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Brain is basically a biological computer – even more complicated than any computer we can imagine. It is involved in absolutely everything that you do - all you feel and think, how you act and every nuance of how you get along with other people.
It’s both the supercomputer that runs your complex life and the tender organ that houses your soul. So it is very important to focus on keeping your brain in shape.

There are one hundred billion nerve cells in your brain, and every nerve cell has many connections to other nerve cells. But no matter how powerful and dense our brains are, they need recuperation time, to be kept in shape, and even an occasional charge. Optimizing function of the brain is essential to being the best in every sphere of life. By regularly engaging in the right activities, you can increase your memory, improve your problem-solving skills and boost your creativity.

15 ways to improve brain function

Exercise and games

Physical exercise can wind up with better brains. More than 20% of the body’s blood and oxygen go directly to the brain. Exercise, particularly cardio training, effectively increases the flow to the brain, keeping it a well-oiled machine. Many of the Yoga poses, like Downward Facing Dog, are specifically engineered to get blood to your brain faster, by positioning the head below the heart.

Exercise triggers the release of chemicals called growth factors that make the brain's neurons stronger and healthier. Stretching can also help reduce stress, which can impact the memory centers of your brain. Just as physical exercise is essential for a strong body, mental exercise is equally essential for a sharp and responsive mind. It is wise to engage in some of the activities that require your mind to remain active and playful:
  • Play scrabble or crossword puzzle - playing word games and puzzles can increase and even restore mental cognitive abilities. It is good for your spirit and good for your brain. It gives your brain a chance to think strategically, and keeps it working. Probably the best brain games are those with strategic goals like Chess, Risk, and Stratego, as the objectives are in a constant flux, and require more activity from the brain. 
  • Volunteer 
  • Interact with others 
  • Start a new hobby such as blogging, reading, painting, bird watching 
  • Learn new skill or a foreign language.

Hydrate

Staying hydrated is absolutely crucial for optimum brain function and optimum health. It is vital for slowing aging. Brain is the highest maintenance organ in the body and the one which controls all of your physiological functions; it gets the most devastated by dehydration. In fact, the number one cause of memory loss, at any age, is dehydration. Whenever you have a "senior moment", that is your brain telling you that your water stores are low-you need to immediately chug a glass of pure water.

Drinking water also keeps your mind alert and refreshed. The caffeine in coffee and soda may temporarily make you feel more alert, but in the long run will make you even more tired by dehydrating your muscles and constricting your blood vessels. And in large quantities, caffeine can send you running for the bathroom in quick succession, as it stimulates the spastic contractions of the intestine.

Happy thoughts

If you’re tense, distraught, or feel dejected, you’re much less likely to retain information or stay alert. Try to eliminate stressful influences from your life and workplace. Practice relaxation techniques, take a hot bath, or get a massage. Get out an old photo album or high school yearbook. Spend time with your memories. Let your mind reflect on them and your mind will repay you in positive emotions and new connections from the memories to help you with your current tasks and challenges.

Have sex for your brain

Regular sexual contact has an important impact on physical and emotional well being of women. It is one of the keys to the brain’s fountain of youth. It is an excellent form of exercise that increases more blood flow to the brain, enhancing cognitive capabilities. Having sex also produces hormones that dramatically improve brain functioning. Oxytocin, produced during sex, increases the ability to think of original solutions to a problem while serotonin and dopamine, which surge after sex, help a person's creative thinking and calm, logical decision-making. It is a great way of treating insomnia. Interestingly, sex is also an excellent cure for those headaches.

Sexual contact with a partner at least once a week led to more fertile, regular menstrual cycles, shorter menses, delayed menopause, increased estrogen levels, and delayed aging. Brain imaging studies at UCLA have shown that decreased estrogen levels are associated with overall decreased brain activity and poor memory. Enhancing estrogen levels for women through regular sexual activity enhances overall brain activity and improves memory.

Sleep

Sleep is crucial to proper and efficient brain functioning. Research indicates that the long-term memory is consolidated during sleep by replaying the images of the experiences of the day. These repeated playbacks program the subconscious mind to store these images and other related information. Poor sleep, caused by medical conditions, worry, depression, or insomnia, can interfere with your rest.

If it takes you a long time to fall asleep, you can try easing into sleep by reading a book. If you wake up tired, it might not be because you didn’t get enough sleep. It could be because your brain is starved from fasting while you slept. Try eating a low sugar, 100 calorie snack before bed. This may prevent that tired-head in the morning. If, despite your best efforts, you don’t get enough sleep, then it can be helpful considering a nap. Naps are a perfectly natural way to buck up your brain. A series of short naps (20-30 minutes) throughout the day won’t repair hours of sleep debt, but it will stave off the exhaustion that leaves your brain utterly useless and you without a job.

Surf internet

Surfing internet can keep the brain engaged and can preserve brain health and thinking ability. A recent study at the University of California Los Angeles found that searching the web stimulated centers in the brain that controlled decision-making and complex reasoning.
 
A simple task like searching the web appears to enhance brain circuitry. Brain scans showed that much more of the brain was activated by internet use than by simply reading a book.  Once you start reading, there aren't really many decisions that you make. But the internet offers constant decisions and choices. Also, there are all sorts of lovely online brain teasers and games on the web, which make your brain more active.

Eat right foods

Proteins in the diet affect brain performance because they provide the amino acids, tryptophan and tyrosine, from which neurotransmitters are made. Brain also needs foods rich in crucial vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A, to protect brain cell membranes; B Vitamins, essential for neuronal growth and vitality; Vitamin C, so vital for brain function that its levels in the brain are fifteen times higher than anywhere outside the brain; Vitamin E, to prevent and actually reverse brain deterioration; magnesium, to maintain the metabolic viability of neurons; zinc, rids the brain of impurities such as lead to improve cognitive function; and amino acids, necessary to the growth and health of neurotransmitters.
Be a fish head

A diet of junk food can junk up your brain, such as trans fats and saturated fats, common in heavily processed foods, can negatively affect the brain's synapses. Synapses connect the brains neurons and are important to learning and memory. On the other hand, a balanced diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids — found in salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds and kiwi fruit — can give the synapses a boost and help fight against mental disorders from depression to dementia. These fatty acids keep the dopamine levels in the brain high, increase neuronal growth in the frontal cortex of the brain, and increase cerebral circulation.

Walnut oil cuts brain inflammation, which is a precursor to many cognitive problems. It also keeps oxygen-rich blood flowing to your brain by thinning the blood slightly.

Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng

Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng are the most important brain boosting herbs. They act by enhancing cerebral circulation, which freakishly boosts cognitive abilities. Ginseng, regarded as the ‘Cadillac’ of Asian herbs, has astonishing neurological effects. It helps the brain adapt to stress agents by heightening the productivity of the adrenal glands. The result is a balanced stimulant, which achieves brain arousal and alertness without the nervous, jittery, guy-from-Shine response of most stimulants.

Learn something new

Learning a new skill works multiple areas of the brain. Your memory comes into play, you learn new movements and you associate things differently. Learning a foreign language, a new handcraft or recipe, or challenging yourself with an unfamiliar subject all increase brain growth, stimulating parts of the brain that may have been stagnant and untapped till now. Also, there is a strong correlation between working vocabulary and intelligence. When we have new words in our vocabulary, our minds can think in new ways with greater nuances between ideas. Put your mind to work learning. It is one of the best ways to re-energize your brain.

Laugh

Laughter is good for your health; it releases endorphins and other positively powerful chemicals into your system. It improves brain function as it stimulates both sides of the brain at the same time, which enhances learning.  Laughing also helps us reduce stress and break old patterns too. So laughter can be like a “quick-charge” for our brain’s batteries. So, make sure you have a really good belly laugh each day.

The “Mozart Effect”

A decade ago, Frances Rauscher and her colleagues made a discovery that listening to Mozart improved people’s intellectual capacity - their mathematical and spatial reasoning. It improves cognitive functions, leading to increased performance and efficiency at work. Music boosts brain power simply because it makes listeners feel better - relaxed and stimulated at the same time - and that a comparable stimulus might do just as well. In fact, one study found that listening to a story gave a similar performance boost. 

Make simple changes and improve your skill at things you already do

To really help your brain stay young, challenge it. Change routes to the grocery store, use your opposite hand to open doors and eat dessert first. All this will force your brain to wake up from habits and pay attention again.

Some repetitive mental stimulation is alright as long as you try to expand your skills and knowledge base. Common activities such as gardening, sewing, playing bridge, reading, painting, and doing crossword puzzles have value, but push yourself to do different gardening techniques, more complex sewing patterns, play bridge against more talented players to increase your skill, read new authors on varied subjects, learn a new painting technique, and work harder crossword puzzles. Pushing your brain to new heights help to keep it healthy.

Aromatherapy to activate brain

Aromatherapy is becoming increasingly cited as an exciting, viable and "risk-free" way to boost one's mental performance and overall well-being. It can be enormously effective, as smell is the strongest of the senses. Lemon, peppermint, and cypress are several scents known to stimulate the brain. Or eating a peppermint candy will activate both scent and taste. A few drops of essential oils in your bath or in a diffuser will do the trick. You can also put a drop or two in a cotton ball or handkerchief and inhale.

These are some simple ways to boost your brain power and to help attain your quest for mental fitness. You can begin trying the above explained things as soon as today to begin the great brain tune up!

  • www.brainz.org/brain-hacks/
  • ririanproject.com/2006/11/03/22-ways-to-overclok-your-brain/