Brain Training – Five tips for optimizing your brain function
In this guest post, our Nutrition Expert Elisa Haggarty shares her tips for improving brain function, from brain-fueling foods to small daily changes that’ll keep your cerebrum sharp and strong.
Same-same = brain drain
Routine lulls the brain to sleep, but new activity turns neurons into networks. The concept of neuroplasticity is that engaging in new and challenging activities stimulates the brain to form new synapses and strengthens connectivity throughout the nervous system. While it’s true that we do lose brain cells with age, by continually learning and exercising our brains we can grow new ones and keep our minds healthy. Top tip: Try your hand at a new craft like drawing, learn a language or simply attempt a different walking route.
Good fat is fuel
Our cells are very responsive to our diet and eating good fats is one of the best ways to optimize cell performance. A lack of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids can cause inflammation in the body and the brain, and block chemical signals required for normal healthy cellular growth and function. Top tip: Incorporate more omega 3 fatty acid food sources into your diet – think cold water fish, sardines, anchovies, and pastured eggs.
Disconnect to reconnect
In an age when we are constantly wired to devices and overloading our brains with information, taking the occasional digital detox has never been more vital. Excessive screen time has been shown to affect sleep cycles, inhibiting the brain from effectively recharging, and some research has also indicated that continuously checking devices makes us more forgetful and less able to focus.Top tip: Our brains thrive off tactile hobbies, so for an afternoon, ditch the phone in favor of painting or playing music. Avoiding all screens for an hour before bed is another good daily habit to develop.
New studies have shown that vigorous activity like a good old-fashioned run can stimulate the creation of new brain cells. Watch this TED Talk where Sardine Thuret presents astounding evidence on how physical exercise impacts neurogenesis (AKA brain cell formation), elevates mood and combats age-related memory loss. Top tip: Lace up your sneakers and get out there!
Berries in general, and particularly blueberries, are rich in flavonoids and antioxidants that assist brain function and increase blood and oxygen supply to the brain by activating certain enzymes in our body. Top tip: Add a handful of frozen blueberries to your morning shake for a daily antioxidant boost. Learn more about Elisa and how her nutritional expertise helps shape Chōsen’s well-being philosophy.