Grow Your Brain

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In the past, scientists believed that we were each born
with about 100 billion brain cells, and that after we
reached adolescence our brain started dying at a rate of
about 10,000 per day, and these cells could not be
replaced.

New research has proven that the brain CAN produce new
cells and that we can grow our brain throughout our lives.
We can improve our mental alertness and master new skills
no matter how old we are. But to grow your brain you must
take the steps described in this article.

Recently it was discovered that the brain grows during
sleep. Most of the growth occurs between the sixth and
eighth hour of sleep. This illustrates the importance
of getting eight hours of sound sleep each night.

The most important step to ensure sound sleep is to
maintain a regular schedule of when you go to sleep and
when you rise. Staying up late on weekends is not good for
your brain. Studies have found that people who receive
eight or nine hours of regular sound sleep each night are
more mentally sharp.

Blood flow is another important factor effecting brain
growth. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain’s
cells. Exercise is the way to increase blood flow to the
brain. Aerobic exercise like walking briskly, bicycling,
and jogging are the best exercises for growing your brain.
A University of Illinois study found that people who
walked briskly for 45 minutes three times a week improved
their cognitive speed by 15 percent.

The brain functions by communicating between cells through
branches called dendrites. Nerve impulses are relayed
across the gaps between dendrites, called synapses, by
chemicals called neurotransmitters. When your brain is
challenged with new information or new concepts, synaptic
activity increases. A brain that is constantly challenged
grows new dendrites.

The way to grow more dendrites is to learn new information
and new concepts. The best way to learn is to take up a
new challenging activity like computers, music, or
learning a new language. You can also challenge your brain
by working puzzles, solving brainteasers, playing strategy
games, or by teaching others.

It is now known that stress takes a heavy toll on your
brain. When you are under stress your body experiences the
“fight or flight” syndrome. When ancient cave man was
being chased by a Saber Toothed Tiger, the last thing his
body needed was to allocate resources to grow more brain
cells. In response to a threat, real or imagined, your
body produces hormones that stop the growth of brain cells.

To avoid stress, make an honest assessment of the things
that are causing your stress. Are they really life
threatening, or are they merely an annoyance? Most of the
time an impending event that we are stressing over never
comes to pass.

Eliminate the things in your life that are causing stress.
If you can’t eliminate something that is causing stress;
find a more constructive way to deal with it. They say
“stress kills”. I believe that. Even if stress doesn’t
kill you, we now know that it WILL decrease your mental
sharpness.

It is now known that the old idea “fish is food for the
brain” is actually true. Scientists have discovered that
omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are an important
component of neurotransmitters. Other sources of omega-3
fatty acids include avocados, olive oil, and walnuts.

Omega-3 fatty acids work in conjunction with vitamin E.
The best sources of vitamin E include seeds, nuts, whole
grains, and brightly colored vegetables.

Avoid fatty foods that increase your cholesterol level.
Cholesterol stiffens the walls of arteries, restricting
the flow of blood. And you now know that good blood flow
is required to grow your brain.

Age is NOT a factor in decreasing mental sharpness. Loss
of mental alertness is caused by lack of regular sound
sleep, lack of exercise, stress, and mental laziness. Take
the steps described in this article and you will do what
until now scientists thought was impossible. You will grow
your brain.
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