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Feeding the Brain — Part 3 of 3

Disclaimer

2014-0525 Brain FoodThe inspiration for this post is an article titled, “5o Things You Can Do to Improve Your Brain’s Health” which was posted on the Examined Existence website. Text under the heading, “Article” is an excerpt of the article. I am not planning to share all 50 tips in this post or in the cumulative series of posts titled Feeding the Brain, but I will share a link to the full article in the final (3rd) post of this series. I chose to share the article because food and beverage are important to all people.

I am not a nutritionist or medical professional. Check with your physician prior to changing the foods you eat or the beverages you drink. The foods and beverages mentioned in the article, and subsequently in this post, are not suitable for all people.

Article

12. Drink milk

A glass of milk daily can help you boost your memory and thinking skills. A research article published in the International Dairy Journal reveals that adults who drank milk at least five or six times a week displayed better memory than those who rarely drank them.

13. Eat less

A new study has proven that cutting back your caloric intake doesn’t just help you lose weight; it also lowers your risk to developing neurodegenerative diseases. In fact, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), spearheaded by Johannes Graff, experimented their theory on mice that have been purposely engineered to undergo rapid neurodegeneration. They restricted the caloric intake of a certain group of mice by up to 30 percent and fed the rest with the normal amount of food.

Three months thereon, the mice were tested to see if the experiment had any effects on their memory and learning skills. The mice that were given a normal diet were observed to have significant decline in both cognitive areas, whereas those whose caloric intake was restricted showed none. Moreover, there is this evidence that supports that caloric restriction activates an enzyme known as the Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), which studies suggest that it shields the brain from age-associated illnesses.

14. Spice up your food

According to Albarracin et. al., certain spices help preserve memory and cognitive function. Spices contain polyphenols that have antioxidant properties that protect the nervous system. In addition, these substances have been thought to prevent various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Cinnamon, sage, cumin, and cilantro are powerful memory boosters that can be readily sprinkled into foods.

15. Drink plenty of water

Like the rest of your body, your brain just can’t function without water. Not only does water increase oxygen levels, it keeps the brain cells hydrated. Fluid balance is also needed for the brain to effectively transmit impulses, secrete hormones and produce neurotransmitters. According to Dr. Corinne Allen, founder of the Advanced Learning and Development Institute, the brain cells need twice the energy than any other cell of the body and water provides this energy more effectively than any other substance.

16. Avoid alcohol and drugs

Though this is quite self-explanatory, many people still neglect the impact of drug and alcohol abuse on their brain. A little bit of alcohol has been shown to be good for us but habitual drug and alcohol use can potentially disrupt brain function in areas that are most crucial to retention, cognition, judgment, and behavior control.

Shadow of Doubt

Keep in mind the list of food and beverages is not customized for your specific needs. Some people may have negative reactions to the food or beverages listed in the Article. For example, some of the listed food and beverages may interact negatively with medicine or supplements you are taking, and some of the items may negatively impact your heart, liver, cholesterol, blood sugar, or other body parts. Furthermore, some of the items listed are known to cause allergic reactions in some people. There may also be a significant difference between the quality and healthfulness of products within a category of food or beverage. The article is also missing any mention of an “ideal” portion size.

Credits

Click here to read another Beyond Injury post about brain health.

Click here to read the complete article titled, “50 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Brain’s Health.”

Thanks to Trina Tbi Chambers-Bradlee who shared the article with me; Examined Existence for publishing the article upon which this post is based; Google for helping me find the picture I used; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture and text I used in this post.

 

Scott
Even after brain surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments to eradicate his brain cancer, Scott continued to work; continued to study; and earned professional certifications from the Project Management Institute, American Society of Quality, and Stanford University School of Professional Development. How were all of these achievements possible at a time when Scott was struggling with the hurdles of brain injury? The answers are in this blog.

2 Responses to “Feeding the Brain — Part 3 of 3”

  • Nancy McIntyre says:

    Do you happen to know any N-back exercise activities. I read the rest of the article but none were mentioned. I guess I could goole it.

    • Scott says:

      For those who are not familiar with the term “N-back,” it pertains to a test of working memory. The N-back test is slightly outside my are of expertise, but I am happy to share what I know.

      Most importantly, it is extremely difficult to remember something you do not perceive. Perception is different for each of us. The various senses help us perceive. Most people perceive through seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and/or touching. However, some people believe that temperature, pain, equilibrium, and/or sense also play a role in perception. In other words, there are theoretically at least nine senses we use to perceive rather than the commonly accepted five senses. A challenge you have in any of the senses may affect your perception, which may in turn, affect your working memory.

      The second most important part of improving working memory is practice. Like everything else that requires work, repetition is extremely beneficial. When you repeat the task often, your brain remembers how to do something. My guess is, that with or without your knowing, repetition also helps your brain realize how to perform a task more efficiently.

      In answer to your specific question about activities that will improve your memory, I like the following activities. However, you should check with your doctor, therapist, or advisor prior to changing your diet, exercise, or activities to make sure the ideas are suitable for you. If your brain is starved for the nutrition or water it needs, change your diet. If you are not exercising for at least a few minutes seven days per week for the rest of your life, evaluate your priorities. You could do any of the following activities more often: read, talk, listen, share, and interact. You could play games, such as concentration with cards, dice, or pictures. You could invent a game. You could solve puzzles. I have mentioned some of them on this blog. There are millions of activities you could do to improve working memory, but the real question is what will you do?


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**** About The Author ****

During the past 13 years, I have been diagnosed with cancer, brain injury, balance issues, stroke, ataxia, visual impairment, and auditory challenges. I have overcome significant adversity! I can explain how to overcome your challenges. I am a very active Toastmaster and a motivational speaker.