Give your brain a workout

  • Shikha Sharma Shikha Sharma, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Sep 13, 2014 18:14 IST

No matter where you come from or what you look like, the one thing that will distinguish you from others and determine how you fare in life is your brain.

The mass of grey that occupies the topmost part of your body is also the organ that controls decision-making, focus, communication, problem solving, empathy, memory and skill.

You’ll need a strong brain to tackle life as much as you need a fit body to tackle disease. Start with these tips.

Eat the right foods

The brain works on a steady supply of glucose and needs the right carbs at the right time. An overdose of sugar and sugary foods can send the mind in a spin and should be avoided. right carbohydrates can be found in wholewheat, whole oats, brown rice, ragi and amaranth.

Don’t think of a zero-fat diet if you want to feed your brain. Grey matter and nerves need fats. So eat healthy fats found in almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts. Even peanuts are a good source of brain-healthy oils, as are oily seeds like sesame and sunflower. Nerves also need vitamins, particularly B-complex and biotin. So eat raisins, prunes, spirulina, and fruits like apple, orange, mango and cherries.

Exercise for your brain

You need to put more into your brain than just food.

A study by the University of Georgia says exercising even for 20 minutes a day facilitates information processing and memory functions. Exercise, which involves speed, hand and feet coordination, memory and foot-stamping, stimulates and challenges the nervous system. also increases the heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to the brain; and aids the release of hormones that improve the growth of brain cells.

In addition, reading and any kind of stimulating mental activity helps the brain focus. So bring out those books and download puzzle apps on your phone.

It’s a way to keep your brain occupied during a commute or when you have a few minutes to kill.

Yoga and aerobic exercises such as dancing integrate different parts of the brain, such as coordination, rhythm and strategy.

From HT Brunch, September 14
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