The second pillar of brain fitness, after physical exercise, is nutrition.
From Brainfit for Life, by Simon Evans, Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt, Ph.D.
"Quality Nutrition. What you choose to put in your mouth
becomes the raw materials for building and maintaining
brain circuits. Foods and supplements can dramatically
affect the way your entire brain works. Science has shown
us that various nutrients affect brain circuits that control
mood, metabolism and intellectual abilities."
Remember back to your early days in recovery? Perhaps the Old Timers would tell you to keep some hard candy in your pocket, to pop into your mouth if you felt any urge to drink or use.
Although the Old Timers did not know then that sugar impacts the same brain pleasure circuitry that drugs do, they were on to something with their sugary tip.
Now we know that we have one pleasure circuit and many things like sugar, alcohol, drugs, work, sex, generosity, exercise, and learning can all stimulate the pleasure circuitry.
Read that list again to make sure that you read it correctly.
You should also know that your brain speeds thoughts around between your ears at about 248MPH, and at that speed, the roadways need to be free of potholes or that really neat thing that you heard at the meeting last night will be lost in a pothole on your memory lane.
Another thing to remember about your brain and nutrition is that your brain, while counting for about 2% of your weight, burns about 20% of the fuel you burn each day, and that occasionally, a free radical will escape the brain's best attempt to sequester them, and create damage to nearbye neurons, and the culmination to that damage is what we usually call 'aging'.
The best antidote to free radicals and potholes in memory lane? Anti-oxidants from the food you eat, which means fruits and vegetables and lots of omega 3 fatty acids, either from fish or a supplement.
What it also means is greatly diminishing the amount of packaged food you eat, because packaged foods are engineered these days to stimulate the pleasure centers of your brain so that your brain tells you to eat more, more, more.
The 'more' you are usually eating contains a lot of empty calories, with no fiber, minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants, so it goes to your hips rather than your neurons.
So now you have a bit of a general background about why your brain needs you to really eat fresh foods, including fruits and vegetables.
But the kicker for me was when I found information about how fast your brain can change the inside of your body, taking you from mellow to fight of flight in 1/18th second. Remember that it takes you 1/10th second to blink your eyes, so the resentment you can build that lasts for days takes 1/10th of a second to create.
The better my brain is functioning, the easier it is for me to become aware of the resentful thought and to switch the channel to gratitude.
Think about engineering your thoughts, a gratitude thought, every five minutes for two heartbeats, which means two hundred gratitude thoughts per day given a 16 hour day.
It is much easier to manage your thinking and feelings when your brain has all the nutritional molecules it needs.
Next, the third pillar of brain fitness, which is good sleep. Yes, naps are OK.