(NaturalNews) Our Brains are under siege from all angles. From the dumbing down of the education system, toxins and hormones in food and water, the covert reduction of people's attention spans and information saturation, to endless stimulant induced peaks and troughs - times are hard for your grey matter. Over stimulated, under nourished minds can lead to stress, mental problems and a lower overall quality of life. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to nourish your nous, feed your thoughts and realign your mind.
All major organs are vital for the successful functioning of your organism, but few would disagree that the processing center is the most important, yet most are completely unaware of how the brain works and ignorant of ways to protect the brain and help it function more efficiently. These steps will help you regain control.
Can the caffeine
Caffeine is a CNS (Central Nervous System) stimulant, and it's highly addictive. Caffeine binds to receptors in the brain normally stimulated by the neurotransmitter "adenosine," which keeps dopamine and glutamate, the brains "happy" compounds in check. Caffeine stops adenosine from regulating these neurotransmitters, giving you extra concentration and an energetic high. The problem? You are actually in a drug induced state, with a harsh come-down that stops your natural ability to concentrate. Furthermore, after the high is over, adenosine is still blocked and you need more and more caffeine to get a rapidly diminishing buff. Expect 10 days of hell to filter caffeine from your system, after which concentration will improve and your thoughts will become clearer. The same goes for cigarettes.
Flood yourself with oxygen
The brain "eats" oxygen to function and that oxygen is supplied through the blood. This means there are two easy ways to instantly increase the brain's ability to process information, and concentrate better.
1) Exercise instantly increases blood flow, directly increasing oxygen in the brain. The body will also release endorphins, another "happy" neurotransmitter - meaning you get healthier, feel good and your brain will continue to function better for around 24 hours, just about until your next exercise session.
2) Eating foods and food supplements that increase circulation can directly boost concentration and focus. Think the three "Gs", Ginseng, Ginger and Ginkgo Biloba. Unlike caffeine, they stimulate via boosting blood flow to the brain - adding more oxygen and making the brain literally work harder, faster and more efficiently. This boost is 100 percent natural and won't lead to negative side effects.
Nature's nutrient for neurons
You can actually support the fundamental structure of the brain as well, not just its functioning. Hericium Erinaceus, commonly known as the Lion's Mane Mushroom, increases NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) in the body. NGF plays an essential role in stimulating new growth of nerves in the body and neurons (the bits the electrical signals zoom between) in the brain. More NGF, fewer brain cells die, new ones can be created and last longer. Low levels of NGF have been linked to the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, so supporting your brain's physical structure by increasing NGF can be a great insurance policy.
The information you introduce your mind to is also important; reading quality magazine articles, books, playing chess or sudoku help to lengthen attention spans and improve focus and cognitive function. Swap soundbite culture, fast paced "instant reward" computer games and small snippets of information for depth and breadth, add in some meditation or other deep relaxation and you too can reclaim your brain.
About the author: Mark Towse is a professional naturopath, nutritionist and mycologist specializing in herbal extracts, phytonutrients and medicinal mushrooms. He owns and runs the European herbal extract specialist Active Health Supplements, www.activehealthsupplements.com. He is interested in all things relating to the natural world, particularly the healing power hidden within the plant kingdom and how nature has given us the power to detoxify, re-balance and strengthen ourselves in the increasingly crazy pressures of modern life! If you are interested in high-strength herbal extracts and rare medicinal mushrooms, or are looking for more information or advice in his specialist areas, he'd love you to visit his website www.activehealthsupplements.com.