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Three Easy Ways to Improve Brain Function
1. Eating Brain Food
Omega-3s are an essential fatty acid (EFA) that support healthy brain development. The human body is unable to produce EFAs; they must be provided by a balanced diet. Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3s, as well as pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, soya beans, and walnut oil.
Other foods that boost brain power include blueberries–which help reduce effects from Alzheimer’s and dementia by preventing oxidative stress–and tomatoes, which contain the antioxidant lycopene. Nuts with a high vitamin E content like almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, and flax seeds also help prevent against age-related cognitive decline. Additionally, whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice contain both vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporating brain-boosting food allows healthy brains to function properly.
In a 12-week study conducted by the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas, participants were tested three times on “participants’ cognition, resting cerebral blood flow, and cardiovascular fitness.” Through non-invasive brain imaging techniques, researchers were able to determine that subjects who participated in supervised aerobic activities during the 12-week period demonstrated increased blood flow to the anterior cingulate, which indicated “higher neuronal activity and metabolic rate” than subjects who did not participate in supervised aerobic activities.
Easily accessible aerobic activities include walking, jogging, bicycling. Incorporating one hour of aerobics, three times per week helps promote blood circulation to the brain, regardless of age. However, the study also concluded “that while physical exercise is associated with a selective or regional brain blood flow, it did not produce a change in global brain blood flow,” which indicates that another type of exercise is required for healthy brain function…
3. Mental exercise
Scrabble, chess, learning a new language or hobby: these cerebral stimuli promote healthy brain activity. The brain, like any other muscle, requires conditioning to keep functioning properly and remain healthy. Likewise, “cognitive conditioning” through mentally stimulating activities can prevent or diminish the effects of mental decline.
Surprisingly, a German study found “increased size in brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning as well as fine motor skills” by having participants play Super Mario 64, a video game by Nintendo. The video gaming group displayed “increases of gray matter in the right hippocampus, right prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum, measured using MRI.” Video games like Mario and Legend of Zelda also provide benefits of “cognitive conditioning” similar to traditional paper puzzles such as sudoku or crossword puzzles.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Brain Health21 Mar 2014|