Sunday, 3 June 2012

Keeping The Brain In Shape

Our brain is a very special organ in our body. Being the seat and center of our own universe, it needs special care to boost its potentials. How does one increase one’s mind power?

A. Diet and supplements

Just like any other part of our body, a healthy diet will be very beneficial. Foods considered as “brain food,” meaning foodstuff that can nourish and stimulate brain cells, are fish, green, leafy vegetables, nuts, lean meat, and olive oil. Many believe that almonds improve memory.

Ensure that your diet is rich in vitamins A, B complex, C, E, and folic acid. Supplements to consider are selenin and alpha-lipoic acid. They are known to be helpful in improving memory.

Be adventurous and try some tea. Tulsi tea, made from holy basil, and Indian herb, and ginseng tea are fine examples of herbs that keep you alert. They can help reduce cortisol, a stress-hormone that deters memory.

Popular herbal supplement  Ginkgo biloba is known to increase blood flow to the brain. Also helpful are St. John’s Wort and apple juice.

B. Daily exercise

A good dose of daily exercise is good not only to the muscles, but also to our brains. Take a twenty-minute walk with your favorite dog. Not only does it lift your spirit, it also keeps your blood flowing in your systems, including those tiny blood vessels in the brain. It makes us think clearly, too. Dance, jog, swim, weight-lift. The list of fun things to do is endless. Learning new steps and new movements activates our brain and form new neural connections.

After the exercise, don’t skip on the rest. Relaxation is just as good. Five to seven hours of restful sleep refreshes us with a joyful readiness to start the day right. It is relaxing for the body, mind, and spirit. “Power naps,” a 20-30 minute doze after lunch break, is believed to be beneficial to our productivity, because it improves and recharges the mind.

Other must-try’s:  meditation and yoga.  In the book “Your Maximum Mind” by Herbert Benson, an experiment was cited wherein group of students who were taught meditation was compared to another group who were not taught any meditation technique. The first group showed that they have a higher level of academic achievement and cognitive growth, through standard academic and psychological tests.

C. Keeping Mentally Active

Keeping ourselves mentally stimulated will sharpen our memories and keep our brain agile. Solving puzzles, writing, and word games are good examples. Learn a foreign language or an instrument. Memorize the names and faces of new acquaintances. Play Scrabble, Pictionary, or Boggle. Reach for your computer and search out for video games that offer brain teasers. Who says they’re only for children? They are useful in keeping our motor and neural nerves active.

Like our muscles, our brain needs exercise and a period of rest after some activity. This is important to give it time to process any incoming information and organize it within. That way, we can access any info with ease when we need to recall.

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