The abilities of the human brain have allowed us to become masters of planet earth. Bigger, stronger, and smarter than practically every other mammal, our brains’ ability to think, reason and problem solve have been an evolutionary game-changer for the human race. (It put us, thank goodness, at the top of the food chain.)
The problem is that today, most people are overtired, undernourished, and more stimulated than a cat in a washing machine. Many of us are depressed and stressed-out, which has a definite impact on our cognitive abilities. These abilities include concentration, problem-solving, memory, focus, and several others, all of which make us very much the same while also incredibly unique.
What, Exactly, Are Cognitive Abilities?
The definition of cognition is “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.” Basically, anything you hear, see, smell, taste, and touch form the foundation of who you are. Your knowledge, memory, judgment, reasoning, and problem-solving are based on what your brain perceives, remembers, and records. (Also, your brain can also take the information it receives and generate new ideas and new knowledge with it. Pretty neat, you have to admit.)
Why Biohack the Brain?
The brain is the perfect organ for biohacking! It’s important for every single function your body has and, more than any other organ in your body, defines who you are. Biohacking is the process of making your body better through technology, science, or some other process. It only makes sense to use it on the brain and make it stronger, smarter, and better able to, for example, store long and short term memories.
Another excellent reason to biohack the brain is one that affects almost everyone at some point in their life; cognitive decline. The fact is, as we get older, our brain’s ability to function at its peak begins to falter. (Ask anyone over 55-60 years of age and they’ll readily agree.) Now, here’s the thing; you can live pretty decently for years with a broken body as long as your brain works well. But, reverse that, and everything changes. If you have a strong body, but your brain is like a bowl of mush, your life will be almost unlivable.
Plus, biohacking the brain to, say, reduce your chances of having Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease is definitely worth trying. The truth is, nobody wants to lose their mind to either of those diseases or to, heaven forbid, dementia. If you’ve ever watched a loved one slowly wilt under the weight of a debilitating brain disease, you know exactly what we mean.
In short, biohacking the brain in the short-term can help your concentration, memory, creativity, problem-solving skills, and much more. Biohacking the brain ing the long-term, for many, is the best way to protect it from the ravages of aging.
How To Biohack Your Brain
There are, to be sure, several different methods for biohacking your brain and making it stronger and healthier. Some rely on diet, others and quiet, and still others on things like music, sleep and more. Below are a few of the best biohacking methods for your brain.
Biohacking Your Brain with Music
We’ve all heard the old saying that “music calms the savage beast.” The truth us, humans are beasts too and music definitely does calm us down. In fact, music has quite a few therapeutic uses. It can help lower your blood pressure, improve your concentration, and reduce your anxiety levels. (Scientists have found that the lower the pitch, the better it is for the brain.)
Many people today are using binaural beats to get the most brain-improving boost from music. Using binaural beats, you can achieve a state of relaxation throughout your day and enhance your ability to sleep at night. Some people use binaural beats during their daily activities or when they are meditating. Others listen to binaural beats before going to bed to calm themselves down and sleep more soundly.
That’s not the only music that can help you biohack your brain, however. For example, classical music has been shown to increase your ability to focus and concentrate. That’s due to the so-called “Mozart effect,” which has been scientifically shown to improve student performance during a test. (One study found an improvement of 12%!)
Biohacking Your Brain with Nutrition
Like any other organ in your body, your brain needs excellent nutrition to function optimally. It also needs a lot of antioxidants to prevent age-related decline. Now, the thing is, it used to be much easier to give your brain and body the nutrition they needed by simply eating a balanced diet.
Today, however, very few people actually eat a balanced diet and, even those who do, don’t typically get all the nutrients that they need. That’s because plants, fruits, and vegetables have all been depleted of their nutritional content in the last few decades. That leaves your brain wanting things like carotenoids, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and other specific nutrients that are not easily available in store-bought food. Even worse is that, even if you’re super-focused on your nutrition, you might not be getting the recommended amount of vitamins, minerals, and more than your brain needs to stay healthy and top-tier active.
Here is a list of the best foods and supplements that you can use to biohack your brain, keep it healthy, and prevent (or at least postpone) cognitive-decline:
- Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon. Your brain takes the omega-3’s that are found in fatty fish and builds nerve cells with them, the basic building blocks of memory and learning.
- Turmeric, which significantly reduces inflammation.
- Coffee- A nootropic, coffee is great for immediate concentration, alertness, and improved mood.
- Blueberries help reduce oxidation and protect your brain.
- Broccoli, which has vitamin K and powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities.
- Pumpkin Seeds, which are loaded with zinc, copper, iron, and magnesium, all of which are super-important for brain health.
- Very Dark Chocolate, which has flavonoids. Scientists have found that the flavonoids in chocolate gather in the brain’s learning and memory-related areas and help slow down mental decline.
- Walnuts and other nuts. Nuts contain high amounts of vitamin E, healthy fats, and antioxidants that protect the brain from the damage of free radicals.
- Eggs, which contain choline. Well, eggs have amazingly high amounts of many vitamins and minerals, choline is the most important natural chemical in eggs. Choline is used to create acetylcholine, which is a memory and mood neurotransmitter.
- Green Tea contains L-theanine. L-theanine is an amino acid that can increase GABA activity, the neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety and increases positive mood. Also, green tea has high amounts of polyphenols and antioxidants that have been shown to protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Biohacking Your Brain with Meditation
If you’re looking for a brain bio-hack that’s easy to do and costs practically nothing, meditation is your solution. This ancient practice is simply a matter of sitting quietly and focusing on your breath, nothing more. However, as simple as it sounds, meditation is a powerful stress reliever and significantly reduces anxiety. Not only that, but the “neuroplasticity” of your brain is increased through meditation. (That’s its ability to function, acquire new information, form new memories, etc.)
Researchers have found that 10 minutes of meditation a day can improve your brain’s health, improve cognitive functioning, and lower feelings of anxiety and stress at the same time. Not so bad for an activity that’s relaxing, easy to do, and doesn’t cost a cent.
Biohacking Your Brain with Better Sleep
Sleeping is one of the most important activities you can do for your brain (as well as your body). When you sleep, your brain repairs itself, forms new connections, and takes short-term memories and puts them into your long-term memory bank. Also, when you sleep, your body cleans a metabolic waste called beta-amyloid out of your brain. Beta-amyloid, while not particularly well-researched as of yet, has been shown to build up in the brains of people who have Alzheimer’s disease.
The problem for millions of people is that getting seven or eight hours of excellent, relaxing, and rejuvenating sleep is extremely difficult. The good news is that, if you use the methods in our article today to biohack your brain, better sleep should come naturally. Meditation, for example, can help you sleep much better. Filling your body with highly nutritious food can help you sleep better also. Using music to fall asleep at night is something that millions of people also do, and it works like a charm.
There are, as we’ve seen, several excellent biohacks that can be used on the brain. Most are relatively inexpensive although, truth be told, some of the foods and supplements you can use to biohack your brain will cost a few bucks. In our opinion, however, those few extra bucks are well worth being spent. Frankly, protecting your brain is incredibly important and should be at the top of your “to-do” list. Using the biohacks that we talked about above, you can give your brain a fighting chance to stay clear, cognizant, and uncorrupted as you get older.
We sure hope that you enjoyed this article and that it gave you the answers you were searching for. If you have more questions, or would like to leave a comment, please do so in the space below. Also, if you have any interesting or amazing stories about biohacks that you’ve used for your own brain, please share them with us! Thanks!