A lot of people want to find ways to boost their brain power, slow mental aging, and live longer. There really are some strategies in existence that can help you reach these goals. And actually, many of them are quite simple changes you can make to your daily routine.
Listed here are nine such strategies that you can incorporate into your daily life. They can boost brainpower, help you stay healthy mentally, and make you smarter too.
Nine Strategies for Getting Smarter
- You might be surprised at the effect exercise has on the brain and its function. Exercise causes nerve cells to multiply which strengthens their interconnections and protects them. This encourages the brain to work at a higher capacity. While you are exercising, nerve cells are releasing proteins called “neurotrophic factors.” One of these triggers other chemicals which promote neural health. This has a direct effect on cognitive function. To get the most out of exercising, try a regimen that includes a variety of workout intensities such as high-intensity workouts, stretching, core work, and strength training.
- Omega-3 Fats from Animal Sources. One of the important structural components of the brain and retina is an omega-3 fat called DHA or docosahexaenoic acid. Your brain is composed of 60% fats and about a quarter of that is DHA. This type of omega-3 fat is considered essential since the body doesn’t create it. It will have to be obtained through your diet. Many Americans no longer eat foods that contain DHA such as fish, brain or liver. There has been extensive research on omega-3 fats and how they influence your mental health. One finding includes how animal-based omega-3s can be beneficial for reducing different psychiatric illnesses as well as degenerative brain disorders. Krill oil is a good animal source for this kind of fat.
- Adequate Sleep. Sleep is beneficial for your body as it lets it rejuvenate itself. However, it may also be beneficial for your brain. Sleep lets you “reset” the brain and you can more easily find new answers to problems. Sleeping allows you to see problems from a different perspective.
- Coconut Oil. Your brain uses glucose for fuel and converts it to energy. The brain can manufacture insulin which is converted to glucose in the bloodstream. If the brain reduces the amount of insulin it produces, it actually starts to starve. An Alzheimer patient has portions of the brain which have started to atrophy or starve. This leads to impaired and eventually loss of function. Ketones are another substance that can keep the brain from going into starvation mode. These are created when the body burns fat for energy instead of glucose. Coconut oil is a primary source of medium chain triglycerides (MCT) or ketone bodies. Just about two teaspoons are enough to provide you with enough MCT to prevent degeneration of the brain.
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D receptors increase the nerve growth in the brain, when they are activated. Adequate exposure to the sun helps the body create enough vitamin D to maintain brain health. If you cannot get enough direct sunlight, a supplement is effective. Just be sure to check the level of vitamin D in your blood to stay within a healthy range.
- Optimize Gut Flora. Your gut is sort of like a second brain as the bacteria found in the gut transmits information to the brain. There is a connection between having abnormal gut flora and abnormal brain development. You have neurons in both your gut and your brain. These neurons produce neurotransmitters (serotonin) which can affect your moods. Gut flora is compromised when you eat processed foods and too much sugar. Consuming these types of foods destroy healthy microflora. You can take a probiotic supplement to help keep your gut flora healthy.
- Vitamin B12. This vitamin is essential for keeping the brain sharp as a person ages. Having a deficiency of B12 has been shown to lower cognition on tests. A lack of this vitamin may be a contributing factor in brain shrinkage. Vitamin B12 can be obtained from animal-based food sources like seafood, eggs, chicken, pork, milk, and beef.
- Listening to Music. Music may be able to boost brainpower. For adults, listening to music can enhance cognitive function and improve mental focus.
- Challenge the Mind. One of the easiest ways to boost brain function is to continue learning. As you learn, the size and structure of neurons and their connections change. This can be more than just book learning. Try learning to play an instrument, a foreign language, or travel. These are all helpful for boosting your brainpower.