Tips for Maintaining Optimum Brain Function

Rob Esmund By Rob Esmund, 6th Sep 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1hph9y58/
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Wellness

Our brain is arguably our most important organ, the repository of our personality, and responsible for everything we do. We don't understand all of the brain's workings, but there are some factors to consider if you want your brain to perform as well as possible...

How to get the most from your brain

Avoid Dehydration
The brain is made up of 80% water, so even a relatively small decrease in daily water intake can lead to a decrease in brain function. Make sure you drink enough liquid, preferably water. Be aware that excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption can lead to dehydration. They can also reduce blood flow to the brain. Excessive alcohol can impair brain function in the short term of course through interference with neural transmitters, whilst long term excessive alcohol intake leads to difficulties in learning new skills or material, deficiencies in abstract concepts and problem solving, plus reduced visuo-spatial abilities.

Get sufficient sleep.
It is well known that sleep deprivation can cause decreased mental ability as well as irritability, lack of concentration, and impaired judgement. It is necessary for good brain health for most adults to have at least 7 hours sleep a night. Margaret Thatcher claimed to have managed with 4, but was her judgement always perfect?
Our brain is arguably our most important organ, the repository of our personality, and responsible for everything we do. We don't understand all of the brain's workings, but there are some factors to consider if you want your brain to perform as well as possible...Snoring or sleep apnoea (temporary breathing impairment), can also lead to loss of adequate sleep as well as just being a nuisance.

Vitamin D is believed to be an important vitamin for supporting cognitive function and mood stability, especially in older people. Many people in the Northern hemisphere tend to be deficient without realising it. Vitamin D is made in the body but needs a certain amount of sunlight to do so. Vitamin D can also be obtained from fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, and cod. It is a good idea to take a supplement during the winter months.

Don’t eat too much refined sugar
Aside from the many long-term health problems associated with eating too much sugar, eating sugar can also impair your ability to concentrate and think in the short-term. You might think some sugar is a good idea to boost energy if you about to do some mental calculations, but actually, sudden intake of sugar messes with the blood regulating mechanism and is counter productive.

Eat more magnesium-rich foods.
Recent research has suggested that higher levels of magnesium could improve both learning and memory abilities in both the young and old, and may also help slow down brain deterioration..

Admittedly this research was carried out on rats, but it was striking how elevated magnesium levels led to enhanced problem solving by these animals.

Spinach and soya beans are good sources of magnesium, as also are nuts, especially almonds and cashews. Brown bread is much better than white as the magnesium is in the germ and bran which is retained in brown, wholemeal bread.

Exercise the brain
Some research has suggested that doing mental tasks such as calculations, crosswords, or Sudoku, does seem to have a knock on effect by improving brain function in other areas. The old adage “use it or lose it” seems to apply.


Most of these factors are easy to get under control, and, although individually they may not make a lot of difference, when added together, they well might.

Tags

Brain, Brain Function, Brain Health, Brain Performance, Maximum Brain Power

Meet the author

author avatar Rob Esmund
I am a retired UK health professional with interests in health, nutrition, and weight-loss

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Comments

author avatar James R. Coffey
6th Sep 2010 (#)

Good advice--for the entire body.

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