Your brain is the centre of control in your body. All your activities are coordinated and executed with the help of your brain. It is the grey matter of the brain that controls the memory, the senses, emotions, speech as well as impulse control. An increased amount of grey matter improves IQ and increases the brain’s efficiency.
What is grey matter?
The central nervous system of the human body consists of two types of tissue: grey matter and white matter. The grey matter consists of nerve cell bodies and synapses.
The grey matter is responsible for muscle control, sensory perception and all the other vital functions of your body. Hence, the amount of grey matter in your brain determines the efficiency of your decision making and other cognitive functions.
A decrease in the grey matter leads to memory impairment and diminished brain functions. But the good thing is, you can increase grey matter in your brain by natural ways like:
6 – Natural Ways to increase grey matter in your brain
1. Physical activities and exercise:
Doing physical activities, yoga and exercises significantly increase your grey matter. Yoga helps you to synchronise your breathing and posture. This synchronisation helps the mind to calm down and concentrate. It increases the supply of blood to your brain thereby increasing the grey matter.
Aerobic exercises also have a direct relation to the amount of grey matter. A good amount of exercise contributes to making a bigger brain. A study published in 2006 found that aerobic exercises increase both the grey and the white matter. According to a study conducted by William Killgore, aerobic exercises lead to enhanced cognitive functions in children and elderly adults. The study also found that those who walked at least 72 blocks per week had significantly higher grey-matter volume.
Mindfulness meditation is one of the simplest ways to increase grey matter through natural ways. Meditation refers to paying undivided attention to the details of the present moment. You can practice mindfulness by sitting cross-legged with a straight back and closed eyes.
Doing meditation for 10-15 minutes every day can significantly increase grey matter in your brain. Meditation not just increases the amount of grey matter it also reduces stress, enables clear thinking, and increases your capacity for empathy.
People who meditate regularly have increased amounts of grey matter in the sensory regions, and the auditory and sensory cortex. Meditation also fosters valuable brainwave patterns such as alpha, theta, and delta.
3. Video games:
Believe it or not, you can get a bigger brain and an increased amount of grey matter by playing video games. A study was conducted by scientists from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and Macquarie University of Sydney.
In this study, they scanned the brains of professional video gamers using functional MRI. They found that their brains had increased connectivity between particular subregions in the insular cortex, and also the volume of grey matter.
Playing video games enable you to learn faster, and also enhances your problem-solving skills. Certain action video games require a high level of attention and hand-eye coordination. These action video games help the player make a fast and accurate decision, it increases concentration level and makes the person shape.
4. Omega-3 Fatty acids:
According to a University of Pittsburgh study, Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with increased grey matter. Omega-3 fatty acids are usually found in fatty fish like salmon.
Eating food that is rich in Omega-3 fatty acid can help you increase grey matter in your brain. Mixing an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement into your arsenal is also a good option. It is preferable to consume natural Omega-3 supplements.
According to a study published in Neurology in 2014, having healthy omega-3 fatty acids circulating in your body are linked to bigger brains. People who had twice the levels of omega-3s DHA and EPA than others had about .7 percent larger brain volume. People with high omega-3 also had a 2.7 percent larger hippocampus. Hippocampus of the brain controls memory.
5. Intermittent Fasting:
Intermittent fasting is the practice of fasting for about 16 hours a day, and eating your meals during a given 8-hour period. The idea is to do a small fast every day, and studies have indicated that practising intermittent fasting can thicken certain parts of your brain and boost the brain function.
Not only does fit increase grey matter in your brain, but it also increases the production of brain neurotropic growth factor. Intermittent fasting for women has gained popularity for its brain fog-clearing capabilities.
Intermittent fasting is very convenient to do. For example, you can take your last meal of the day at 7 p.m and then break the fast the next morning at around 9 or 10 a.m.
Intermittent fasting also makes you less insulin resistant and staving off fat and insulin-related diseases. It reduces the level of circulating IGF-1 and increases insulin sensitivity without lowering the resting metabolic rate.
6. Learning and training:
The strength of your brain is a product of the skills and learning you acquire over your lifetime. With age, people tend to get comfortable and don’t push themselves mentally. Learning a new skill is a great way to improve IQ and increase the amount of grey matter in your brain. German researchers published a study in Nature in 2004.
In this study, 24 non-jugglers were divided into two groups. One group was to practice juggling for three months. The scientists performed MRI scans on the brains of the volunteers, before and after they learned to juggle.
The study found that volunteers in the group that did not practice juggling showed no difference in their brain scans. However, the volunteers who had now acquired the skill demonstrated an increase in grey matter.
Challenging your brain to learn a new skill helps in increasing the grey matter. Learning to play a musical instrument is also beneficial for the brain.
So, these are some of the natural ways of increasing the grey matter and making sure that your brain has enhanced cognitive abilities. It’s important to live your life in the pursuit of learning and increased efficiency in everything you do. And what’s better way to do it that than work on your grey cells.