Wednesday, May 29, 2024

How to Keep the Black Brain in Top Running Condition…

April 9, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Weekly Columns

( There are three primary determinants of success and happiness in life: How you spend your time; how you spend your money and how you use your brain.

In this week’s commentary, we will skip socio-political analysis and focus instead on some motivational advice for the brain.

In preparation for a book I am writing, I have been gathering information on how we can best protect and exercise our brains in order to guarantee top-notch thinking, motivation and problem solving at all times.

In what follows, we highlight the chief findings of that research for the optimum healthy brain.

    #1 – It is possible to remain a sharp, quick thinker well into old age. There is nothing inherent in the aging process itself that necessitates the lost of brilliance and excellent cognitive function. Much is determined by forming and sticking with good brain habits.

    #2 – You must constantly exercise the brain. Like any muscle, if you do not use it, you will lose it. It will begin to grow stale and weak. Exercise means you can never become satisfied with what you know. New knowledge and new ways of using it must be your goal from 9 to 90. Three of the best exercisers are learning a new language, doing challenging crossword puzzles and reading thought-provoking books.

    #3 – Eat brain healthy foods. This means fruits and vegetables should play a bigger role in your diet than fats and meats. Fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of the anti-aging antioxidants and micronutrients which keep our brains functioning well. Your fats should come primarily from Omega-3 fatty acids. This means plenty of fish, especially tuna and salmon. The fruit with the highest concentration of antioxidants are blueberries.

    Then add the curry found in Indian and West Indian foods along with green tea, bananas, monounsaturated fats, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, leafy green vegetables and lean protein meats.

    #4 – Stay in good physical shape. This means that word we all hate: exercise. Study after study has shown that physical fitness improves mental functioning. Even older people who merely take up a regular regime of walking become mentally sharper. The general rule is three days a week, one hour a day of aerobic (walking or running) and strength exercises will do the job.

    #5 – Learn how to combat stress. Stress is called the “silent killer” because it raises the levels of hormones that retard proper brain functioning. If you are religious, you attack stress with prayer. If you are not, you should employ meditation.

Also, remember that if you can change the stressful situation, you should work to change it. If the stressor is beyond your control, you cannot afford to continually worry about it. Finally, look for the good in people and situations and try to build on the good and not just focus on the negative. In other words, learn to appreciate more and more of life.

Finally, and this one comes from Russian scientists, never stop working. Even if you no longer have a formal job, adopt a hobby or part-time vocation which keeps your mind and body busy. Working at something you like keeps you young.

Written By Robert Taylor

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