The human brain is nothing short of a miracle. According to Paul Reber, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University, our brain consists of approximately one billion neurons and can hold 2.5 petabytes of information, or the equivalent of 3,000,000 hours of TV shows. In other words, you would have to leave the TV running for over 300 years to use up that storage. Although our brain has amazing capabilities, often times we seem to fall short of what our brain is truly capable of. I believe in every human being there is a potential for genius and in order to allow the brain to perform at peak levels we need to work it out, just like any other muscle, and provide the nutrients it needs to keep it in optimum condition.
The top 10 ways to supercharge your brain are:
Working memory games
Working memory games are extremely powerful for increasing memory and brainpower. The most researched and widely available working memory game on the web is the dual n-back program. This provides a sequence of stimuli that works both the auditory and visual memory in the brain simultaneously. In some cases, users have purported that they were able to increase their IQ by 2.75 points for every hour they spent using this program. You can purchase this software from a number of companies online or download some programs for free. I recommend spending at least 20 minutes a day for 20 days straight on the dual n-back program to see a tremendous increase in short term memory. You can also use various websites online that offer specific brain enhancement games.
Learn a new skill and shake things up a bit
Learning a new skill such as a musical instrument, foreign language, or even taking a different route to work will help your brain develop new neural networks and expand your brainpower. Anything that is new, challenging, and/or fun will work. The more you use your brain, the better you will be able to process and remember information.
Exercise is extremely important. When you exercise your body you are essentially exercising your brain by increasing oxygen to your brain and reducing the risk of disorders that lead to memory loss and cognitive decline.
Good quality, healthy relationships may be the best way to exercise our brains. Humans are social creatures. A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that those who have the most active social lives have the slowest rate of age related cognitive decline. So plan dinner, or even better yet, a hiking club with friends to make your brain happy and healthy.
A concentration of toxins in the body have been linked to memory problems, depression, difficulty concentrating, lack of coordination, lower intelligence, and more. Both toxins and heavy metals are found in our food, air, cleaning supplies, and water.
It is important to reduce exposure to toxins and to detoxify daily in order to prevent toxic overload in our bodies. Start by replacing all toxic cleaning supplies with organic and green versions, drinking purified water out of glass or stainless steel bottles only (to reduce exposure to BPA), buying organic produce, and including naturally detoxifying foods in your diet such as chlorella and chia seeds.
Nutrition and your brain
Nutrition is a very important way to enhance your brain and memory. Your brain requires the right fuel to perform at its peak. Make sure to stay away from foods that destroy your brain health. If you are eating processed food with neurotoxins (such as food colorings, artificial sweeteners, and added sugar) your mind and body will not perform at optimum levels.
Add the following to your diet daily to enhance your brainpower:
Raw organic cocoa nibs
Organic cocoa nibs are a powerful antioxidant that can serve as an antidepressant and have been shown to boost cognitive performance. Researchers at the University of L’Aquila in Italy recently published findings that reveal the consumption of high levels of cocoa in the elderly may help with mild cognitive impairment. Raw cocoa nibs contain compounds that increase circulation and the growth of blood vessels, which can help bring the brain more oxygen and improve cognitive function. Animal research has also demonstrated that a special compound found in raw cocoa known as (-)-epicatechin enhances memory and chocolate has even been touted as the “brain drug of the future.”
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s are amazing fats that absorb directly into your tissues and brain to keep them functioning at the best of their ability. They are considered the ultimate brain food. Those who consume a Western-style diet are generally extremely low in Omega-3s and very high in Omega-6s. Omega-6 fatty acids are usually found in vegetable oil, soy, and some nuts. Too much Omega-6 fatty acids and not enough Omega-3s in your diet will cause inflammation, which has been linked to a variety of diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. Start by increasing your Omega-3s as much as possible. These can be found in chia seeds, fish oil, and flaxseed oil.
When purchasing Omega-3 capsules, look for a company that inspects every batch through a third party to ensure that their supplements haven’t been contaminated with mercury or PCB. For vegans and vegetarians, I recommend chia seeds (ground up to increase the Omega-3 bio-availability). Chia seeds are nutritionally dense, have fiber, and do not have an estrogenic effect that is now being associated with flaxseed oil.
This is a powerful supplement that has been proven to help with memory problems, stress tolerance, and brain health. Acetyl-L-Carnitine is also one of the few amino acids that is able to cross the blood/brain barrier and acts as a powerful antioxidant. It is fat soluble and highly active in nerves, providing an energetic effect to your brain cells. This important nutrient also helps clean up any damaged fatty particle caused by excess alcohol. Damaged fatty particle produce free radicals that cause even more damage to the brain. ALC has been shown to stop the progression of inflammation and free radical damage and even reverse this problem.
Coconut oil and Medium chain triglyceride Oil
Coconut oil and MCT oil help power up your brain efficiency and also turn on your fat-burning mode. MCT oil is like jet fuel for the brain. In a groundbreaking study published by the Neurobiology of Aging, they discovered that cognitive function improved almost immediately in older adults with the administration of MCT oil. To increase your intake try replacing your normal cooking oil with coconut oil and MCT oil and add them into smoothies, hot tea, and even blend it in with your coffee.
Vinpocetine is an extract from the periwinkle plant and has been proven to have an extraordinary amount of cognitive and health benefits. Scientific studies are revealing that vinpocetine is a powerful memory enhancer and improves blood flow to the brain. The benefits of vinpocetine are vast- improving cognitive performance, hearing and visual function and even cardiovascular function. I recommend taking 10-30 milligrams a day for peak performance and focus.
Try out a few or all of these daily to work out and nourish your most important biological asset!
Sarah Owens is creator of the popular blog http://www.Successhack.org, everything that has to do with peak performance for health and the mind. She has been a lover and researcher of holistic nutrition, subconscious therapies, and health for over 7 years.
Sarah is the author of the popular E-book Peak Performance Nutrition, a book that you can now download for free on her site. She encourages everyone to use their own intuition to find what works for them for peak performance, health, and success.