If you are looking for ways to increase alertness, reduce the feeling of mental fogginess and increase mental performance then these are essential strategies for you
1. Omega 3 essential fatty acids
Why are they called essential anyway?
Essential fatty acids are known as such, because our body doesn’t produce them. This means you have to rely on dietary sources such as fish, liver and fish oil (purified, filtered and high quality), nuts, and seeds.
Omega 3 is a significant component of our brain and eyes.
Approximately 60% of the brain is composed of fat, and 25% of the fat is a compound known as DHA, which is found in fish oil.
DHA exists in high levels in our neurons, the brain cells. When our body is low in DHA, our nerve cells become “rigid” and more prone to inflammation, causing compromise of the communication between cells (neurotransmission).
Many studies have revealed a link between low fatty acids and degenerative conditions (Alzheimer’s) and memory loss. Nutritional Neuroscience (2008:75-83) found that participants demonstrated a significant improvement in verbal fluency after taking 800 mg of DHA for four months compared to a placebo.
2. Get Moving
It is especially important to increase cardiovascular exercise, as research shows it boosts the energy powerhouses in your body known as Mitochondria. Mitochondria produce energy in every cell of our body, which helps the brain to work faster and more efficiently.
3. Optimising Vitamin b12 levels
The hallmark of low b12 levels is brain fog and reduced mental alertness. Our body needs adequate B12 for red blood cells to correctly drop off oxygen around the body and brain. According to research, people with high levels of B12 deficiency were more likely to score lower on cognitive tests and have a smaller total brain volume (Neurology 2011, September 27: 1276-1282)
Food sources e.g. beef, chicken, seafood, eggs. It can be hard to metabolise plant based B12.
4. Your Digestive System Is Your Second Brain
The health of your brain can be linked to the health of your digestive system.
There is a significant connection between abnormal gut flora (dysbiosis) and abnormal brain function as the bacterium in our digestive system sends signals to our brain via the Vagus nerve.
In order to assist in healthy gut flora, limit sugar intake as bad bacteria in the digestive system feeds off sugar in your diet.
Increase naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut, kim chee, kefir, and natural yoghurt.
5. Continue learning and challenging your mind STRETCH YOUR BRAIN
Just like building muscle in the gym it takes continuous development and ongoing commitment to enhance your mental capabilities.
Learning and challenging your mind helps with the structure and size of neurons, but also assists in new connections and pathways developed in the brain (a process known as neurogenesis.)
Brain exercises can be learning a new subject, a new language, crosswords and puzzles.