Habits that increase your productivity, foods that make you smarter, menus that improve your memory, exercises to achieve clear thinking and avoid the diseases of old age are all components of a program to increase brain activity.
Is your food speeding up or slowing down your brain?
Do you know how your morning cereal affects the outcome of difficult negotiations with a client, even if 3-4 hours have passed since breakfast? If you know how to select the right food for the brain, you are successful and happy. This fact is confirmed by the results of studies and my practice in the clinic.
Mark Twain recommended to a not-so-successful aspiring writer that he eat fish to boost his brain power. And with his usual sarcasm, he added: “And you, young man, will not hurt to gobble up two whales.”
So, to which food substances is our brain particularly sensitive? What, when, and for what tasks do you need to eat so that your brain can work to its’ fullest?
A Short Brain Assessment Questionnaire
Right now, write down the answers to the questions of this short questionnaire for yourself. This will be your baseline.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is the minimum and 10 is the maximum) rate the following:
- Energy and activity level. Average during the day.
- Concentration level. Average during the day.
- Mood Stability: 10 means absolutely stable mood, no fluctuations. 1 – mood changes every 30-60 minutes.
- How satisfied are you with your memory? And compared to what it was 5 years ago?
- Sleep quality and number of hours of sleep.
- Unpleasant sensations in the head – heaviness, pain, fog.
Every month, check yourself again on this scale and evaluate the result. Some changes you will feel almost immediately. Other changes will take more time. But in any case, you will improve your health and brain function.
Avoid These Products
Skip the products on this list as they definitely harm your brain.
- Carbonated sweet drinks and juices
- Artificial sweeteners
- Products containing preservatives
- Trans fats (margarine and all foods that may contain it)
- Fried food
The improvements will begin the moment you get rid of all the junk in your diet.
Let me tell you a terrible secret: the whole science of nutrition comes down to a few of the most important basic principles.
- Use quality whole foods and, whenever possible, organic foods.
- Eat plenty of cooked vegetables of all colors, types, and textures. They should make up at least 50-60% of your plate at every meal.
- Make sure that the vegetable oil is only cold-pressed for salads and for cooking, use more processed types of oil as they can be used at higher temperatures, and use sea salt if possible.
- Drink enough clean water.
- Provide your body with fiber – vegetables, fruits, whole grains, or supplements.
- Monitor your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar level largely determines the stability of mood, focus, energy level, and prevention of age-related disorders in the brain.
- Try not to eat at least 3 hours before bed.
Nutrition and food for the mind – what to feed the brain every day
When compiling the meals for the day, plan them so that they contain at least 1 product from each group at least once a day.
- Sources of omega 3 – chia seeds, flaxseed oil, pine nuts, sea fish.
- Healthy fats – nuts, avocados, cold-pressed vegetable oils.
- Berries – blueberries, strawberries, blackberries.
- Green leafy vegetables – watercress, spinach, bok choy, kale.
- Seaweed – kelp, arame, wakame. It could be just a sprinkle
Habits that Make You Smarter
- Healthy sleep ( 7-8 hours a day). Understanding that you are getting enough sleep is very simple. This is exactly the case if, after waking up, you are full of strength, energy, and enthusiasm. Moreover, this feeling persists (perhaps with minor changes) at least until the afternoon.
- Providing the body with essential nutrients. There are only 40 essential components that we must obtain from food (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and 2 fatty acids). Our body does not know how to produce them and must receive from the outside, with food or in the form of food supplements. The lack of even one of these components can adversely affect the health and functioning of the brain.
- The habit of listening to good music. In 1993, psychologist and cellist Frances Rauscher conducted a study of 36 students. As a result, she found that listening to Mozart’s music for 10 minutes increases IQ by 8-9 points. This effect persists for 15 minutes. And although her conclusion was later challenged, it turned out that you still need to listen to music longer, and even better, learn to play a musical instrument for brain development. If you are working, studying or reading a book, it makes sense to listen to classical music. And if possible, learn to play an instrument.
- Playing sports today is a must do for every successful person. The brain will also benefit. Especially if you choose exercises that give you pleasure and develop coordination.
- Intuitive/Journal Writing. This will not only improve your memory and help you make difficult decisions, but also develop your creativity. Just take the time and within 5-30 minutes write the answer to a pre-set question without lifting the pen from the paper. Questions can be very different. From “What is the most important thing in life for me?” and “Where do I want to see myself in 3 years?” to “How to plan a menu?”, “Why do I want to lose weight?”, “What do I like to do most and why?”
Scientists’ Advice for Activating the Brain
Choose for yourself 2-3 tips you like the most, practice, and evaluate the result.
- Try brushing your teeth with your left hand if you’re right-handed, and vice versa.
- Read aloud for at least 15 minutes a day.
- Learn to “feel” the time – set a timer for a minute and check yourself how accurately you will understand that the minute has expired.
- When taking on a task, try to predict how long it will take. Then compare the real-time with the forecast. How accurate were you?
- Take a shower with your eyes closed. Tactile sensations activate other areas of the brain.
- Change places at the table. Do not sit at work, in the classroom, and at home in the same place. Change the angle of perception.
- Do something new every day.
And just enjoy life!