Making your brain work better

The human brain is a complex organ that allows us to think, make, feel, see, hear, taste and smell. It controls our body, receives information, analyses information and stores information. The brain produces electrical signals which together with chemical reactions let the parts of the body communicate. Nerves send these signals throughout the body. Although the brain is only 2% of the body’s weight. It uses 20% of the oxygen supply and gets 20% of the blood flow. Blood vessel (arteries, capillaries, veins) supply the brains with oxygen and nourishment.

Impact of health on intelligence

Health effects on intelligence are among the most important factors in the origins of human group differences in IQ (intelligent quotient) test scores and other measures of cognitive ability.
Several factors can lead to significant cognitive improvement such as:

Nutrition:

Students who want to give their academic performance an additional edge may want to consider what they eat. Good eating habits does not only promote physical well-being but also academic health. Students with a poorly rated diet have been found to perform lower on standardized test and children who maintains a good balance diet performed better. These funding affirm that diet quality has a direct impact on academic performance. Nutrition and hydration are part of a foundation for healthy learning.
The brain requires nutrients just like your heart, lungs and muscles do. But which foods are particularly important to keep our grey matter happy.
Beans and legumes – These are excellent services of complex carbohydrates. These complex carbohydrates are also mixed with fiber that slows absorption, giving it a steady supply of glucose for the brain without the risks of sugar spikes associated with many other sugar sources. Beans and legumes are also rich in folate, a B vitamin critical to brain function and essential omega fatty acids.
Nuts – Nuts, especially walnuts and almonds are extremely good for the brain and nervous system.
Red cabbage – Red cabbage is full of polyphenols a powerful antioxidant that benefits the brain and heart. Red cabbage also has glucosinalates compounds that fights cancer.
Tomatoes – This contains lycopene, a very powerful antioxidant that combats dementia and may improve mood balance too.

Sleep:

Why is sleep important? It’s so awful that many university students hardly sleep because of studying and in some cases taking Nescafe which is very harmful to the body at long run. Sleep plays a role in good health. Getting enough quality sleep at the right time can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life and safety. The damage from sleep deficiency occur in an instant or harm someone overtime. Sleep deficiency can raise the risk of chronic health and affect the thinking capacity. When someone sleeps, the brain prepares for the next day. It forms pathway to help one remember information.

Exercise:

Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills. In the study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involve in verbal memory and learning. The benefit of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation and stimulate the release of growth factors. Chemicals in the brain that affect the health of the brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain and even the abundance and survival of new brain calls.

Meditation:

Meditation may lead to volume changes in key areas of the brain. In 2011, Sara Lazar and her team at Harllary found that mindfulness meditation can actually change the structure of the brain. Eight weeks of mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) was found to increase cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which governs learning and memory and in certain areas of the brain that plays roles in emotion regulation and self reverential processing.
On the central benefit of meditation is that in improves attention and concentration. Studies have found that meditation help people focus and improved memory during verbal reasoning.

Human brainThere are factors that leads to intellectual impairment as well, such as;

Smoking:

Smoking thins brain’s cortex causing long-term damage to memory. Study has found that for life term smokers, the areas of the brain responsible for memorizing, language and perception start to wither with balance. Also, coordination were particularly hard “cortical thinning seems to persist for many years after someone stops smoking” said Dr Sheriff Karama, lead author of the new study and assistant professor of psychiatry at McGill. Smoking has been found associated with numerous bodily dysfunctions like psychopathy, Alzheimer’s disease and in some cases schizophrenia. As the brain deteriorates, the neurons that once resided in each other from the overall total, impairing the organs function.

Alcohol:

Alcohol causes of acquired brain injury. The problem caused by alcohol misuse are together called alcohol related brain impairment (ARBI). A person with ARBI might experience problems with memory linking related abilities and physical coordination.

Alcohol and brain injury

Brain injury can be caused by alcohol because it:

  • Has a toxic effect on the control nervous system (CNS)
  • Results in changes of metabolism, heart functioning and blood supply.
  • Interferes with the absorption of vitamin B. (thiamin) which is important to the brain.

Some common behaviours include;

  • Aggressive and angry outburst
  • Moodiness
  • Confusion
  • Lack of motivation
  • Poor control of emotion

Some alcohol related disorders includes;

  • cerebellar atrophy – The cerebellum is part of the brain responsible for muscle coordination. Damage results in difficulties with balance and walking. This is called “ataxia”.
  • Frontal lobe dysfunction – The frontal lobes of the brain are involved  in abstract thinking, planning, problem solving, and emotion.  Damage results in cognitive difficulties.
  • Hepatic encephalopathy – development of psychiatric symptoms such as mood changes, confusion and hallucination.
  • Korsakoff’s amnestic syndrome – this include the loss of short-term memory and confabulation.

Guidelines to reduce health risks from alcohol

In 2009, the national health and medical research council (NHMRC) released guidelines to reduce the health risk from alcohol consumption such as:

  • Reduction of alcohol consumption to a maximum of two standard alcoholic drinks a day.
  • Children and young people – for children and young people under the age of 18 not drinking alcohol is the safest option. Furthermore, children under 15 are at greatest risk of harm from drinking and so not drinking alcohol is most important for this group .
  • Also pregnant and breastfeeding women should not drink alcohol while breastfeeding, pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
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