How to Keep Your Brain in Shape
Our brain is the largest organ in our central nervous system and functions as the control centre for the entire body. It also takes responsibility for language skills, emotions, memory and complex thinking. It’s important for us to provide our brain with proper nutrition in order to maintain its functionality and youthfulness. We can even use these great medicinal plants to help us heal certain problems, like poor concentration and memory loss.
Healthy foods for your brain
It’s important to opt for foods rich in essential fatty acids, minerals and vitamins to provide optimum nourishment to our brain cells. Some of the foods that can help us include:
- broccoli is great for memory, especially if consumed in steamed form.
- sprouts can be grown from broccoli, lentils, alfalfa, etc.
- ripened bananas contain vitamin B6, which plays a key role in dopamine synthesis. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects the memory.
- cacao catalyses the endorphin production in the body. Endorphins are the substances/hormones that provide that feel-good factor!
- parmesan cheese contains tyrosine, which is dopamine’s precursor amino acid. It boosts the learning and memorisation process.
- wheat sprouts are rich in antioxidants and minerals.
- oatmeal can be consumed in different ways: as a plant-based drink, a breakfast or in vegetable soup.
- linseed oil contains essential fatty acids.
- green tea contains components that play a key role in protecting brain function.
- sunflower seeds – These consist of folic acid, which is known to help in prevention of sudden strokes and enhances brain performance.
- dried fruit is extremely good for brain, as are walnuts, which look a lot like the brain itself!
This particular coenzyme is critical for the transformation and transportation of energy to every living cell. It enhances the cells’ longevity, thereby slowing down the ageing process. Coenzyme Q10 manages to do this thanks to its antioxidant power, which gets used for the neutralisation of free radicals.
Certain foods that can help us naturally produce this coenzyme in our bodies are spinach, cabbage and/or dried fruit.
We can even take this coenzyme in supplement form. Try taking for 3 months and monitor the results.
Three medicinal plants
Ginkgo biloba is considered one of the best natural substances for increasing the cerebral oxygenation. It enhances the blood circulation to the brain, thereby improving mental capacity. Its consumption can be started any time you observe symptoms like poor concentration, memory loss, etc. Although Ginkgo biloba can be consumed regularly as an extract, itis advisable to take a break from using it every once in a while, to prevent the body from getting too used to it.
Gotu kola or centella asiatica, a traditionally used plant in the Indian medicine system has effects quite similar to ginkgo biloba, as it improves overall blood circulation.
An excellent way to benefit most from these medicinal plants is by periodically alternating their usage.
Many times we underestimate the power of plants close to us. In fact, several plants have been in use in traditional medicine systems for centuries now and we may know them really well, or even cook with them. Our ancestors used to employ them regularly for curing illness. Rosemary (Rosmariunus Officinalis) is one such plant and it has powerful antioxidant properties. It can help significantly in preventing damage to the neurotransmitters in our brain caused by the free radicals. Simply put, it functions as a natural and highly effective brain protector. However, please ask a qualified physician before starting to take it and take special care if you suffer from hypertension.
Rosemary has been in use in Greece since ancient times, for its memory improvement properties. In those times, students used to appear for their exams wearing rosemary crowns on their foreheads!
Mint essential oil
The oils in mint have excellent cerebral stimulation properties. Mint is easy to find and can be used on a daily basis. All you need to do is gently rub some mint oil drops on your temples for a refreshing pick-me-up. It has a very pleasant aroma!
Finding the right balance is important
Anything left idle over a period of time deteriorates. If we stop exercising, we get out of shape, for example. That’s why it’s critical to maintain the right balance between excessive usage (during stressful times) and insufficient usage (due to a sedentary lifestyle, or as we age).
When it comes to our brain, it can be easily exercised by performing strenuous tasks such as playing memory games, committing long lists to memory, playing sudoku, reading, storytelling, etc.
On the other hand, if you’ve been over-stressing your mental faculties, you opt for some relaxation routines like sunbathing, performing deep breathing exercises, massage therapy or daily exercise, to ease things up a bit. It’s important to switch off when you finish your work in the evenings. If you find that difficult, try drinking passionflower or valerian extract. Spend a few minutes clearing out your mind and just be with yourself before hitting the sack at night. Simply put, what happens at work, should stay at work!
Understanding how to rest your mind is equally important as understanding how to use it to the fullest, so take care of yourself and you will reap the dividends.