Improve Your Concentration, Your Awareness and Your Overall Cognitive Functioning

March 29, 2010

How do you improve Cognitive Function? It’s surprisingly simple, and if you’re already trying to improve your bodily health it’s easy to include your mind as well.

First stop: Diet.

Your body needs a daily array of vitamins and minerals to perform all its functions, both while you’re awake and while you’re asleep. Spring, and fresh produce, is approaching, but in the winter it can be hard to find a variety that gives us everything we need. That’s why a multi-vitamin is a must for anyone concerned about their overall health, the functioning of their minds and bodies, or a specific ailment.

You may have heard that fish oil is good for your brain. Why? It’s derived from fatty fish rich in Omega-3. But did you know that you need to balance Omega-3 fatty acids with Omega-6? Generally, we get too much Omega-6, as it’s found in nuts and their oils, which are widely used in processed foods. Decreasing your consumption of processed foods and increasing your consumption of fish, walnuts, and other sources of Omega-3 will help to balance Omega-3 and Omega-6 levels in your body. This will not only help your mind, but your immune system as having more Omega-3 competing with Omega-6 in your body will produce more anti-inflammatory compounds.

Adding berries like blueberries to your diet is great for your brain. The vitamins in blueberries increase the amount of grey matter in your brain (grey matter is basically your intelligence—areas of thick neural growth/connections). Further, blueberries and other berries are a good source of antioxidants, which are great not just for your brain but for your immune system as a whole. If you want to get more antioxidants in your diet, consider supplementing with a supplement that contains potent plant extracts that are full of antioxidants, particularly Alpha Lipoic Acid, an important Omega-3 fatty acid.

When you read, play an instrument, play a game like sudoku, or otherwise stimulate your brain you build grey matter. If you feel you don’t have time in your day for those things, there are other things you can do.

First, mentally engage with your surroundings—think about driving while you’re driving: where you are, where you’re going, what’s going on around you. Not only is it safer, but it engages your brain to form strong neural patterns of spatial recognition as well as engages your hand-eye coordination (rather than muscle memory/auto-pilot).

If you have five minutes, while you’re on hold or waiting for a meeting to begin, take a moment to clear your brain rather than multi-task, which studies have shown is not actually efficient. Relax and clear your head if it’s overloaded, or whatever you need to do—just take five minutes to do some mental housekeeping, even if it’s just following a wallpaper pattern.

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