“The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.” Michio Kaku
Have you been in a situation where your brain has had to deal with mental or information overload?
You may be a student of learning, new to a job and exposed to a variety of different information or taking on a new skill, new technology or a new project. Working for extended periods on a thinking task can affect mental acuity and performance, productivity, learning, memory and sleep.
For brain week, we look at natural ways to support our mind, boost brain power and minimise mental fatigue.
Nutrition is a key contributor to a healthy mind.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids, contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is beneficial for brain health. The brain is largely made up essential fats, so it stands to reason to ensure our diet is rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids to function effectively. Good sources of Omega 3 include fish, salmon, linseed (flaxseed) oil, soya bean oil, pumpkin seeds, walnut oil and avocado.
Wholegrains provide a source of energy for the brain in the form of glucose. Complex carbohydrate, are slow releasing glucose, which help the body feel fuller longer to provide a steady fuel source for the brain. Slow releasing carbohydrates include wholegrain breads and cereals, buckwheat, brown rice, legumes, fruit and vegetables.
Lean Protein – amino acids from proteins produce neurotransmitters involved in brain activity such as memory, as well as chemicals which facilitates effective communication between the brain and the body. Good sources of protein include fish, lean cuts of meat and eggs, pulses and legumes, tofu, soya milk, quinoa, raw nuts, nut butters, and seeds.
Leafy green vegetables are high in nutrients such as beta-carotene, folate, lutein, and vitamin K. Researchers acknowledge that these nutrients positively influent brain health, keeps mental abilities sharp, as well as help preserve brain function. Some leafy greens to include daily are spinach, kale, bok choy, silverbeet, rocket, parsley and broccoli.
Nuts – crack open a walnut and discover how much it resembles the human brain. Raw nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews and hazelnuts are linked to higher levels of serotonin, a hormone associated with metal focus. They are also good sources of Omega 3 which is known to boost brain function.
Blueberries – according to a study, antioxidant properties found in blueberries may protect the brain from oxidative damage and stress as well as increase neuronal signalling in the brain for memory, learning and cognitive function. (Krikorian 2011)
Rosemary – known in ancient Greeks for its properties to strengthen memory. Recent studies on the Rosmarinus officianalis herb and essential oils have shown to improve cognition and memory. (Moss 2003, Pengelly 2012)
Ginkgo biloba has been used in traditional herbal and Chinese medicine to assist with circulation, particularly to the brain. Hence, it is beneficial for poor memory and in improving concentration.
Gotu kola (Centella asciatica) is seen in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicine as a mental tonic to assist mental function, memory as well as support the adrenal system at times of stress, in particularly where there is mental fatigue.
Brahmi (Bocopa monnieri) is an Ayurvedic herb, known for its neuro-protective properties. It has been traditionally used for boosting memory, restore cognition and improve mental function. (Shinomol 2011)