How to improve brain function – and stay mentally fit for a long time
The brain is definitely one of the most important organs, quite rightly considered to be the computer that controls the functioning of the entire body. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to maintain its efficiency until old age, which in many cases is our own fault. However, it is worth taking proper care of our private command center, which decides about almost all aspects important for health and life. We can ourselves improve the work of the brain and everything it is responsible for, especially memory, concentration or cognitive abilities.
What is the brain and how is it built?
The appearance of the human brain, bearing the Latin name Cerebrum, somewhat resembles a walnut fruit taken out of its shell. It is also extremely complex, weighing on average between 1200 and 1400 grams. Equally varied is the surface area of the brain, which in males is on average 1200-1300 cm3, and in females on average 1100 cm3. This organ, without which it is impossible for the other organs to function, consists of four most important, interconnected parts together forming the brain, which are:
The cerebral hemispheres
The largest part of the brain, composed of two apparently separate hemispheres, but connected by numerous nerve fibers in a region called the great plexus. The surface of the cerebral hemispheres is characteristically undulating, increasing their actual surface area, and is made up of two layers, the outer, cerebral cortex, or gray matter, and the inner, white matter. Each hemisphere is made up of several lobes:
- frontal, responsible for motor activities and the fact that we feel emotions;
- the parietal lobe, where sensory input is gathered and processed;
- temporal, where auditory and olfactory stimuli are analyzed;
- occipital, necessary for processing visual stimuli;
- the lateral cortex, also for emotions such as fear, pleasure, euphoria, and sadness.
Located beneath the cerebral hemispheres, also composed of several parts with different functions:
- thalamus, which mediates nerve impulses to the cerebral cortex;
- the hypothalamus, which regulates the endocrine system, including the secretion of oxytocin and vasopressin, and body temperature and reproductive functions;
- the part of the pituitary gland called the neural gland, where hormones produced in the hypothalamus accumulate;
- the pineal gland, responsible for secreting the sleep hormone, melatonin, and regulating the diurnal rhythm.
One of the most important areas of our natural computer, without which it could not control the basic activities of life, maintaining a state of consciousness, breathing or the heart pumping blood throughout life. It is also responsible for activities such as sneezing, coughing and the vomiting reflex. The brain stem is made up of four parts:
- the medulla oblongata;
- reticular formation.
Located in the back, lower part of the skull, behind the brainstem, also consisting of two hemispheres connected by the so-called brain worm. It is commonly called the “little brain”, it is divided into three main areas and depending on the function they perform, we distinguish:
- vestibular cerebellum, responsible for eye movements and balance, among other things;
- the medullary cerebellum, without which it would not be possible to maintain the motor coordination necessary for many daily activities;
- the neuromedian cerebellum, whose primary function is to regulate muscle tone for body movements.
What factors can interfere with brain function?
The human brain is indeed an extremely complex organ, and this degree of complexity means that it can be affected by many adverse factors that interfere with its work. As we have already mentioned, very often we are guilty of this ourselves, the functioning of the brain is disturbed by our bad habits, and the most harmful to it:
- hypoxia, the cause of which is lack of physical activity and sleeping in a poorly ventilated bedroom or covering the head with a pillow during sleep. It is necessary to take care of a daily dose of exercise, which is essential to maintain good condition, not only physical but also mental;
- lack of sleep and its poor quality, caused by various reasons, however the effect of insomnia in this case is always one, progressive brain damage, very often even permanent, irreversible changes;
- poorly balanced diet deprived of beneficial for the brain nutrients, at the same time hard to digest, causing an increase in overweight and obesity. The worst is its high content of trans fats and simple carbohydrates;
- not eating breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Regularly skipping it means an immediate loss of concentration, memory disorders and mood swings;
- smoking and alcohol abuse, two stimulants that are deadly to the human brain. Smoking causes hypoxia and a decrease in the thickness of the cerebral cortex layer, while alcohol irreversibly damages the brain, causing mental disorders, hallucinations, delusions, states of unconsciousness;
- stress, one of the diseases of civilization, causing states of so strong nervous tension, that the excess of stimuli reaching the brainStress, one of the diseases of civilization, causing states of so strong nervous tension that the excess of stimuli reaching the brain becomes the cause of serious damage to connections between individual nerve cells;
- lack of intellectual exercises, and they should be done throughout life, first of all by reading, writing, solving crosswords, rebus puzzles, and other logical puzzles. It is also worth remembering that, contrary to popular belief, prolonged television viewing has a negative effect on brain function;
- wrong attitude to life, pessimistic view of the world and constantly putting yourself in a bad mental mood. Let’s face it, optimists not only live longer, but they can count on more efficient brain function and in many cases exceptionally high intellectual abilities.
How can you improve your brain function?
Of course, these are just some of the factors that harm the brain, and as you can see, at least a few stem from our own negligence. If we see such mistakes in ourselves, it is time to correct them, preferably by natural methods, and improving the work of this important organ will certainly help:
Changing your diet
The basis for the long preservation of brain health and at the same time full mental performance is the right diet, recommended by specialists. The first thing to do is to remove the following foods from your diet:
- sweets and sugary fizzy drinks full of harmful fructose-glucose sugar or artificial sweeteners that damage the brain and in excess can lead, for example, to Alzheimera disease;
- highly processed foods that use dangerous fillers, artificial colors, preservatives and trans fats, which can cause dementia and memory problems;
- fast food, also stuffed with trans fats, salt, white sugar and processed protein, a cause not only of obesity but also of malfunctions in our central computer;
- certain species of fish from unverified sources, whose flesh may contain large amounts of mercury, deadly not only to the brain;
- alcohol, which should at least be limited, but looking at the harmfulness, it is better to eliminate it altogether.
The brain, nervous system and the whole body will quickly begin to feel the positive effects of such, what not to say, for many a radical change. The change of diet itself is already a lot, but we will gain even more by introducing products containing large doses of minerals, especially zinc, iron and magnesium, as well as vitamins, among which the most important are:
- vitaminB1 (thiamine), the first vitamin of the B group, essential for cognitive function and memory, participating in the production of neurotransmitters, relieving the symptoms of neurological diseases, andIt is found in beef and pork, legumes, and rice;
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), without which it is impossible to produce two neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, important for the functioning of the nervous system, providing the brain with energy. Its sources include meat, liver, eggs, vegetables, and dairy products;
- Vitamin B3 (niacin), which effectively regulates the work of the brain, also providing it with energy and preventing the development of neurological diseases, and we will provide it with poultry, sea fish, cereal products, vegetables and fruits;
- vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), necessary for the proper growth of nerve cells and neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, improving brain function. It is found in fatty fish, legumes and whole grain cereal products;
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), a source of glucose for nerve cells, another vitamin involved in the synthesis of dopamine and serotonin, puts us in a good mood, allowing us to maintain calmness and mental and emotional balance. Therefore, we should eat poultry, beef, pork, sea fish, fruits, vegetables, egg yolks;
- vitamin B9 (folic acid), the most effective in combination with vitamin B12(cobalamin). The first determines cell growth, the second takes care of neurological functions, together they protect DNA brain and neurons from damage leading to memory loss. They are provided by green vegetables, pulses, animal products;
- vitamin C(ascorbic acid), an antioxidant that removes free radicals, the cause of oxidative stress. Ascorbic acid also accelerates the maturation of neurons, supports the treatment of memory disorders, increases the ability to absorb new knowledge. The richest sources of it are fruits and vegetables;
- vitamin D, called “vitamin of the sun”, produced under the influence of its rays, strengthening not only the skeletal system, but also the nervous system and brain. Its deficiency contributes to the progressive degeneration of neurons, cognitive decline and memory problems, and other sources include primarily marine fish;
the “youth vitamin”, deficiencies of which cause an increase in the level of cortisol, the “stress hormone”, and the appearance of Therefore, the diet must include olive oil, cereal seeds, nuts and sunflower oil.
Diet alone is often not enough to improve the work of the brain and enjoy full mental efficiency, good memory and the absence of mental disorders. Even better results can be obtained by using the benefits of phytotherapy, or herbal medicine. Among the numerous herbs and medicinal plants that favor our brain, the highest effectiveness is demonstrated by:
- soprano coneflower, called lion’s mane, a species of mushroom used in traditional Far Eastern medicine. Its effects can be compared to nootropics, supporting the brain and other parts of the nervous system. It accelerates the regeneration of nerve cells, thus improving memory, cognition and concentration, and it also protects against neurodegenerative diseases and alleviates their symptoms if they already occur;
- ashwagandha, or vitania sluggard, an adaptogen with a unique composition best able to cope with the negative effects of stress. It has a beneficial effect on brain function, and its regular use will allow you to enjoy an excellent memory for a long time and to absorb large amounts of new information in an instant. Ashwagandha also finds use in reducing symptoms of Alzheimera and Parkinson’s disease;
- bacopa monnieri, or small-leaved bacopa, also known as brahmi, full of steroidal saponins, alkaloids, flavonoids and organic acids. They help alleviate symptoms of stress, and their effects are also felt by the brain and nervous system, as they improve memory, concentration and learning abilities. Brahmi is also used in the prevention of Alzheimera and Parkinson’s disease;
- CentellaAsiatica, better known as Gotu Kola, another natural and potent nootropic, which has many benefits for the functioning of the brain and the rest of the nervous system. It helps oxygenate brain cells, speeds up thought processes, increases concentration and helps learning. At the same time, it quickly removes the effects of stress and helps the body regenerate after a big mental effort.
Virtually all of the plants described above with proven medicinal properties are used in dietary supplements designed to improve brain function, memory and focus on the activities performed. One of the supplements recommended by specialists is Brain Actives, which works comprehensively, not only improving our intellectual abilities, but also positively influencing our general state of health, thanks to which it is possible to take a supplement without any problems.Thanks to it we can effortlessly cope with stress, we will have energy to work or study and quickly regenerate after each, even the greatest physical and mental effort.