Complex. Intricate. Amazing. Our brains are one of the most amazing and most complex creations of Allah (SWT). But are you really taking care of it? In this article, I give you 10 tools to boost your brain health so that you can win at every stage of your life, bi’idnillah!
Your brain is the most amazing supercomputer in the universe. And just like any other supercomputer, the brain’s energy consumption is also humongous.
That’s because although your brain makes up just 2% of your body’s weight, it uses 20-30% of the calories you consume and 20% of your total oxygen. Unbelievable!
Your brain has 100 billion nerve cells, trillions of synopses and it has more connections inside of it than the number of stars in the universe. So, it’s truly a complex masterpiece.
The tragic thing is that most of us don’t give our brains the attention and care it needs. Our neglect of it is why we have trouble focusing, learning and memorising new things. So, if you’re memorising the Quran, a student, or someone who wants to level up in his or her life, then you need to pay attention to these ten tools.
Tool #1: Brain Nutrition
This, if nothing else, is the most important tool.
As I’ve mentioned, your brain consumes tons of energy. It’s true that it makes use of any energy you intake, just like it’s true that both an avocado and a juicy burger contain fats. But are the fats of the same quality? Of course not. So, if you want your brain to work at its peak level, then you need certain, essential nutrients.
Here’s a list of those nutrients:
Vegetables and fruits
You’ve heard me say it before, but I’ll say it once again: vegetables and fruits are nature’s medicine cabinet. They are high in nutrients and antioxidants. And antioxidants not only protect your body and brain but they also help you stay young – both physically and mentally.
The best type of veggies are green and leafy. Specifically, spinach and most other green leafy vegetables are rich in antioxidants and magnesium. Magnesium dilates blood vessels, and boost blood flow to the brain.
Although, I’m emphasising green, leafy veggies, all fruits and veggies are beneficial for your body and brain. It’s just that some have an edge because they’re full of certain nutrients. And the more colourful produce you can add to your diet, the better it is.
So, here are some fruits and vegetables that are very high in antioxidants:
- Berries (all sorts of berries)
- Red grapes, and
Broccoli: Broccoli is rich in choline, vitamin K and has some sizeable serving of folic acid. All these nutrients are shown to improve memory and reduce the risk of depression.
Blueberries and most other berries are super beneficial to your brain. A study cited in the Annals of Neurology associates berries with slower rates of cognitive decline, i.e. as you age, eating berries will help you stay mentally young.
So, eat your berries along with other green leafy and colourful vegetables. Get at least 5 servings of these types of veggies every day!
Dietary fat forms our nervous system and builds our brain. In fact, our brain consists of at least 60% fat. This means that healthy fats are crucial for most of our brain functions!
While all healthy fats are essential for an optimum function of our body and brain, within this category of health fats, omega-3 stands out as more beneficial for the brain. So, get your omega-3 from foods such as wild-caught salmon, organic, free-range eggs, and walnuts. Walnuts are great for protecting your brain’s neurones.
That being said, here’s a list of healthy fats you should definitely have on a daily basis:
- Wild-caught salmon fish
- Organic, free-range eggs
- Nuts and seeds
- Avocados, and
- Coconut oil
Cacao beans, which are what dark chocolate is made from, are loaded with antioxidants and flavonoids. Flavonoids are beneficial substances that increase the blood flow to your brain. These tender beans also increase your happy neurotransmitter, i.e. “serotonin”, in your brain.
However, cacao beans are very bitter to eat. That’s why I recommend eating dark chocolate that is high in cacao beans. Look for dark chocolates that are 70% or higher in their cacao beans content. So, the higher the content, the better!
Turmeric is touted as one of the most beneficial herbs in the world. It’s full of goodness and excellent in reducing inflammation. Turmeric provides a lot of benefits to the brain, from regenerating your brain stem cells to improving brains oxygen intake.
A quick and easy way to get the nutrients your brain needs
Sometimes, it’s easy to be carried away with too much information. That’s why I’m keen on providing practical examples.
Here’s my typical breakfast that has most of the brain nutrients I need to conquer the day:
Egg omelette with smoothie
I fry my 3 organic eggs within 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. I add 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder along with some fresh herbs.
Blend all the ingredients in a blender and here you have a great brain smoothie to start your day.
- 1 glass of water
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach
- 1 cups of blueberries
- 1/2 an avocado
- 10 walnuts
- A small piece of dark chocolate
Tool #2: Water
Did you know that three-quarter of our brain is made up of water?
Being dehydrated is one of the biggest hurdles to optimal brain function. Therefore, proper hydration is the key to improving your focus, learning, memory and energy.
Whenever you want to study, learn or memorise the Quran, make sure you have some water first. It’s a simple but powerful tool to boosting your brain’s focus and energy instantly.
Insha Allah in part 2, we’ll discuss the rest of the 8 brain tools.
But before that…
What you can do!
- Look through the lists of food I’ve mentioned in this article
- Choose one (or more!) foods that you like
- Incorporate this food into your daily diet and lifestyle