Five Ways to Smarten up your Brain
Keeping up appearances is important, therefore most of us spend an extra few hours in keeping ourselves healthy. But what about brain health? Fitness does not just equate to being physically agile, it also means one must keep their brain equally fit. Your brain is the powerhouse of your body, and unless the brain remains virile and healthy, the body will suffer. Funnily enough, the brain is also a very mysterious organ and there is a lot that remains unexplored and unexplained by science. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to keep your brain healthy or improve its functions. Research suggests that a combination of mental, physical and social activities, along with good nutrition aids in improving and maintaining brain health. After all, without the brain, the body is merely a vegetable. Let’s check out some easy methods that can help to smarten your brain.
As clichéd as it sounds, getting plenty of physical exercise allows your muscles to work and in turn aids mental fitness. Exercising helps blood flow, when someone exercises or engages in physical activity, oxygen-rich blood flows into the part of the brain that aids in forming and retaining thoughts and memories. Regular exercising also boosts development of nerve cells and increases synaptic function, that is, your brain cells are able to connect easily with each other. A synaptic brain means more adaptive capabilities, and better efficiency and performance. Not to mention, physical activity helps combat illnesses, blood sugar, blood pressure, stress and other problems that might otherwise be a burden on the brain. Eventually, reduced mental stress means a relaxed brain and healthier heart.
No, it’s not necessary to diet to get better brain functioning, but it is crucial to be on a nutritious diet to ensure a healthier brain. Just like your body requires food for nourishment, your brain requires a boost of nutritious food too. By that, we don’t mean one must feed his brain, when people eat nutritious food, their brain is also benefited. A person who eats a meal rich in nuts, healthy fats, proteins and minerals is less prone to brain impairments such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, memory loss, etc. Nutrition from food can be derived from supplements as well. Fish oil capsules are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that aid in brain health, which is a good idea for those who don’t eat fish. One can also take dietary supplements such as ‘Resveratrol’, an antioxidant that naturally occurs in red and purple fruits, chocolate, peanuts, red wine, and helps in memory retention. However, it is best to consult your doctor before indulging in any unknown supplements, and for best results, resort to natural sources that can be derived from food.
The brain needs constant stimulation to remain young and healthy, even as the body ages. Haven’t we often wondered how some old people have such a youthful mind? Research has found that stimulation helps the brain to build new cells and develop ‘plasticity’ of the nerves and prevents cell decay. Indulge in mentally stimulating activities such as reading, solving math problems, puzzles, crosswords, etc. Experimenting with activities that require mental dexterity such as painting, crafting, sculpting, drawing, building something, helps with brain stimuli. It is therefore, a good idea to involve children in such activities from a young age. Allow them to read by themselves, let them play with blocks and puzzles. The more one focuses on activities that require concentration and mental dexterity, the more the brain is stimulated, and a stimulated brain means a healthy brain.
Avoid Tobacco & Alcohol
It’s a known fact that tobacco smoking causes premature cell death, the more one smokes, the worse it gets, not to mention smoking is bad for overall health. Research has shown that regular smoking results in a definite decline in brain performance. Test results by a British research agency proved how overall memory and mental ability has sharply declined in smokers, versus non-smokers, who remained healthy. And while indulging in an occasional alcoholic drink or cocktail is fine, over-indulging increases the risk of dementia. It is best to stick to a maximum of two drinks a day to keep your brain healthy and fit.
Yes, sleeping is as important as any other activity and isn’t just vital for physical relaxation but it has been proven by a Harvard research team that people who sleep for a minimum stipulated amount each day are 33% more likely to enjoy smoother brain function. Sleeping also helps with memory enhancement, in fact, sleeping for a minimum of four to six hours can heavily impact one’s thinking capacity. The same is applicable for babies, infants and children as well, a proper nap through the day improves their cognitive development. Doesn’t mean that as an adult one shouldn’t take a nap. In fact, an afternoon nap actually boosts mental power and retention capacity.
Apart from these, don’t forget to soak in some Vitamin D, engage in social activities, make friends and overall, keep yourselves happy. A happy and relaxed brain is a healthy brain after all!
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