"The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity."-- Douglas Horton
Brain teasers are more than just simple puzzles and riddles. Technically, a brain teaser is a type of puzzle or brain game, often involving lateral thinking That means to solve it, you’ll have to use a creative, less straightforward thought process, and the solution won’t be right in front of you.
THE TRAVELING TRAIN
(picture: Japanese Bullet Train)
A 220 yard long train, travelling at 90 mph, enters a tunnel of 3 miles in length.
How much time will elapse from the moment the front of the train enters the tunnel till the moment the end of the train clears the tunnel?
HINT: The formula for calculating speed is speed = distance ÷ time.
Be the first to submit your answer below and win a free lunch or a prize...
All submissions are replied to with the correct answer.
The human brain is one of the most powerful organs in the body.
It allows us to think, store memories, analyze, and make judgments while at the same time it controls other areas automatically, such as breathing.
The human brain has been listed as the ‘original computer’ and has evolved over time in both size and complexity.
The human brain weighs 3 pounds and is made up of 60% fat. The brain on average makes up 2% of the human body weight. The brain consists of the cerebrum, the brainstem, and the cerebellum.
It has billions of cells and trillions of connections. The brain is the most complex organ in the human body. Most scientists still don’t understand how the brain works!
Below are some mind-blowing facts about the brain...
Weighs 3 pounds
3 units: forebrain, midbrain, hindbrain; each unit has its own function, but all must work together
Largest part is cerebrum
Cerebrum is divided into 2 hemispheres
Cerebrum’s outer layers is composed of many folds of gray matter
It uses 20% of body’s oxygen to complete tasks
Average brain has 100 billion neurons that communicate messages to each other throughout the nervous system
It processes information at a speed of 250 mph
It’s estimated that we have between 25,000 and 50,000 thoughts per day
Even during sleep, the brain continues to work—processing information, creating memories, and clearing out toxins
It has no pain receptors, so it does feel pain
It can only survive up to 6 minutes without oxygen
Brain builiding foods...
"Brain foods" are those foods which improve brain function. A diet heavy in omega-3 fatty acids, for example can help keep the blood vessels of the brain clear of blockages and allow nerve cells to function at a high level. So you may want to eat your fish twice a week (A major source of omega-3s) or take a supplement.
It is equally important, however, to recognize the foods that diminish brain power. Alcohol and some other drugs just kill brain cells directly, but there are many less obvious brain-attacking foods. Artery clogging foods can lead to restricted blood flow to the brain, and high-glycemic-index foods can cause terrible blood-sugar swings that make both your body and your mind irritable and sluggish.
For the impatient among you, I'll skip straight to the list of good brain foods and foods that are bad for mental function. Afterwards you'll find a more thorough explanation, if you want it.
Very Good Foods For the Brain...
Beef, lean organic
Bad Brain Foods...
Artificial Food Colorings
White Flour Foods
Brain Foods Explained...
As mentioned, alcohol just goes in and starts killing brain cells. Nicotine causes constriction of capillaries, which restricts blood flow to the brain, which reduces the delivery of good things like glucose and oxygen. Hydrogenated fats are more subtle--causing heart disease and general clogging of the arteries that eventually results in the same effects long-term as the short-term effect of nicotine. Since all three of these can kill you in addition to hurting your brain, you may want to replace them with healthy foods and drinks.
Artificial colorings and flavorings have their own bad effects according to many studies, especially in children.
The rest of the foods on the "bad brain foods" list are bad because of the unhealthy fluctuations in blood sugar levels they cause. If you don't want to memorize the list, just remember to stay away from all drugs, refined flour and sugar products (potatoes aren't so good either, if you overdo it). Let me explain further.
Your brain runs on blood sugar, using an incredible 20% of the carbohydrates you take in. It prefers to take it's blood sugar in a certain way, however. Simply put, it likes a steady supply, and dislikes wild fluctuations. Simple carbohydrates - processed flour products and sugary foods - cause wild fluctuations. These cause a rush of sugar into the bloodstream, which triggers a balancing rush of insulin, leading to a plunging blood sugar level (hypoglycemia ). This can cause the release of adrenal hormones (called a "sugar high") that squeezes stored sugar from the liver, sending blood sugar levels back up.
Now you're on a blood sugar roller-coaster, with "sugar highs" and "sugar blues." The ups and downs of blood sugar and adrenal hormones can also stimulate neurotransmitter imbalance, causing you to feel fidgety, irritable, inattentive, and even sleepy. This is not the most conducive state for efficient brain function. Since simple carbohydrates have been implicated in diabetes as well, you may want to consider cutting back on these.
Good Foods For The Brain...
The best brain foods are complex carbohydrates. The molecules in these are long, so it takes longer for the intestines to break them down into the simple sugars the body can use. Because of this, they provide a source of steady energy rather than a surge followed by a plunge.
The rate at which sugar from a food enters brain cells and other cells is measured by the "glycemic index" (GI). Foods with a high glycemic index stimulate the pancreas to secrete a lot of insulin which starts the roller coaster. Foods with a low glycemic index don't push the pancreas to secrete much insulin, so blood sugar levels are steadier.
Fruits: grapefruit, apples, cherries, oranges, and grapes have a low glycemic index. Whole fruit ranks lower than juices, because fiber in the fruit slows the absorption of fruit sugar.
Cereals and grains: oatmeal and bran are best. Spaghetti and rice have a relatively low GI. Corn flakes sugar-coated cereals, and white bread have higher GIs.
Vegetables and legumes: Legumes, including soybeans, kidney beans, chick peas, and lentils are great brain foods. They have the lowest glycemic index of any food. Potatoes and carrots have a much higher GI.
Dairy products: Milk products have low glycemic indexes; higher than legumes, but lower than fruits.
How you prepare and eat your food also affects the way the body and brain uses it. Eating sugary food after a meal of legumes, for example, may slow the absorption of the sugar and prevent the "sugar blues." Fats can also slow sugar absorption, so ice cream will have a lower glycemic index than low fat yogurt with sugary fruit. Over-cooking some starches can be similar to pre-digesting them, thus causing them to feed their sugars into the blood too quickly.
Proteins affect brain performance because they provide amino acids, from which neurotransmitters are made. Neurotransmitters carry signals from one brain cell to another. The better you feed these messengers, the more efficiently they deliver the goods. The amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine, are precursors of neurotransmitters, the substances from which neurotransmitters are made. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid and it must be obtained from the diet. Tyrosine is not an essential amino acid because the body can make it if need be.
Some high protein, low carbohydrate, high tyrosine foods that are likely to rev up the brain are seafood, meat, eggs, soy, and dairy. High carbohydrate, low protein, high tryptophan foods that are likely to calm the brain include: pastries and desserts, bean burritos, chocolate, nuts and seeds (e.g., almonds, filberts, sunflower and sesame seeds), and legumes.
From here it just gets complicated. People respond differently to differing ratios of protein to carbohydrates in meals, and there are also subtle sensitivities (not quite allergies) to foods that vary from person to person. Experimentation is called for, and since it is your body, you have to do it yourself.
"One cannot think well, love well or sleep well if one has not dined well."
The foods you eat directly affects the performance of your brain. It has been proven that by eating the right food, you can boost your IQ, improve your mood, be more emotionally stable, sharpen your memory and keep your mind young.
If you give your brain the right nutrients, you will be able to think quicker, have a better memory, be better coordinated and balanced and have improved concentration.
The three key brain foods to boost your brainpower and keep your brain healthy and your mental processes operating effectively are nutritious food, water and oxygen:
Water makes up 83% of the blood and acts as a transport system, delivering nutrients to the brain and eliminating toxins. Your brain needs to be fully hydrated so that the circuitry works well and it functions at optimum levels. Water is essential for concentration and mental alertness.
Studies have shown that most people are permanently partially dehydrated. This means that their brain is working considerably below its capacity and potential.
A study by Trevor Brocklebank at Leeds University in the UK discovered that schoolchildren with the best results in class were those who drank up to eight glasses of water a day. Therefore, you should drink at least 2 liters of water everyday.
(source: Bill Lucas, Power Up Your Mind, 2001)
O2 ~ Breathe!
After a big meal, most of your body's oxygen is being used by your stomach and digestive system as it digests the food you have eaten. This means that your brain is being denied much of the oxygen it needs to function effectively and stay mentally alert. This is why you tend to feel sleepy after a big meal. Therefore, you should try to eat little and often as well as eating your main meal either at lunchtime or before 7pm.
An Intelligent Diet
Boost your brainpower by feeding your brain 'brain foods'. Here are 4 tips for an intelligent diet:
1. Balance your glucose - it provides fuel for your brain. Try to eat carbohydrate foods in the evening as it promotes relaxation and sleep.
2. Eat essential fats - ensure your diet is rich in omega-3 fats found in oily fish.
3. Include plenty of protein rich foods in your diet. Proteins are essential to make neurotransmitters which are vital for the thinking process. Try to eat a protein based lunch to optimize your mental performance and alertness throughout the day.
4. Eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals to 'fine tune' your mind.
5. Drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day to keep your brain well hydrated.
6. Oxygenate your brain by exercising and eating little and often. Eat your main meal before 7pm.
Brain Foods ~ Protein
Protein is found in meat, fish, milk and cheese. Protein provides the building blocks for most of the body's tissues, nerves, internal organs (including brain and heart). Proteins are used to make neurotransmitters and are essential to improve mental performance.
Brain Foods ~ Carbohydrate
Carbohydrates enhance the absorption of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin in the brain. Within about thirty minutes of eating a carbohydrate meal, you will feel more calm and relaxed. The effects will last several hours. Grains, fruits, and vegetables are key sources of carbohydrates.
Digestion causes the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose (sugar) which is the brains primary source of energy. If your glucose levels fluctuate too much, you may experience mental confusion, dizziness and if severe, convulsions and loss of consciousness.
Brain Foods ~ Fat
The brain is more than 60% fat. This is because the brain cells are covered by the myelin sheath which is composed of approximately 75% fat. Fats also play a crucial role as messengers. They regulate key aspects of the immune system, blood circulation, inflammation, memory and mood. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to the optimum performance of your brain. Lack of omega-3 fats in your diet can lead to depression, poor memory, low IQ, learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADD and many more mental disorders.
To ensure that your diet is rich in omega-3 fats, ensure that you eat plenty of oily fish like salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, herring, mackerel and anchovies.
Brain Foods ~ Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential for the growth and functioning of the brain.
The 'B' complex vitamins are particularly important for the brain and play a vital role in producing energy. Vitamins A, C and E are powerful antioxidants and promote and preserve memory in the elderly.
Minerals are also critical to mental functioning and performance. Magnesium and manganese are needed for brain energy. Sodium, potassium and calcium are important in the thinking process and they facilitate the transmission of messages.
How to keep your mind sharp: Preventive action
Keeping memory loss at bay as you age isn't just about keeping your mind in shape, though that's a major component. You can maintain your sharp mind as you get older by making healthy choices that keep the rest of your body in top form. Follow these tips now to prevent memory loss later.
Exercise your mind
Just as physical activity keeps your body strong, mental activity keeps your mind sharp and agile. One way to do this is to continually challenge yourself by learning new skills. If you continue to learn and challenge yourself, your brain continues to grow, literally. An active brain produces new connections between nerve cells that allow cells to communicate with one another. This helps your brain store and retrieve information more easily, no matter what your age.
How can you challenge yourself? Try:
§ Learning to play a musical instrument
§ Playing Scrabble or doing crossword puzzles
§ Interacting with others
§ Switching careers or starting a new one
§ Starting a new hobby, such as crafts, painting, biking or bird-watching
§ Learning a foreign language
§ Staying informed about what's going on in the world
§ A mentally stimulating job, taking classes that interest you or even just reading more can help you maintain your memory longer as you age.
Stay physically active
Research links physical activity with slower mental decline. Exercise increases blood flow to all parts of your body, including your brain, and might promote cell growth there. Exercise also makes you feel more energetic and alert. The best part is that you can make it fun. Pick an activity you enjoy, whether it's doing yardwork or walking your dog. Exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
Start by simply increasing your physical activity level. Park your car farther away and walk the extra distance. Take the stairs instead of an elevator. When watching TV, ride a stationary bike. Just get moving. Regular physical activity can help you think clearer, feel better and lower your risk of many diseases.
Develop healthy eating habits
Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Many of these contain antioxidants — substances that protect and nourish brain cells. And antioxidants may help prevent cholesterol from damaging the lining of your arteries and slowing blood flow to your brain. Foods high in antioxidants include colorful fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, berries, broccoli, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. In most cases, you're far more likely to gain health benefits from eating whole foods than by taking supplements, in pill, capsule or other forms.
Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all
People who drink heavily for years can experience permanent brain damage due to poor nutrition, and they're at higher risk of developing memory problems and dementia. Drink alcohol moderately, if at all. For women and anyone 65 or older, that means no more than one drink daily. For men under 65, drink no more than two drinks daily.
Evidence shows that moderate alcohol consumption may prevent memory loss, though it isn't clear how. But don't use this as a reason to start drinking if you don't already drink.
Manage your stress
Keep your stress to a minimum. When you're stressed, your brain releases hormones that can damage your brain if you're exposed to them for days at a time. And chronic stress can make you feel depressed or anxious — feelings that can interfere with the way your brain processes memories.
Take a break. Even if you have only a few minutes to yourself, use it to breathe deeply and relax. Then look for long-term stress solutions, such as simplifying your life, getting some exercise or cutting out some activities.
Protect your head when exercising
Head trauma can increase your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. People who participate in sports such as running and swimming, which have a reduced risk of head trauma, have lower rates of memory loss. Take precautions to protect your head; for example, wear a helmet when riding your bike.
You can add memory loss to the long list of health problems that come from smoking. Smokers may have twice the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease as do people who have never smoked. Stop now — it's never too late. If you quit smoking now, you can still reduce your risk of memory loss later in life.
Talk to your doctor
Discuss your concerns about memory loss with your doctor. He or she can look at your overall health and come up with other strategies for preventing memory loss as you age. For instance, if you have a family history of Alzheimer's disease, other strategies for preventing that disease might prove helpful to you.
Seeing your doctor regularly also means you'll have routine medical exams to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol level and blood sugar level. Also make sure your thyroid gland is functioning normally. These are relatively easy to check and are good indicators of what's going on inside your body.
Our brain is our command center!
10 Amazing Facts About the Brain...