THE BLOG

Eight Easy Ways to Make Your Brain Smarter, Stronger and Faster

25/03/2014 12:24 GMT | Updated 25/05/2014 10:59 BST

You are the owner of one of the most powerful and fascinating machines on the planet - the HUMAN BRAIN. This incredible piece of equipment was designed for you to use to create an incredible life. Your brain is more complex and efficient than the world's most powerful computer.

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Your brain contains over 100 billion neurons that have connected and joined together to create over 1000 trillion synapses (neural connections). That's more stars than we have in our entire galaxy!

The most unfortunate thing about this incredible tool is that it did not come with a user's manual! Which is why some scientists have claimed that most people are only using a small fraction of their brain's total capacity. Or, at least, they are not using it effectively.

So let's look at some ways that you can take care of your brain and get the most out of this elite piece of machinery.

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First, let's feed the brain properly and give it the right fuel. The fact is that people who have elevated blood sugar from eating a low-fat, high-carb diet have twice the likelihood of a decline in cognitive behaviour and dementia.

"Your brain needs lots of different nutrients to develop and function properly. No matter how many brain exercises you do, you will not have a brain that functions if you don't feed it correctly."

Cyndi O'Meara, Nutrition Expert from Changing Habits

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Research is showing that we can increase our chances of maintaining a healthy brain into old age by adding some 'smart' foods into our diet. By upping our body's ability to increase its own production of antioxidants, our body can neutralise free radicals that are believed to accelerate the progression of cancers and age-related disease.

Top foods for boosting brain health:

1. Turmeric

Turmeric helps to activate genes that keep your brain clear of waste build-up that causes inflammation that weakens or destroys brain cells. Population studies have revealed a lower incidence of Alzheimer's in the Indian population where turmeric is much used. Have a teaspoon daily!

2. Coffee

Yes, really! Your cup of coffee in the morning (provided it's good quality and free of sweeteners and processed milk) can activate your Nrf2 pathways and decrease inflammation.

3. Wild Salmon

Salmon is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain function and anti-inflammatory properties. Opt for any oily fish and try to get this into your diet at least once a week.

4. Nuts & Seeds

This is a great source of Vitamin E and plant based omega 3, high levels of which correlate with less cognitive decline as you get older. Try snacking on walnuts, almonds, cashews, sesame or flax seeds, inca inchi, or add to salads and other dishes. Go for raw, activated or roasted unsalted nuts.

5. Fermented Foods

The link between the health of the GUT and the brain is well documented therefore it is important for the microbiomes to be well fed. Daily fermented foods are a great source of nutrition and bacteria to help keep your GUT at optimum. Enjoy snacks of kumbucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt (homemade), kefir, pickles or any cultural fermented foods.

Additional Tips to Increase Your Brain Power:

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6. Good Quality Sleep:

Your brain needs plenty of rest in order to get rid of and replace damaged cells. By getting good quality 8 hours of sleep per night, you are ensuring that your "cell-factory" is creating the best quality replacement parts as possible.

7. Daily Meditation:

Meditation is being popularized in the west as the new "ultra-success tool", as many believe that it helps to unleash the incredible power of your brain.

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By slowing down your brain waves to the alpha and theta state, meditation helps you to enter your more creative, right brain. This is where many thought-leaders and artists such as Sting and the late Steve Jobs claim they access their "inner genius".

8) Avoid:

Excess carbs

High sugar intake

Refined and manufactured oils, such as margarine and canola oil

Your brain is working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year, firing messages at 268 mph ... to manage your body, your mind, your thoughts, your behaviors and therefore, your whole life. Take care of your brain and it will take better care of you!

Written by Dr. Michelle Nielsen, Wellness and Meditation Expert and Cyndi O'Meara, Nutrition Expert.

All fotos used with permission and license from FOTOLIA.