It may be surprising or may sound funny but researchers found that a game of Tetris is one way of improving brain power.
This might come as a bit of a surprise, but playing Tetris is known to have several positive effects on our brain. Playing Tetris will increase gray matter for a short amount of time, and it can also help with performing spatially-related tasks.
The most interesting part is that playing Tetris after a traumatic experience can prevent our brain from solidifying those memories. That means fewer flashbacks to negative memories over the long haul.
If we have a smartphone or tablet with us at all times, then incorporating a little bit of Tetris into our day should prove to be pretty straightforward. Just don’t get carried away and forget to work, too!
We are all at risk for brain degeneration. Statistics show that if we live to age 85 or older, there is a risk for Alzheimer’s, for example, is 50%. So clearly it makes sense to do everything we possibly can to nurture a healthy brain.
Our food choices may be the most influential variable we can control that relates to the health, vitality, and functionality of our precious brain. These include:
- Olive oil – Rich in polyphenols, which are powerful brain protective antioxidants.
- Coconut oil – Enhances the ability of the brain’s neurons to use energy while at the same time reducing the production of damaging free radicals. Saturated fat — a vital nutrient for the integrity and function of brain cell membranes.
- Wild salmon – A terrific natural source of the omega-3 oil DHA. DHA plays a pivotal role in maintaining the health of brain cells and actually helps to stimulate the growth of brain cells in the brain’s memory center.
- Blueberries – Power-packed with brain-protective antioxidants. Blueberries also help reduce inflammation, a cornerstone of virtually all brain degenerative disorders.
- Turmeric – Acts to turn on the parts of our DNA that help reduce inflammation. The important role of turmeric in brain health has been described in the Vedic texts dating back more than 3,000 years.
- Eggs – Rich in choline, the precursor chemical for acetylcholine, one of the most fundamental neurotransmitters. In addition, eggs contain cholesterol, an important component of brain cell membranes as well as serving as a brain-protective antioxidant.
- Dandelion greens<>/u> – Rich in prebiotic fiber, the specific type of fiber that helps nurture the growth of brain supportive gut bacteria.
- Walnuts – Rich in a variety of nutrients to support brain health including vitamin E, omega-3 fats, copper, manganese and fiber for brain supportive gut bacteria.
- Exercise – Call it a “food for the soul” if you wish. Aerobic exercise turns on the genes that make BDNF (a growth and protective hormone) that targets brain cells.
- Asparagus – Rich in probiotic fiber to support brain-healthy gut bacteria. Asparagus is high in anti-inflammatory nutrients and folate.
- Kimchi – A traditional Korean fermented dish that’s loaded with healthful probiotic bacteria, which promotes brain health.
- Jicama – One of the best sources of prebiotic fiber. Jicama, also known as Mexican yam, is high in vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin E.
- Kale – A great low-carb vegetable that’s rich in vitamins C, K, and A, as well as potassium and iron.
- Broccoli – High in sulfurophane, a chemical that aids in detoxification, reduction of inflammation, and control of damaging free radicals.
- Avocado – High in monounsaturated fats to protect brain cells. Avocado oil has been shown to help maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
- Red wine – Rich in polyphenols that may actually boost brain blood flow.
- Dark chocolate – Like red wine, also rich in polyphenols.
- Spinach – Rich in brain-protective antioxidants along with vitamin K, folate, and lutein.
- Almonds – Like fatty fish, almonds have high levels of brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and lots of brain-protecting vitamin E.
- Pumpkin seeds – A rich source of zinc, a mineral that plays an important role in memory and overall brain function.
OTHER WAYS TO SUPPORT BRAIN HEALTH
- Exercise – The trick might be to think of it in reverse: we can’t afford not to exercise if we want to live a long, healthy, productive life. Exercise not only benefits our brain health and cognition, it can also improve our memory. In the long run, it can even protect our brain against degeneration. If that isn’t reason enough to get into a regular workout routine, who knows what is?
- Drink coffee – Many people start their days with a cup of coffee, and it turns out this ritual could actually benefit our cognitive functions in the short term. Caffeine, of course, helps to keep us alert. However, it can also help us to stay focused on repetitive and tedious tasks, and will even boost our intelligence, including our reaction time and reasoning. Obviously, the effects of coffee are not permanent. However, it can make our brain work more efficiently until that caffeine high wears off.
- Get some sunlight – Sunlight and exercise can sometimes go hand in hand. This mostly depends on what part of the world we live in, how much sunlight is available at different times of the year and how realistic it is for us to spend time in the outdoors.
Getting too little sunlight is not good for our brain. Higher levels of vitamin D in our system allow us to perform better, and can even slow down the aging of our brain. Too much sunlight can be bad for our skin, but if we aren’t getting enough, our brain functions may suffer.
- Build strong connections – It has often been said that the entrepreneurial journey is a lonely one. As it turns out, that may not be good for our cognitive functions. If we often feel lonely, it can actually result in psychological and cognitive decline, as these feelings can have a negative impact on our sleep, increase our blood pressure, contribute to depression and even lower our overall well-being.
- Meditate – Meditation is a trending topic among many entrepreneurs right now, and its benefits are hard to argue with. Not only does meditation reduce our stress levels, it can also prevent age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. This speaks to the importance of self-care. Taking a mere 10 to 15 minutes out of your day to practice meditation could extend your cognitive longevity and allow you to reduce your overall stress levels too.
- Sleep well – Sleep is required to consolidate memory and learning. If we don’t get enough sleep, our gray-matter volume in our frontal lobe may begin to decrease. Our frontal lobe supports and controls our working memory as well as executive function, making it particularly important.
In short, if we don’t get enough sleep, we’ll have less brain in our head.
- Eat well – It shouldn’t come as a surprise that nutrition plays a significant part in our brain health. We have to focus on getting the right kind of nutrition. Antioxidants and amino acids are particularly important, and vitamin E can also be beneficial. Drinking wine is known to improve our cognitive function — assuming we consume it in moderation — and nuts, blueberries, whole grains, and avocados are also beneficial. What’s good for our body also tends to be good for our brain.
- Play Tetris – please refer to an earlier discussion on how playing the game positively helps our brain.
FOCUS AND MEMORY-ENHANCING FOODS
- AVOCADOS – This fruit is one of the healthiest ones you can consume and one of my all-time favorites. While avocados often get a bad rep because of their high fat content, it’s important to note that these green powerhouses are packed with monosaturated fats or the “good” kind, keeping blood sugar levels steady and your skin glowing.
- BEETS -They reduce inflammation, are high in cancer-protecting antioxidants and help rid your blood of toxins. The natural nitrates in beets actually boost blood flow to the brain, helping with mental performance. Plus, during tough workouts, beets actually help boost energy and performance levels.
- BLUEBERRIES – For starters, it’s one of the highest antioxidant-rich foods known to man, including vitamin C and vitamin K and fiber. Because of their high levels of gallic acid, blueberries are especially good at protecting our brains from degeneration and stress.
- BONE BROTH – Bone broth is the ultimate food for healing our gut and, in turn, healing your brain. This ancient food is full of health benefits, ranging from boosting the immune system, overcoming leaky gut, improving joint health and overcoming food allergies. Its high levels of collagen helps reduce intestinal inflammation, and healing amino acids like proline and glycine keep our immune system functioning properly and help improve memory.
- BROCCOLI – Thanks to its high levels of vitamin K and choline, it will help keep our memory sharp. It’s also loaded with vitamin C — in fact, just one cup provides us with 150 percent of the recommended daily intake. Its high-fiber levels mean that we’ll feel full quickly, too.
- CELERY – For a vegetable with such few calories (just 16 per cup!), celery sure does offer a lot of benefits. Its high levels of antioxidants and polysaccharides act as natural anti-inflammatories and can help alleviate symptoms related to inflammation, like joint pain andirritable bowel syndrome. Because it’s so nutrient-dense — packing loads of vitamins, minerals and nutrients with very little calories — it’s a great snack option if you’re looking to shed pounds. And while we often eat celery stalks, don’t skip the seeds and leaves; both provide extra health benefits and taste great in things like stir fries and soups.
- COCONUT OIL – Coconut oil is one of the most versatile — and good for us — foods out there. With 77 coconut oil uses and cures, there’s almost nothing that coconut oil can’t help. And when it comes to our brain, it’s full of benefits, too. Coconut oil works as a natural anti-inflammatory, suppressing cells responsible for inflammation. It can help with memory loss as we age and destroy bad bacteria that hangs out in our gut.
- DARK CHOCOLATE – Not all chocolates are created equal; in fact, dark chocolate can actually be good for us! Chocolate is chockfull of flavonols, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They can also help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to both the brain and heart. Most of the chocolate we see on supermarket shelves is highly processed with few benefits. The rule of thumb is the darker the chocolate, the more health benefits.
- EGG YOLKS – Yolks contain large amounts of choline, which helps in fetal brain development for pregnant women. It also breaks down bethane, a chemical that produces hormones related to happiness. That’s right, eggs can make us happy! f we’ve kept away from eating eggs whole because of cholesterol concerns, there’s good news. Studies show that eating eggs had no effect on the cholesterol levels of healthy adults and might, in fact, help raise good cholesterol levels. It’s also one of the most inexpensive sources of protein out there.
- EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL – Real extra virgin olive oil is truly a brain food. Thanks to the powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols that are found in the oil, including EVOO in our diet may not only improve learning and memory, but also reverse the age- and disease-related changes. The oil also helps fight against ADDLs, proteins that are toxic to the brain and induce Alzheimer’s. As great as extra virgin olive oil is, remember that it’s not a good option for cooking, as it hydrogenizes and begins decomposing at high temperatures. The best way to get your fill is by eating it cold or at room temperature.
- GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES – It turns out that Popeye was onto something with his spinach obsession. Getting regular helpings of leafy green brain foods — like kale, Swiss chard and romaine lettuce — can help keep dementia at bay according to new research. When it comes to brain power, greens should be on our plate (and cover a lot of that plate) every meal. “Leafy greens are a great base. Green, leafy vegetables are also loaded with vitamins A and K (just one cup of kale has more than 684 percent of your recommended daily serving!), which help fight inflammation and keep bones strong.
- ROSEMARY – We already knew that rosemary oil has a variety of benefits, but did you know that the herb does, too? Carnosic acid, one of the main ingredients in rosemary, helps protect the brain from neurodegeneration. It does this by protecting the brain against chemical free radicals, which are linked to neurodegeneration, Alzheimer’s, strokes and normal aging in the brain. It also helps protect eyesight from deteriorating.
- SALMON – If you like seafood, get excited, because salmon is one of the most nutritious, brain food-friendly foods out there! It’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids to help keep our brain running smoothly — goodbye, brain fog — and improve memory. If you have kids, feeding them salmon can help prevent ADHD by improving their focus. And these same fatty acids can also help prevent cancer and kill tumors — not bad for a four-ounce serving of fish!
- TURMERIC – Isn’t it great when a simple spice has amazing health benefits? That’s the case with turmeric, an ancient root that’s been used for its healing properties throughout history. Thanks to curcumin, a chemical compound found in turmeric, the spice is actually one of the most powerful (and natural) anti-inflammatory agents. Turmeric also helps boost antioxidant levels and keep our immune system healthy, while also improving our brain’s oxygen intake, keeping US alert and able to process information.
- WALNUTS – It turns out that eating walnuts can keep us from going nuts. Just munching on a few walnuts a day can improve your cognitive health. Their high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals also improve mental alertness. The vitamin E in the nuts can also help ward off Alzheimer’s.
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