In today’s world, it’s easy to forget how much work our brains do for us. Most of us will reach for the calculator or smartphone to carry out a complex equation instead of relying on our own cognitive function.
But, did you know that you can train your brain so that you won’t need a calculator as a mental crutch? In much the same way that we focus on our keeping bodies in top shape, we also need to spend time on our minds.
We spend a lot of time trying to motivate ourselves to go to the gym and take better care of our physical health. But it is also very important to take care of our mental and psychological health. Our brains are muscles that need to be exercised regularly, too. So, how do you increase your brainpower?
Eat a healthy diet
You know the old saying – you are what you eat? Well, it certainly applies when it comes to brainpower. Our diets play a huge role in how well our brains function, so it is super important to make sure that we consume the right foods. Including some of the following foods in your diet may help to boost concentration and focus:
- Oily fish
- Pumpkin seeds
Foods rich in vitamin K, such as broccoli are great for enhancing cognitive function, while zinc-rich foods such as nuts and seeds are ideal for memory and decision-making capabilities. The vitamin C found in blueberries works to increase memory and mental agility and the omega-3 fats in oily fish are perfect for maintaining healthy brain function.
Research indicates that regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory and thinking skills. Along with maintaining a healthy body, exercise also provides the brain with essential chemicals that can stimulate the growth of new brain cells. Exercise also reduces the brain’s insulin resistance, reduces inflammation and improves mood and sleep, which all play a role in keeping the brain functioning at its best.
In fact, some evidence suggests that the areas of the brain that control thinking and memory have a greater volume in those who partake in regular exercise than those who don’t.
Studies indicate that playing games can have a positive impact on your brain, and there’s a world of online apps to help keep it in tip-top condition. Traditional strategic games such as PokerStars and Scrabble have brought the old-school favorites up to date, with most now featuring social elements that allow you to stay in touch with your friends. Strategy games have been linked with improved brain agility and are proven to provide cognitive boosts to those who play them regularly. Apps developed specifically to improve cognitive performance, such as Brain Cafe and Luminosity increase your ability to retain and take in new information. Learning games also have the potential to rewire the brain when they are practiced often enough.
Try something new
It can be very easy to get stuck in a rut of doing the same things over and over again. We get comfortable with our choices and tend to resort to them each time we are faced with a decision. Whether it’s driving the same route home, ordering the same food from the takeaway or buying the same pair of jeans that you’ve been wearing for years.
But if you want to keep your brain healthy then it’s super important to break out of the comfort zone and try something new. This is because trying new things actually changes your brain chemistry. There is a chemical in the brain called myelin that improves the brain’s performance. When the brain is learning new things, it produces more myelin which in turn improves the learning process.
These are just a few ways in which it is possible to boost brain function. Eating a healthy diet, regularly exercising, trying new things and playing games can all contribute towards maintaining good cognitive function. Keeping our brains fit and healthy should be as important as keeping our bodies fit and healthy.