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Archive for September, 2009

Food for your brain

Apples speed up your metabolism while onions decrease hypertension. Some foods have increased beneficial effects on your body. Still some might think that food has nothing to do with your brain. But you’d be very wrong to think that way.The brain is part of your body too. And just like your body, it needs fuel to run and food to build. But your brain is a very hungry one, and a picky eater too.So what you put in your system greatly influences your brain. Think about how fast and well you react, how quick you can come up with solutions and how long you can hold your concentration. But also memory, handling stress, sensorimotor skills and even brain ageing.

The fuel
Your brain is fueled by carbohydrates. The best source for this are whole grain foods, because they break down slower, and thus providing a steady supply of fuel for hours. White bread, in contrast to brown bread, burns faster, giving you a short term boost only. Vegitables are also efficient for this, such as spinach, sprouts and cauliflowers. They do however burn slightly faster compared to grains.But you should really be trying to avoid all fast burning carbohydrates, such as sugar and keep them for times when you do need them. If you let your body get used to sugars, it won’t get a boost from them when you need it. So don’t make a habit of drinking Coke or other soft drinks all the time, as they contain heaps of sugar.A few good sources of carbohydrates:

Brown bread, spinach, sprouts, cauliflower, patatoes, tomatoes.

The building blocks
Omega 3 are by far the best building blocks. They’re fatty acids, but don’t get mislead by that. Unlike other fats, like the ones found in pork or beef, omega 3 doesn’t make you fat.Omega 3 helps your brain to build highways inside your brain to carry information better and faster.Now, if you don’t eat enough omega 3, you’ll survive, but your brain will be building roads from other types of oils that are less efficient for carrying information, thus slowing down your processing speed.Omega 3 can be found in many foods, but only a few contain a lot. Oily fish and nuts are the best sources. There are also a few berries that contain Omega 3, such as Acai and Blueberries. Then there are food supplements, but I don’t like artificial food myself. Also, they’re expensive and taste disgusting.So, a few examples where you can find omega 3:

Salmon, tuna, walnuts, peanuts, brocolli, avocado, acai berries.

Stimulants
So, then there are stimulants. The sort of boosters. But before you start with them, you should know that everytime you take them, they will have less effect in the future.Let’s split them in two catagories.We can divide them into two categories, one for speed and one that helps to free up your right brain from your left.

Speed
To speed up your mind you can take caffeine and sugar. Caffeine is the most widely used stimulant, but many people overdo it. You should not drink coffee in the morning or drink to much Coke during the day. You should keep your system clean until you need a boost.Also, don’t take caffeine just before going to sleep, cause it’ll keep you awake or disrupt your sleeping pattern, meaning you will wake up tired.Then there is sugar. It works basicly the same as caffeine, though slightly less effective. And be warned, any sugar your body doesn’t use, will become fat.Cigarettes are also a speed booster but there are many negative side effects so I don’t want to talk about them.

Creativity
Some other stimulants can help to free your right brain from the left.

Why would you want to do that??? Well, your left brain keeps your right in control. It keeps you rational. But when it comes to creativity, connecting two seemingly unrelated things together, you don’t want to be limited by rational thinking.So, if you need it, you can partially block out your left brain with alcohol. Drugs also work, but as with cigarettes, I’m not going to discuss them as they have to many negative effects.So about alcohol, take a little bit. Just enough to put you in the right state of mind. Too much will make you sleepy and unable to concentrate. This amount however, varies per person. But seriously, don’t overdo alcohol, it can also result in lasting brain damage.

That’s it about food. Some other things that may help to boost your brain power are:
Sleep — Have at least 8 hours of sleep a day.
Sport — It helps you relax + your body stays in shape. A healthy body always helps for a healthy brain.
Do new things — Go wine tastings, go diving, I don’t know. Do something new.
Be curious — Question everything, get involved and learn about things that are unrelated to your profession.
Write about yourself — Blog your life and read your old entries. This will give you a perspective and activate your brain in unexpected ways.
Listen to music — Listening to music will help you relax and enjoy it.
Take time to play — Socially or alone.
Concentrate — Learn to focus and do it regularly for important tasks.
Make friends — Strong emotional bonding increases your brain power.
Try scent activation — This is a technique that with time will allow you to achieve a higher state of creative consciousness. Simply create a strong aroma whenever you need to concentrate and be creative.