How to Keep Your Brain Bright and Healthy
We are often talking about food as fuel for our bodies’ health but what about our brains? The brain is constantly making new cells called neurons and there is evidence that show that good nutrition improves the brain function and slows down the ageing process. The brain grows when it is used, and they say the neurons that fire together wire together.
What does the brain need to thrive?
- Mental stimulation (lifelong learning is important)
- Proper diet
- Good sleep
- Social interaction
- Physical exercise (exercise oxygenates the body and the brain)
- Avoidance of stress
Water makes up 83% of the blood and acts as a transport system, delivering nutrients to the brain and eliminating toxins. Your brain needs to be fully hydrated so that the circuitry works well and it functions at optimum levels. Water is essential for concentration and mental alertness. Studies have shown that most people are permanently partially dehydrated. This means that their brain is working considerably below its capacity and potential. A study by Trevor Brocklebank at Leeds University in the UK discovered that schoolchildren with the best results in class were those who drank up to eight glasses of water a day. Studies also show that it is wise to avoid fructose corn syrup as in some studies it was found to be present in high levels where there was brain shrinkage. It can be found in readymade meals cakes and sweets. Smoking is also best avoided.
During busy periods of stress many of us turn to coffee and caffeine laden drinks to keep us alert. But we want foods that boost our brain power not foods that make our brains jittery.
Good Brain Food
There is evidence that good nutrition improves brain function and slows the ageing process. The brain needs the correct fuel to function, so eat a healthy diet containing lean protein. Eating cold water fish keeps the nerve cells flexible so that they can talk to each other. Other important food for the brain includes berries, nuts, seeds and eggs. Vitamins and minerals are essential for the growth and functioning of the brain.
The 'B' complex vitamins are particularly important for the brain and play a vital role in producing energy.
An important antioxidant trace mineral that helps protect tissues from attack by damaging free radicals. Selenium + A,C and E are powerful antioxidants and promote and preserve memory in the elderly.
Minerals are also critical to mental functioning and performance. Magnesium and manganese are needed for brain energy. Sodium, potassium and calcium are important in the thinking process and they facilitate the transmission of messages.
As well as a healthy balanced diet a good daily vitamin is recommended as an insurance policy and I recommend Permea Plus as a top quality pharmaceutical grade supplement.
Exercise Is Good For The Brain
There are many studies saying that exercise is good for the brain; for one thing it carries more blood around the body and to the brain. For many years exercise enthusiasts have felt that exercise has a positive effect on the brain as well as the body. However the scientific evidence was lacking; now several biological studies indicate that exercise does benefit the brain.
A group of studies suggests that an active lifestyle, whether filled with exotic gym classes or simple jogs, plays an important role in maintaining the function of the brain. Furthermore, the research indicates that specialised exercise regimens may help repair damaged or aged brains. Scientists are currently investigating this possibility. I know personally that I feel happy when I exercise.
Getting up from your desk and going for a brisk walk may keep your mind agile later in life, say US researchers. They have found clear evidence that an aerobic exercise programme - even a fairly gentle one - may boost performance in key areas of the brain. So if you have a challenging day go for a brisk walk instead of a cup of coffee.
Brain function starts to decline when people reach their 70s. But elderly people who have been athletic all their lives have much better brain function than sedentary people of the same age. And it is never too late to start, but if you have left it late, check with your doctor first and begin with a short walk every evening.
Exercise is also strongly associated with a reduced risk of dementia and people who exercise are less likely to get Alzheimer’s. So there are many good reasons to exercise.
Exercise at school is also very important and it is a good idea for teachers to get children to stand up and do a few stretching and jogging on the spot before each class.
Children's learning and behavioural problems at school may be due to a lack of fish oils in their diets, according to a study published in the 5 May 2005 edition of Paediatrics. Researchers saw improvements in reading, spelling and behaviour in children when they were given regular fish oil supplements. The brain needs certain oils, found in oily fish, to work properly. In particular, the brain needs oils called Omega-3 essential fatty acids. The fish oil supplements given to the children contained Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be made by your body. Your entire supply of these fatty acids has to come from the foods you eat.
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