenalin that stress produces, in a very active, productive way.
Meditation is another way to handle stress in your life, and it provides a space in your day, where you learn to switch off from everything going on around you, experiencing true peace and serenity. This feeling ever pervades your life, and you find yourself calmer and more able to handle stress, in ways that are not counter productive.
Mental stimulation grows neurons
Another form of exercise that is becoming more popular, is a specific form of mental exercise, where people perform precise tasks and tests using a computerized program, with the aim of helping their brains stay agile and capable.
Although the results of these activities, on long term cognitive health are still too sparse to make concrete statements about, initial results on some of the programs are very promising.
Playing Sudoku, learning a new language or taking up a new hobby, are also examples of other activities that will keep your brain performing well.
Combine physical and mental exercise for maximum benefits
Of course, combining a physical and mental form of exercise, can help you save time, and make the activity even more challenging, with complicated dancing steps and martial arts being two simple examples.
No magic pill to save your health – either physically or mentally
Unfortunately, most people are looking for the magic pill that will automatically solve their health as well as cognitive problems. There is no magic solution, because the body and brain can not be separated into different areas of concern. They work together and looking after one of them will automatically ensure the others health as well.
Furthermore, by working to improve your health you end up becoming empowered, and feel more in control of what happens to you. Along the way you also find your becoming becoming happier and could become an inspiration to someone who has not started making positive changes yet.