Everyone is always trying to improve their brain function and expand their knowledge, whether they are students, employees, or simply curious. Luckily, these efforts are not in vain: our brain can be altered through our experiences and environments. This ability is called “neuroplasticity” and it allows our nerve cells to adjust their activities in response to changes. To use this to our advantage, we only need to make small adjustments in our lives that will undoubtedly boost our brain power – we’ll be able to better our concentration on tasks, strengthen our memory, and even improve our mood! By focusing on the following four methods, you’re on the right track to improving your brain for a healthier, smarter life.
Eating the right foods is essential to a healthy brain, as each food provides certain nutrients necessary to maintain a well-functioning brain. From fruits and vegetables to superfoods, each has something to offer. Consider eating more fruits, nuts, and even dark chocolate. Fleshy fruits, like strawberries and blueberries, are packed with anthocyanins, which are proven to increase memory function through enhanced brain signals. Nuts are also perfect as brain food.
In a study done with old rats, researchers found a diet rich in nuts reversed the cognitive and motor deficits that come with aging. Chocolate-lovers have something to look forward to as well. Dark chocolate contains nutrient-rich compounds called flavanols, which have been found to boost blood flow to the brain. Increased blood flow to key areas of the brain can make you more alert and increase mental and physical performance in certain tasks, such as swimming and studying. Whether you incorporate these ingredients into everyday meals or just munch on them in your spare time, you’re definitely doing your brain a favour by eating right.
Any form of exercise is great for your brain. Whether it’s playing high-intensity sports, going to the gym, or even just going for a walk, you’ll be able to reap the benefits. This includes improved focus, increased memory capacity, and stimulated brain-cell growth. And in addition, during exercise, endorphins are released which interact with our brain receptors to help us feel happy and reduce our pain. So not only will you look better from staying fit, there’s the added bonus that you’ll feel great as well!
Get Enough Sleep
Getting the right amount of sleep is important. Sleep can strengthen your memory, repair damage caused by stress, and restore the brain by flushing out toxic proteins. On the other hand, lack of sleep can lead to cognitive decline and impair your abilities to focus and complete tasks, as well as process information. However, too much sleep can also present problems since oversleeping is a symptom of depression and anxiety. On top of that, those who sleep longer increase chronic inflammation in their bodies, an outcome tied to higher risks of health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Hence, the amount of sleep you get can have significant effects on your performance in daily tasks, as well as your long-term health. Develop good sleeping habits by using “SleepyTime”, an app designed to help you wake up in-between sleep cycles so that you can wake up with a fresher and clearer mind.
Learn New Things
Taking courses, whether they’re online or on campus, can be very expensive. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to learn for free. Explore websites like Khan Academy, MIT, and Reddit, where you can find infinite subjects to feed your brain, including Duolingo for the language enthusiasts. YouTube is a great outlet, especially for visual and auditory learners. Content is easily found and often presented in new and interesting ways.
Books are also a great option as you can find one on just about any subject. Not only that, books are extremely accessible too, as you can get them from libraries or straight from your phone. If reading isn’t your thing, audiobooks and podcasts are a great alternative! Spotify has endless playlists, from ‘How To Train a Cat Without Getting Dogged Out’ to ‘Poetry & Music’.
And if you’re looking for a more interactive and fun way to learn, try doing brain programs such as Lumosity and Brain Age. They may just seem like games but in fact, you’re actually training your brain to be faster and smarter.
These four methods are guaranteed ways to maximize your brain’s potential to form new connections in regard to new situations or to changes in the environment. By training your brain through healthy eating, regular exercise, enough sleep, and learning, you’re working towards a better and happier brain and lifestyle!