Keeping your brain running Part 1
When it comes to brain activity, it takes 4 basic things to keep it working.Just as a gear needs oil, your brain needs movement, diet (Antioxidants primarily),
exercise and many other factors. On this article I will take each factor in
particular, analyze it and explain to you how you should keep your brain running.
The effects of the factors
The brain is the most complex organic mechanism in the world. There is no match, no computer, no machine that can simulate such a complex feature of the human body.
Being so complex, it requires delicate care. Like an organ, it gets old and used. There are many diseases related to the brain. A great example of an aging brain is Alzheimer's disease. The brain gains allot of knowledge as it ages, but it also gets used. As you age, you involuntarily activate some factors that increase or decrease your brain performance. For example some people don't know that eating fish helps your cognitive abilities. Some eat fish, without knowing the enormous benefits of it.
There are certain factors that affect this. They are: Exercise, diet, health, lifestyle. I'm going through 2 of these on this post, and the rest on the other.
Exercise - Helping and practice
Your body needs constant exercise. Your muscles atrophy if you don't use them. So does your brain. Exercise is the most important factor in keeping your brain up and running. When we're talking about exercise, we mean the equivalent of sports, in cognitive senses. I know 20 exercises to train your brain, and I will develop them here.
- Solving puzzles - Solving puzzles is like lifting weight for your brain. It makes it stronger and helps it develop certain abilities. Completing puzzles such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles, chess puzzles, and any kind of puzzle will help develop your brain. It's a great exercise and it can be done by anyone, at any time, without having to get bored.
- Lecturing - Reading books, lecturing, spending your time reading. It all sounds like such a boring thing to most of us. But did you know that reading is one of the best way to develop your brain functions? You can't go through life reading. If you read fast and accurate then you are doing great, but reading also helps develop vocabulary, general knowledge about pretty much everything (The knowledge gained depends on the subject of the book) and it can keep us up to date. However, lecturing doesn't necessarily mean books. It means magazines, newspapers, or even virtual news on your computer. Reading this article helps you too.
- Using your non-dominant hand - The laterality of a person (What hand he uses) is decided on how complex his emisphere is. For example right handed people have a more developed left hemisphere. Did you know that some people are both right AND left handed? Those people are called ambidextrous. Soposing you aren't ambidextrous, you have a dominant hand. The dominant hand uses the developed hemipshere of your brain, therefore, using your non-dominant hand will help you improve the opposite emisphere. Some examples are : Using a left-handed mouse (If you are right handed), catching a ball with your non-dominant hand, eating with your non-dominant hand, etc.
- Meditation - When speaking of meditation, most people think "Oh, this is just a bunch of baloney". That's precisely why it's not working for them. Meditation implies relaxation and pure use of your brain. Its helps in many ways. It helps you relax, it's a great anti-stress measure, and it helps your general brain health. Meditating on certain goals, such as how to improve chess, will help you reach that goal.
- Playing chess - This particular exercise is on top of the best. Chess helps you in so many ways, I'd need an entire new article for it. Chess helps pattern recognition, focusing, memory, and intelligence. Playing chess on a daily basis will certainly help your brain.
I can name at least 20 more exercises, but the ones shown above are the primary brain exercises you should practice. The results of these exercises are the same results of a fitness work-out. Makes your brain stronger, better, and makes you a more intelligent person. Unlike physical exercises, the ones above do not require any real effort. They don't hurt, nor do they cause damage. Now we're gonna start another chapter in this article. Diet.
Diet - eating to get smart
Simply performing brain exercise just won't help. If you truly want to increase brain performance you're going to have to eat properly. Like in any workout, you'll need food to get going, and in this article I'm going to tell you what to eat to get smarter.
The human brain requires fatty acids and omega 3 primarily. These 2 things are like fuel for your brain. Without fuel, your brain won't work. Let's see a list of things you can eat that help your brain.
The fatty acid content should be as high as possible. These foods are easy on the organism and great for your brain. The following foods contain fats, and should be consumed : Raw or dry toasted nuts and seeds (Preferably to be eaten afternoon, seaweed and fish also contain omega 3 which is the most important thing for brain development, they feed it to young children, avocados, coconuts and extra virgin oils are great too, but avoid trans fats. Milk and eggs are also great breakfast for your brain.
The aminoacids are great for the brain, and there are many aliments that contain these aminoacids, but I will only show you the ones that have a higher level of aminoacids. Generally, animal foods, such as eggs and milk have a raised level of aminoacids which are great for the brain. But they also have calcium, which help the bones! Dried beans, vegetables with green leaves, nuts and seeds also contain the aminoacids, but these are not good if you're on a diet.
Most foods contain some vitamins and minerals, however micronutrients can only be found in fruits and vegetables in particular. In order to consume a healthy ammount of micronutrients, a diet with lots of fruits and veggies is recommended, ~ five servings of fruits and vegetables each day for brain health, and ten if you wish to prevent cancer. A serving is generally a small fruit. It's also preferably that the fruits and veggies are locally grown. It ensures a larger level on micronutrients.
SUGGESTED DAILY MENU
|MEAL||FIRST DAY||2nd DAY||3rd DAY|
|Breakfast|| Omelet, spinach and mushrooms
Organic butter with bread
|Fruits and a drink|| Pumpkin seeds
|Snack||Apples and/or almonds||Carrot sticks and fresh walnuts||Bean dips|
|Lunch|| Chicken tostada (Corn tortillas,
Chicken, sour cream, avocado
| Tomato soup salad -salmon or tuna
lettuce, spinach, red cabbage,
zucchini, veggies and lemons
| Lettuce, summer squash
cucumber, fruits and
|Snack||Pear and walnuts||cauliflower florets||apples and walnuts|
|Dinner|| salmon corn, steam stringed beans
with slivered almonds salad - romaine
lettuce, veggies and lemons
| Free range turkey burgers
squash with organic butter, salad
| Vegetables and fruits
Coming up in part 2: health and lifestyle
Credits : The Franklin Institute Online @ 2004