- 8 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power Naturally | UPMC Pinnacle
- 1. Get a Fast Start with Breakfast
- 2. Exercise Your Muscles and Strengthen Your Brain
- 3. Teach That Old Dog Some New Tricks
- 4. You May Not Lose If You Snooze
- 1. Be Smart – Eat Fish
- 2. Nuts and Chocolate
- 3. Get the Blood Flowing with Whole Grains and Fruits
- 4. Blueberries Are Brain-Berries
- What About Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements?
- Get Smart – See Your Doctor Regularly
- 8 Ways to Improve Your Brain Power
- 1. Exercise
- 2. Drink coffee
- 3. Get some sunlight
- 4. Build strong connections
- 5. Meditate
- 6. Sleep well
- 7. Eat well
- 8. Play Tetris
- Final thoughts
- 7 Ways to Boost Brain Power While Studying
- 1. Fit in some exercise a few times a week
- 2. Get creative
- 3. Stock up on your vitamins and micronutrients
- 4. Socialize
- 5. Allow yourself to power nap
- 6. Break your daily routine
- 7. Try something new
8 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power Naturally | UPMC Pinnacle
We all want to sharpen our focus, enhance our memory and improve our concentration. Yet if you believe what you read online, you’d think you need special foods, dietary supplements, online games, and various apps to do it. It’s enough to make one’s brain hurt.
But don’t believe the hype. You don’t need special vitamins or flashcards or tinfoil headgear to maximize your brain’s performance. These four simple, everyday tips and four common foods will help you increase your brain and memory power naturally.
1. Get a Fast Start with Breakfast
Don’t try to take a shortcut in the morning by skipping breakfast. Studies have linked breakfast to improved short-term memory and attention. Students who eat breakfast perform better than those who don’t. So start the morning with a healthy breakfast. But don’t eat too much. A high-calorie breakfast may hinder concentration.
2. Exercise Your Muscles and Strengthen Your Brain
Exercise gets the blood flowing. That helps your brain get the oxygen and nutrients it needs for top performance.
Some research found that people who rode a stationary bike or walked on a treadmill for 30-60 minutes, three times a week, had improved blood flow to the area of the brain that deals with memory retention. After 12 weeks, they did better on memory tests.
Other types of exercise can be helpful as well. Yoga three times a week has been found to improve brain function in older adults.
3. Teach That Old Dog Some New Tricks
Despite the hype, crossword puzzles and online games by themselves will not boost your brain. But learning something new will.
Researchers had older people try different activities, but only those who learned a new skill, such as quilting, showed significant improvement in brain function. The brain is a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it gets.
To find a new hobby that excites and challenges you. Pick up a musical instrument, try a new language, or play chess on the computer.
4. You May Not Lose If You Snooze
After all that hard brain work, you deserve a nap. And it will be od for you, too! A nap is a great way to reboot your tired brain in the afternoon, charge yourself up for the rest of the day, and improve your mood.
A 20-minute snooze—often called a power nap—is a great way to enhance motor skills and attention. An hour to 90 minutes of napping helps make new connections in the brain and can help with solving creative problems.
Napping between 20 and 90 minutes may also help, but you may feel groggy when you wake up.
1. Be Smart – Eat Fish
Not only are fish rich in proteins, they provide omega-3 fatty acids. These are healthy fats that give the brain a boost. A diet with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to lower dementia and stroke risks and slower mental decline. They may also play a vital role in enhancing memory. For the brain – and heart – health, eat two servings of fish weekly.
2. Nuts and Chocolate
Nuts and seeds are good sources of the antioxidant vitamin E. In some studies, that’s been found to reduce cognitive decline as you age. Dark chocolate – in addition to being delicious – also has powerful antioxidant properties. (Plus a little caffeine to perk you up.) You don’t need a lot – just an ounce a day of nuts and dark chocolate will give you the boost you want.
3. Get the Blood Flowing with Whole Grains and Fruits
The brain depends on blood flow. A diet high in whole grains and fruits avocados can lower bad cholesterol. This enhances blood flow, offering a simple, tasty way to get your brain cells firing. Whole grains, popcorn and whole wheat, also contribute dietary fiber and vitamin E. And the fat in avocados is monounsaturated which helps with healthy blood flow.
4. Blueberries Are Brain-Berries
Research in animals shows that blueberries may help protect the brain from the damage caused by free radicals (which can damage cells in your body) and may reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Studies have also found that blueberry-rich diets improved both the learning and muscle function of aging rats. Just one cup a day – fresh, frozen or freeze-dried – is all you need.
What About Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements?
The internet is full of supplements that claim brain-boosting power. Supplements vitamins B, C, E, beta-carotene, and magnesium are promising, but supplements are primarily useful to people whose diets are lacking in that specific nutrient. Some researchers are cautiously optimistic about vitamin, mineral, and herb combinations, but more proof is still needed.
Get Smart – See Your Doctor Regularly
The brain is an amazing organ. But to help it achieve peak performance, you don’t need to fancy tools or supplements or equipment. The smartest way to help your brain stay healthy and high performing is by regularly seeing your primary care provider.
A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. With more than 300 primary providers at more than 50 convenient locations, it’s easy to find a UPMC Pinnacle primary care provider near you. to UPMCPinnacle.com/PrimaryLocations to find the location closest to you.
UPMC Harrisburg is a nationally recognized leader in providing high-quality, patient-centered health care services in south central PA. and surrounding rural communities.
UPMC Harrisburg includes seven acute care hospitals and over 160 outpatient clinics and ancillary facilities serving Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, York, Lancaster, Lebanon, Juniata, Franklin, Adams, and parts of Snyder counties. These locations care for more than 1.
2 million area residents yearly, providing life-saving emergency care, essential primary care, and leading-edge diagnostic services. Its cardiovascular program is nationally recognized for its innovation and quality. It also leads the region with its cancer, neurology, transplant, obstetrics-gynecology, maternity care, and orthopaedic programs.
8 Ways to Improve Your Brain Power
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Don't you wish you had more control over your brain?
From idea generation and meetings to crunching numbers and copywriting, there are a lot of different situations in which more focus and improved cognitive function would prove beneficial. It would allow you to get more done in a shorter amount of time, and come up with unique solutions to problems that you might not be able to otherwise.
The good news is that there are a number of different ways to improve your brain power, especially if you're willing to do some things consistently over a longer period of time. Let's explore eight ways that you can support your brain health.
We all know that we should be getting regular exercise. However, most entrepreneur lead busy, rushed lives, and can't always find the time to fit physical activity in. The trick might be to think of it in reverse: you can't afford not to exercise if you want to live a long, healthy, productive life.
Exercise not only benefits your brain health and cognition, it can also improve your memory. In the long run, it can even protect your brain against degeneration. If that isn't reason enough to get into a regular workout routine, who knows what is?
Related: Why Food, Sleep and Exercise Are Critical to Success
2. Drink coffee
Many people start their days with a cup of coffee, and it turns out this ritual could actually benefit your cognitive functions in the short term.
Caffeine, of course, helps to keep you alert. However, it can also help you to stay focused on repetitive and tedious tasks, and will even boost your intelligence, including your reaction time and reasoning.
Obviously, the effects of coffee are not permanent. However, it can make your brain work more efficiently until that caffeine high wears off.
3. Get some sunlight
Sunlight and exercise can sometimes go hand in hand. This mostly depends on what part of the world you live in, how much sunlight is available at different times of the year and how realistic it is for you to spend time in the outdoors.
Getting too little sunlight is not good for your brain. Higher levels of vitamin D in your system allow you to perform better, and can even slow down the aging of your brain.
Too much sunlight can be bad for your skin, but if you aren't getting enough, your brain functions may suffer. Of course, you can always take vitamin D supplements if you find that you aren't able to get outside as much as you would to. Just remember to take supplements in moderation.
4. 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 your cognitive functions.
If you often feel lonely, it can actually result in psychological and cognitive decline, as these feelings can have a negative impact on your sleep, increase your blood pressure, contribute to depression and even lower your overall well-being.
Most entrepreneurs know how to communicate and build connections. The key thing is to build a strong support system around you, as that will enable you to stay healthy mentally and psychologically over the long term.
Meditation is a trending topic among many entrepreneurs right now, and its benefits are hard to argue with. Not only does meditation reduce your 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 your day to practice meditation could extend your cognitive longevity and allow you to reduce your overall stress levels too.
Related: Less Sleep Makes You More ly to Catch a Cold, Study Finds
6. Sleep well
This can be another tricky area for entrepreneurs. Early mornings and late nights sometimes come with the territory, and the stresses or excitement that come with building and growing a business can have undesirable effects on sleep patterns.
Sleep is required to consolidate memory and learning. If you don't get enough sleep, your gray-matter volume in your frontal lobe may begin to decrease. Your frontal lobe supports and controls your working memory as well as executive function, making it particularly important.
In short, if you don't get enough sleep, you'll have less brain in your head.
7. Eat well
It shouldn't come as a surprise that nutrition plays a significant part in your brain health. Entrepreneurs are often rushing from one meeting to another, leaving themselves with very little or no time to eat well.
You 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 your cognitive function — assuming you consume it in moderation — and nuts, blueberries, whole grains, and avocados are also beneficial.
What's good for your body also tends to be good for your brain.
8. Play Tetris
This might come to you as a bit of a surprise, but playing Tetris is known to have several positive effects on your 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 your brain from solidifying those memories. That means fewer flashbacks to negative memories over the long haul.
If you have a smartphone or tablet with you at all times, then incorporating a little bit of Tetris into your day should prove to be pretty straightforward. Just don't get carried away and forget to work, too!
More than anything else, improving your brain power is about habits, and habits take time to build.
The best approach is to focus on one or two things at a time. Giving your life a complete makeover is going to prove much more challenging, and the habits you attempt to develop may not stick. This is counterproductive.
Not only is balance hard to achieve, often it never is in the life of an entrepreneur. However, constant experimentation and tweaking will allow you to test things out and see what works best for you.
Related: Study: Why It May Be Time to Reconsider 'Eating on the Go'
7 Ways to Boost Brain Power While Studying
7 Ways to Boost Brain Power While Studying main image
Guest post: Jamie Shuck
Our brains play a huge part in what makes us ‘us’, and keeping your brain in tip top condition can give you that head start towards success, particularly during your studies.
If you’re looking for ways to boost your brain power in time for the first semester of the coming university year, read on to discover seven simple ways to revitalize and reenergize your mind…
1. Fit in some exercise a few times a week
Exercising doesn’t only improve our fitness levels, but can also help to develop a healthier brain. By running, cycling, swimming, or whatever form of exercise takes your fancy, you can strengthen the connections between brain cells. From this, your learning and memory skills can improve and you should be able to absorb more information from your lectures and library books.
It’s recommended that you exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times a week, but if you are relatively new to exercising, start off with a couple of times a week and slowly build it up. Otherwise you risk growing bored of the new routine, before you’ve developed the habit.
2. Get creative
Coloring in, as strange as it may sound, has been found to have the same effects on the brain as meditation – and if you search online you’ll find a huge selection of coloring books for adults, to match every interest! If cooking is more your thing, try out some new ingredients and recipes. Or if you’re more of an outdoorsy sort, challenge yourself to learn a new sport. Any time spent being creative and trying new things can really make a difference to your brain’s overall functioning.
3. Stock up on your vitamins and micronutrients
Specific vitamins and nutrients can boost brain power in various ways.
While zinc and iodine can contribute to normal brain cognition, vitamin B6, B12 and folate can help to prevent fatigue, a major cause of procrastination during studies.
Omega-3 and one of its essential fatty acids, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), can help the brain to function correctly – a vital part of learning – making them important nutrients to include in your daily diet.
You can boost brain power with vitamins and micronutrients by eating the following foods:
- Zinc – meat, fish, legumes, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, garlic, nuts and seeds, cereals and dairy
- Iodine – cod, seaweed, turkey, yoghurt, tuna, eggs, strawberries
- Vitamin B6 – pork, chicken, turkey, fish, bread, eggs, vegetables, peanuts, milk and cereals
- Vitamin B12 – meat, fish, dairy and cereals
- Omega-3 – fish, nuts, seeds and egg yolks
While adding each of these vitamins to your daily diet may seem overwhelming, there are plenty of nutritional supplements that can help you achieve this. The benefits of adding these vitamins and micronutrients can take several weeks to show, so try to begin adding them in as soon as possible.
It goes without saying that socializing is a significant part of your time at university, but did you know it can also help the way your brain performs? Research has found that having a conversation with someone, for as little as 10 minutes a day, can help keep your brain optimized, resulting in better memory and brain performance.
5. Allow yourself to power nap
Making sure you get enough sleep at night, as well as having a 30-minute power nap during the day, gives your body enough time to repair and rejuvenate for another day of learning and studying.
6. Break your daily routine
Studies have found that frequently changing your daily routine, even in the slightest way, can help energize your brain and improve your efficiency and productivity when you study. Take a different route to and from university, try shopping somewhere new, or even challenge yourself by closing your eyes when unlocking the door. Aim to be surprised at least once every day.
7. Try something new
New experiences help your brain continue to grow, as well as taking in and storing information more easily. How about starting a new sport, learning a new language or learning to play a musical instrument? Check out an exhibition at a nearby museum or art gallery, try your hand at some volunteering, or if you have enough time, get away for a day/weekend/week to a brand-new place.
Jamie Shuck is a marketing manager at Vitabiotics, a UK-based company specializing in vitamins and nutritional supplements.
This article was originally published in August 2016.It was last updated in October 2021
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