Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Habits to Keep the Brain Healthy

The brain is considered as the central processing unit of the human body. It is the main organ that controls the rest of the bodily parts. And since the brain is like a muscle, it needs to be exercised regularly in order for it to stay in optimum condition.
It’s true that every organ in the body has an important role to play, but besides the heart, the brain is one organ you would want to keep healthy all the time. It is through the brain that we learn, think, and remember things, and if we fail to maintain its health, we may end up with a high risk for degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. It’s a good thing that there are several things you can do to take proper care of your brain so that you don’t easily succumb to mental problems and brain diseases.

Stress is the number one cause of diseases and disorders in the bodily organs. If you want to maintain the youth and health of your brain, do your best to get rid of the stressors in your life. When you are under severe stress, hormones called cortisol rush to the hippocampus, the part of your brain that stores short term memory. When there’s too much cortisol rushing to the hippocampus, brain cells may die and result to poor learning and memory function. To avoid short term memory loss and improve your brain function, try some relaxation techniques that will help you eliminate or at least control stress. When you’re stressed, take long deep breaths to allow more oxygen to enter your brain. This encourages relaxation and helps improve your focus and concentration.
Sometimes, stress can be a result of lack of sleep. For your information, sleeping helps improve the brains health not only by reducing stress. Sleep is designed to allow damaged tissues in your body to heal. During sleep time, your body repairs the part of your brain that holds your memories together, making it an excellent activity to boost your long-term memory. Even a short nap during the day can boost the health of brain significantly. Some establishments in America allow their employees to take 20 minute power naps in the afternoon because they believe it can help improve their performance at work. This is quite true because according to studies, people who get at least 8 hours of sleep every day have sharper memories than those who only get 4-5 hours of sleep.
Speaking of sharper memory, playing brain games like scrabble, crossword puzzle, and Sudoku can richly enhance your mental ability. Whenever you spend time brainstorming or thinking hard on how you can win in Mastermind, the hippocampus in your brain generates new cells. The more mental stimulation and mental excitement you experience, the better.

Another more exciting way to improve your brain’s health is by feeding it. According to scientists, your thinking and your memory is greatly influenced by the kind of food that you eat. Since your brain is made up mainly of fat, what better way to fee it than by eating more fat? When we speak of fat, we’re referring to healthy fat or monounsaturated fat that you get from olive oil, avocado, canola oil, and nuts. If you’re not aware of it, Omega-3 that’s considered a brain food is actually a form of polyunsaturated fat. Include more Omega-3 –rich foods in your diet like tuna, sardines, salmon and mackerel. Other rich sources of Omega-3 are dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, asparagus, and broccoli. Alternatively, you can also improve your intake of Omega-3 by taking supplements.
Aside from monounsaturated fat, your brain also needs protein in order to function properly. Protein found in eggs, poultry, and fish increases serotonin in the brain. This chemical helps boost the feelings of the well-being of a person. In short, it acts like a “feel-good” chemical, just like endorphin. Endorphin, likewise, is a chemical released by the brain during physical activities like exercising. That makes regular physical exercise an excellent way to maintain the health of the brain as well. Each time you work a sweat by performing your favorite workout routine, you are actually promoting circulation of both blood and oxygen to the brain.
There is no question that your brain controls most of your bodily functions. By keeping it on top condition all the time, you can keep your overall health in check as well.

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