These 10 Things Literally Increase the Size of Your Brain

This article was originally published by our friend Dr. Axe

Several breakthroughs in brain science over the last few years suggest humans actually have the power to increase brain size. This can change your life in so many ways, from increasing memory to harnessing the power of your brain to create new neurons.


Ways to Increase the Size of Your Brain

Strike a pose. Yoga combines breathing, holding postures and meditation, a trifecta that not only protects the integrity of your brain, but thickens layers of your cerebral cortex, too. Brain scans now reveal that yoga changes your brain chemistry in positive ways. It helps build more robust levels of gray matter in brain areas involved with pain modulation. (1)

Yoga’s neuroprotective properties not only spare the brain from gray matter loss, but they seem to build up gray matter volume in certain regions of the brain, too. This is important because losing gray matter can lead to memory impairment, emotional problems, poorer pain tolerance and decreased cognitive functioning.

In 2015, researchers from McGill University and the National Institutes of Health found that consistency in your practice matters, too. The more years of yoga practice under someone’s belt was associated with positive changes in the left hemisphere, including increasing gray matter volumes in clusters located in the left insula, left frontal operculum, right middle temporal gyrus and left orbitofrontal cortex. These areas of the brain are involved in:

  • Perception
  • Motor control
  • Self-awareness
  • Cognitive functioning
  • Interpersonal experience
  • Inhibition
  • Impulse control
  • Social behavior
  • Memory processing
  • Emotion and rewarding decision making (23456)

If you haven’t been practicing for years, don’t worry, your brain is still changing. Those same researchers found that the number of hours of weekly practice correlated with gray matter volume in different areas of the brain, including the hippocampus, primary visual cortex, primary somatosensory cortex/suprior parietal lobule and precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex.

These areas of the brain include functions related to:

  • Self-consciousness
  • Self awareness
  • Limbic system (emotion regulation) (7)

Juggle.

It’s clear juggling increases hand/eye coordination, but what’s going on inside your brain while juggling is absolutely incredible. Juggling doesn’t just increase your brain’s grey matter, the part of the brain that contains nerve cells’ bodies. It also helps a part of your brain that enhances cellular connections grow. In 2009, scientists from the University of Oxford discovered juggling bulks up your brain’s “white matter,” too. White matter consists of parts of the brain that contain mostly axons. These are outgrowths of nerve cells that serve as cell connectors. (8)

Study participants practiced juggling for a half hour daily for six weeks. Before and after diffusion tensor brain imaging showed that, while the white matter in the brains of the non-juggling control group did not change, the jugglers enjoyed more white matter in the parietal lobe part of the brain. And get this: The white matter bulk up occurred in all jugglers, regardless of how well they could juggle. (9) The parietal lobe helps involves spacial awareness, proprioception and processing the sense of touch. (10)

Meditate.

Numerous studies suggest engaging in meditation structurally changes your brain for the better. In a 2011, Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital researchers published a breakthrough study showing that guided meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction led to measurable brain changes in areas involved with human memory, compassion and stress. In fact, practicing mindfulness meditation for just eight weeks changes your brain in a way that MRI scanners can detect. (Mindfulness meditation involves becoming aware of what is true moment by moment; to be present and turn attention to what is happening at that moment in a nonjudgemental way.) (11)

MRI images showed more brain matter density in the compassion, learning and memory centers in the hippocampus compared to pre-meditation scans. Interestingly, gray matter in the amygdala, a stress and anxiety center, shrank. All of this occurred with an average of 27 minutes of meditation practice a day for just eight weeks. (1213)

We know from earlier studies that that mindfulness-based stress reduction bolsters the posterior cingulate cortex, the temporo-parietal junction and the cerebellum areas of the brain. These areas involve learning and memory, emotion regulation, empathy and sense of self.

Prefrontal cortex and right anterior insula areas of the brain were thicker among meditators. These areas impact sensory processing. Researchers say based on the brain-sparing properties meditation has, it could be a way to offset age-related cortical thinning.  (14)

Learn to play an instrument (particularly at a young age.)

 Learning to play music literally increases the size of your brain, with the biggest impact occurring in children taking up music before the age of 7. In fact, scientists are looking to music to treat a range of learning disabilities. The details are astounding. Long-term, high-level musical training results in musicians with a better to integrate sensory information from hearing, touch and sight.

So how does this work? Scientists explain that brain circuits involved in musical improvisation are shaped by systematic training, leading to less reliance on working memory and more extensive connectivity within the rain. Some of the brain changes that occur with musical training reflect the automation of task (much as one would recite a multiplication table) and the acquisition of highly specific sensorimotor and cognitive skills required for various aspects of musical expertise. (15)

“Playing a musical instrument is a multi-sensory and motor experience that creates emotions and motions — from finger tapping to dancing — and engages pleasure and reward systems in the brain. It has the potential to change brain function and structure when done over a long period of time. Intense musical training generates new processes within the brain, at different stages of life, and with a range of impacts on creativity, cognition and learning.”— Gottfried Schlaug, MD, PhD, Harvard brain plasticity expert

And learning to play before the age 7, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, creates better connections across the corpus callosum part of the brain that connects the right and left hemispheres of the cerebrum. Music training before age 7 changes the white-matter connectivity in a way that supports a well-connected brain infrastructure into adulthood. (1617)

Check out the other natural ways to increase your brain size, too:

 

Get high-quality omega-3s.

 A 2014 study published in Neurology found that having healthy omega-3 fatty acids circulating in the body is linked to bigger brains. People with twice the levels of omega-3s DHA and EPA than others had about .7 percent larger brain volume compared to women with low levels. The high omega-3 group also had a 2.7 percent larger hippocampus. (This part of the brain involves memory.) Women ate non-fried oily fish like salmon and mackerel, plus supplements, to obtain omega-3s. (18) Just make sure your fish oil doesn’t come from fish you should never eat.

I always advise eating omega-3 foods to get your nutrients, and then supplementing if you’re still not getting enough. While the right fish oil benefits health, it’s important to avoid low-quality oils. A 2013 linked mega-doses, what most doctors would describe as 2,000-plus milligrams of fish oil, to prostate cancer. While there’s still more research to be done there, in my opinion, mega-doses aren’t necessary. If fish oil isn’t your thing, algal oilserves as a vegetarian source DHA-rich omegas. (In facts, fish are rich in omegas because they eat algae.)

Have sex.

This science will leaving you wondering how to increase your libido. Regularly having sex could serve as a natural way to manufacture more neurons. In an animal study, University of Maryland researchers discovered that sex promotes the formation of new neurons and improves cognitive function. This neuron creation is known an neurogenesis. (19) Other research shows that sex can help preserve long-term memory, protecting it during times of high stress. (20)

Don’t skip your cardio.

 Older adults can actually increase brain volume in regions of the brain linked to age-related brain structure and function decline. In fact, a landmark 2006 study found regular aerobic exercise significantly increases both gray and white matter regions of the brain. These same results were not evident in stretching and toning groups. (21)

And while I’m a huge fan of HIIT workouts because they boost the metabolism and burn more fat than traditional cardio, think twice before completely getting rid of longer, less-intense bouts of aerobic exercise. An animal study suggests moderately jogging each day results in a brain teeming with new neuron growth. In the high-intensity interval training group, not so much. (2223)

Look into intermittent fasting.

Early indications of animal studies also suggest routinely practicing intermittent fasting can beneficially thicken certain parts of your brain while boosting brain function. (24Intermittent fasting for women is becoming increasingly popular for its brain fog-clearing capabilities. This type of fast involves a brief fast where, for 12 to 16 hours or more, you don’t eat anything except water (a few exceptions apply). And while that may sound incredibly difficult to achieve, you might already be fasting without knowing it if you eat dinner at, say, 7 p.m. and break your fast in the morning between 7 to 10 a.m. — and if you only have water and black coffee or tea between.

Medical studies suggest that intermittent fasting not only increases energy, but also:

  • Makes us less insulin resistant, staving off fat and insulin related disease by reducing levels of circulating IGF-1 and increasing insulin sensitivity without lowering the resting metabolic rate (25)
  • May improve immunity, lower diabetes risk, and improve heart health (26)
  • Increases production of brain neurotropic growth factor — a protein that promotes neuron growth and protection — making us more resilient to neurological stress and thus staving off neurodegenerative diseases (27)

Keep an eye on psilocybin mushroom research.

 Psilocybin mushrooms are formally known as Psilocybe cubensis. That’s scientific name for more than 100 mushroom species that contain psilocybin and psilocin. These are two compounds that account for the hallucinations and “tripping” that occur when a person ingests these mushrooms.

While not currently legal, medical researchers are investigating these “magic mushroom” compounds to learn more about how they may benefit the brain. In a surprise finding, University of South Florida researchers discovered that low doses of the psychedelic drug erased the conditioned fear response in mice while helping the brain give birth to new neurons. In the study, published in Experimental Brain Research in 2013, researchers suggest that these mushroom compounds could serve as a treatment option for PTSD one day. (2829)


Fasting?

Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation

Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.

In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!

Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!

==> Naturally Fight & Reverse Damaging Inflammatory Effects in Your Body!


Best stretch before bed (1 minute)

Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…

What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...

=> Best stretch before bed (takes 1-min)

Enjoy!

Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody


Stop Snoring in 3 Minutes - Starting Tonight

...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!

Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?

Because you're about to learn easy throat exercises that cure (not just treated) your stubborn snoring – in 3 minutes – starting TONIGHT!

...even if straps, sprays and even torturing CPAP masks have failed you in the past.

Most people heal their snoring in just a few minutes per day using these powerful throat exercises. And they're so easy, you can do them, regardless of your age or physical shape.

Use them anytimeanywhere... even while stuck in traffic or watching TV.

Plus the results are permanent!

To learn more and test-drive the easy snoring and sleep apnea exercises for yourself, click here...

To a good night's sleep,
Rick + Lisa
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody


The #1 "bodyfat-eating" hormone...

weight loss solved

Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?

True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.

However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...

It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:

==> How to Activate Your #1 "Bodyfat-Eating" Hormone...

To your health!

PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...


#1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat

I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.

If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.

Is it…

a) Abs

b) Chest

c) Glutes

d) Hip Flexors

Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!


How to Wipe Out Chronic Inflammation (Free Book)

inflammation

In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.

See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.

Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.

inflammation book

Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!

Get the Free Inflammation Book

--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)


Free Paleo / Keto Cookbook

Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold ­­ a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...

And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!

paleohack chart

The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef ­created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes ­­ which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.

Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)

>> Get The Free Cookbook

Enjoy!


Sponsored Health Resources

In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.

NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!


1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…

--> "Red" Smoothie Helps Alabama Girl Shed 80lbs!


2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.

--> Get the 1 Day Cleanse (better than 7-day detoxes!)


3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.

--> #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat


4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!

--> Your Birth Date + Name - Free Report


5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!

--> The best way to get maximum effects of Turmeric


6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.

--> Why Some People LOOK Fat that Aren't


7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.

-->  Unlock Your Hip Flexors


Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.

Rick D.
wisemindhealthybody.com