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Brain power

The brain can be exercised and its function improved in the same way as a muscle. The exercises are of different but are important to do especially as you get older of have been started on medications or have an illness which can reduce the ability to thing clearly and succinctly.  A number of studies have reported a reduction in intellectual ability or brainpower after surgery, viral illness chemotherapy or whilst taking hormone therapies. In the first instance this may be reported as being forgetful either from the individual themselves or a relative. The official term for loss of brain power is ‘cognitive impairment’ and it can manifest itself as a loss of memory and the inability to concentrate. If chronic and persistent Alzheimer's or dementia will set in. 

There are numerous underlying causes  some are temporary and other progressive and permanent:

  • Head injury

  • Brain tumours

  • Alzheimer's and other degenerative neurological conditions

  • Viral infection - flu

  • Stroke or cerebro-vascular disease

  • An under active thyroid

  • Hormone therapies; tamoxifen, arimidex, or zoladex

  • Pain killers particularly opiates such as tramadol, codeine and morphine

  • Anti-histamines

  • Blood pressure tablets particularly beta blockers

  • Mineral, salt or micro-nutrient imbalances

One of the least stated but most important factors is the major disruption of your daily routine either via retirement or illness. It is very likely that you will not have the same intellectual stimulation previously received from the work place or social interaction with friends and colleagues. Fortunately, this lack of stimulation can be anticipated and can be corrected, although it may require a lot of hard work and intervention.

What can you do to help? 

The golden rules apply to the mind as well as to the body – eat well, stop smoking and exercise. Exercise increases oxygen to the brain and also gets you out of the house, changes your environment and provides visual and intellectual stimulation. Alcohol is not a good idea. We are all aware of the muzzy headedness that occurs with even the mildest of hangovers.

Ensure a good intake of antioxidant containing foods and omega 3. Consider mircro-nutrient testing to ensure you have adequate but not excess levels.

The brain, like a muscle, gets stronger with use. Social interaction helps to stimulate the mind, especially when engaging in interesting conversation. Learning something new, or writing in a diary, will help you to think more creatively, help your memory and enhance your ability to make logical connections. Singing is a nice way to exercise your intellect, particularly those processes originating in the right side of your brain. I’m sure you have noticed that it’s easier to rhyme when singing than when just speaking or writing. This is because the right side of the brain is better at pattern recognition, and also accounts for the phenomenon that stutterers can stop stuttering as soon as they start singing.

Various brain exercise tools are now available commercially – ranging from crosswords, Su Doku and riddle books to electronic brain-teaser gadgets. Brain training, however, doesn’t have to stop if you don’t have access to specific books or electronic gadgets. Imagination and day-dreaming exercises have been shown to improve brain power and can be performed anywhere. Imagine different rooms of the house and how they would look if decorated differently or, whilst looking out of the window, try to imagine how it would look during different seasons or when covered with snow. Ideally, try running slowly on a tread mill or in the local park and try to solve a mental problem – you will be exercising your mind and body at the same time.

Finally, you may be frustrated by a lack of concentration. However, this will improve with time, but in some cases recovery is hindered by anxiety or a pre-occupation with unconstructive thoughts. The relaxation tips highlighted in the anxiety section of this book may help, but otherwise try to dispel the negative thoughts which are sapping your ability to concentrate. When you are conscious of these thoughts they can often be resolved by discussing them with friends, relatives or your medical team. If not, meditation or psychological counselling may be useful.  







A deficiency or an excess of micro nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants, essential minerals and fatty acids can lead to an increase risk of cancer and chronic illnesses. You can now measure you body's levels and empower yourself you correct your levels read more / order

Summary – tips to improve brain power

  • Stop smoking

  • Reduce alcohol intake

  • Take regular exercise

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of vitamins vegetables and plant proteins

  • Increase your antioxidants intake

  • Increase your omega 3 intake

  • Make your own superfoods (see lifestyle and cancer chapter 7)

  • Take a fish oil regularly unless there is a contraindication

  • Review your medication with your doctors – some may be sedating

  • Use your brain – engage in conversation, socialise, visit friends and relatives

  • Stimulate your brain – learn something new, read, listen to audio books.

  • Exercise your brain – puzzles, singing, brain teasers,  imagination techniques

  • Use brain exercise gadgets – electronic challenges, chess, suduko

  • Identify negative thoughts which may be sapping your concentration

  • Try to establish a regular sleep pattern - see sleep hygiene

  • If you have memory loss and are on medication discuss with your doctor

  • Consider nutritional testing as you may have an underlying micronutrient imbalance



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