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8 tips to improve your brain function!

It is fascinating to see that the central nervous system is malleable, or “plastic”. In fact, simple changes in your daily life can have a major impact on your gray, or white, matter, and therefore, your quality of life. Below we list 8 interesting brain facts and tips for immediate use.

Sleep deprivation
Lack of sleep is not good for health, as anyone will agree—even while realizing that one oneself may well have a chronic shortage. A 30-minute nap can do a lot to compensate for the hormonal effects of too little sleep whether involving stress or the immune system.

Sitting
Sitting is the new smoking—you've probably heard the mantra within the last year. Too much sitting is associated with a variety of physical problems that you'd rather not have. But did you know that sitting too much may also affect your mental health? If you sit down for more than 6 hours per day, anxiety and depression symptoms more readily manifest themselves than when you restrict sitting down to only three hours a day.

Meditation
Meditation not only gives a sense of calm and physical relaxation. An 8-week program also turns out to offer cognitive and psychological benefits. Not too long ago it was found for the first time that meditation can bring about major positive changes in brain structure. For example, the density of the cerebral cortex, the hippocampus and the amygdala evidenced an increase after meditation. This is associated with attention, emotional stability, self-awareness, compassion and introspection. All of this with 30 minutes per day of exercise!

Serotonin
Essential precursors of serotonin, L-Tryptophan and 5-HTP are widely used to promote serotonin production. Vitamin D3 appears to be essential for this metabolic step. Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA influence the dynamics of serotonin in various ways at brain level. Serotonin thus seems to be the missing link that connects vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids. So do not forget to take a regular sunbath and enjoy a good slice of wild fish in summertime.

Evolution
About 3 million years ago the brains of our ancestors began to grow remarkably. By the time of Homo sapiens the human brain had undergone growth from 350 to an astounding 1300 grams. How this happened exactly  has remained unclear for a long time. The "expensive tissue hypothesis" would seem to provide a logical explanation; it is based on a trade-off between the shrinking of the digestive system and brain growth. Cooking food seems to have been crucial: cooked food is softer and easier to digest than raw food.

Coffee
Coffee is a phytochemically complex beverage that is probably the world's most favored, and most widely used, nootropicum. Besides caffeine it contains hundreds if not thousands of active substances that will take a long time to isolate and study. The health effects of coffee are not linked to a few compounds; rather, the synergistic whole of many compounds makes coffee truly fascinating. Alas, coffee drinkers are often also smokers, complicating the investigation of health effects of coffee. More is not always better, however, so drink coffee in moderation.

Creativity
EEG alpha waves are usually linked with creative ability but creativity seems to diminish as people grow older. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) from green tea seems to increase alpha, beta, as well as theta activity in the brain. Because it also stimulates alpha waves, it could just be that drinking green tea stimulates creativity.

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