Are you aware that you can think more clearly after exercising? Part of the reason exercise enhances cognition has to do with blood flow. It’s been proven that blood pressure and blood flow increase when we exercise. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brains perform at their best. Cerebral blood flow velocity is critical for optimal brain function and viability and supplies the brain with the required amount of oxygen and energy substrates. Understanding how to enhance the level of oxygen in your brain to improve blood flow is essential. Start practicing diaphragmatic breathing by expanding your belly and filling your lungs with air to increase lung efficiency and oxygen in the blood.
What you put in your mouth counts
We have learned that the best foods for the brain are the same foods that protect our hearts and blood vessels. Foods associated with better brain performance include leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, and broccoli, which are rich in brain-healthy nutrients such as vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta-carotene.
Plant foods such as bananas contain an amino acid called Tryptophan, which helps our bodies produce serotonin, playing a significant role in how we think, feel, and perform. Berries help improve memory, and a study found that women who ingest more than two servings of strawberries and blueberries per week delayed memory loss by up to two-and-a-half years. Walnuts have a refined concentration of DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid known to improve cognitive performance, prevent cognitive decline, and guard brain health.
Fun fact for coffee and tea lovers! Caffeine in your morning cuppa might offer more than just a short-term concentration boost. In a 2014 study published in The Journal of Nutrition, participants with higher caffeine consumption scored better on tests of mental function and helped set new memories.
The power of your mind
Mental health impact woman differently at different times in their lives. Sex and gender differences significantly affect mental health and mental illness. Though there are biological differences between men and women that may impact mental health, there is also a societal impact that can influence the development of mental health issues. Each year, 1 in 5 women in the United States report a mental health problem such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or an eating disorder.
Mental illnesses are brain-based conditions that affect thinking, emotions, and behaviors. Since we all have brains, having a mental health problem at some point during your life is expected.
Unlike other general physical illnesses, mental illnesses are related to problems that start in the brain. Most scientists believe that mental illnesses result from issues with the communication between neurons in the brain (neurotransmission).
For example, the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin is lower in individuals suffering from depression. This finding led to the development of certain medications for the illness. Scientists now know that the brain can change and heal itself in response to mental experience. This phenomenon, known as neuroplasticity, is considered one of the most important developments in modern science for our understanding of the brain.
Signs and symptoms of mental illness may include:
Feeling sad or down. Some experience confusion or struggle to concentrate. You may experience extreme mood changes of highs and lows and withdrawal from friends and activities. Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia, or hallucinations may occur. You might have difficulty coping with daily problems or stress. Excessive anger, hostility or violence, and suicidal thoughts, to name a few.
Look after your mental health by getting regular exercise. Just 30 minutes of walking daily and some fresh air can help boost your mood and improve your health. Try to Eat healthy, frequent meals and drink plenty of water. Get enough sleep or try a relaxing activity. Set personal goals and priorities to lift your mood and look forward to the future. Practice gratitude and train your mind with positive affirmations. Most of all, take deep breaths.