Our brain ages with the years like other parts of the body. We risk losing memories and learning abilities as a result but fortunately there are ways to keep our brain functional and healthy.
The brain is composed of 4 main parts, namely, the brainstem, diencephalon, cerebellum and cerebrum. It is estimated to have billions of neurons that communicate with each other and other cells to control our thinking and all systems of the body.
• How does the brain age?
- Degeneration of some neurons
- Damage caused by free radicals
The area of the brain most susceptible to degeneration is the part that controls memories, learning and complex thinking.
• How can we take care of the brain?
Like other organs of the body, the brain needs good nutrients. You can nourish your brain by eating brain food and working out your brain and body.
• Brain food
- Carbohydrate: glucose is essential to the brain. Choose low glycemic index food such as unpolished grains, nuts, pears, berries and apples because this particular food gradually releases glucose in a low but consistent level into the body.
- Fresh vegetables and fruits: rich in antioxidants. Choose vegetables of orange, red or yellow colors and dark green for fruits, kiwi and pomegranate for instance.
- Fish, nuts and grains provide fatty acid essential to the surrounding membrane (myelin sheath) of the neurons.
- Lean red meat, chicken, fish and tofu provide protein and amino acid essential to production of neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger of the brain and antioxidants.
• Move your body to relax the brain
Exercise not only benefits your body but also your brain. When you exercise, blood circulates to the brain more and the brain learns better because those brain cells connect to each other better. Exercise can be as easy as walking or swimming and apart from that, these are the ways we can exercise our brain.
- Playing brain game such as crosswords and Sudoku
- Learning a new language
• Dietary supplement for the brain
DHA in fish oil: omega-3 DHA fatty acid constitute 40-50% of the brain tissue.
Maintaining DHA in an appropriate level will stabilize the function of the nervous and learning systems. Ginkgo extract is found to improve our memories and concentration the same way rosemary extract expands our memory capacity.