When was the last time you thought about the composition of your brain and what makes it tick?
Unless you are actively involved in a scientific field that involves the brain or you are a neuroscience enthusiast, thoughts about the structure and how different parts of the brain carry different functions are rare.
That’s not a sign of inferior education or a lack of interest. It’s just that, unless there’s a problem, regular folks don’t think about separate brain functions. Instead, we think about the body and mind as a whole and look for ways to care and nurture for the entire being.
Still, it does help to be mindful of the brain structure, how it’s designed, and what you can do to give this amazing organ the best chance of developing throughout your lifetime. Moving forward, we’ll discuss the basic structures of the brain and how they work together to help us enjoy life.
The Brain Stem
Think about your favorite flower. Now think about its structure – all flowers have a stem that attaches them to the rest of the plant and provides nourishment and information.
The same is valid for the brain (in an oversimplified way). The stem is regarded by many as one of the most important parts of the brain because it connects the brain with the nervous system (it connects to the spine).
It’s also the part that controls physical motion and supports basic functions such as breathing, heartbeat, hearing, vision, and more.
“The little brain” as it’s also known, the cerebellum is in charge of movement, posture, coordination, balance, and so on. In fact, you can easily see how your life would be without a properly-functioning cerebellum when you consume a little too much alcohol.
Alcohol impairs the function of this part of the brain, which is why you feel the room is spinning and you become unsteady or even fall down.
The Cerebrum Or The Cortex
This is the part we see when we look at a brain (or a depiction of it), as it is the largest part. Divided into the two well-known hemispheres (right and left), this is the newest part of the brain and it takes care of more complex tasks such as cognitive thoughts and actions.
The cerebrum has four lobes, and each has different functions in the body. For instance, visual processing and deciphering colors and shapes happen in the occipital lobe (place in the back of the cerebrum).
On the other hand, the frontal lobe controls reasoning, problem-solving, personality, and other complex functions. That’s why people who suffer a head trauma that damages their frontal lobe may have a sudden change in personality.
How To Take Care Of Your Brain?
While the brain is the most well-guarded organ in the body, it can still suffer from diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, infections, and more). Therefore, in order to reduce the risks, it’s important to adopt a healthy lifestyle with a brain-friendly diet.
Foods rich in Omega-3 acids (fatty fish), veggies (broccoli, leafy greens), fruits (blueberries, oranges), eggs, dark chocolate, green tea, pumpkin seeds, nuts, turmeric, and others have the right minerals and nutrients for the brain.
Plus, the brain works on the use-it-or-lose-it principle. This is why it’s easy to forget how to play the piano if you don’t practice over a long period of time and why we get better at the things we practice deliberately. So, if you want your brain to stay young, you need to keep it on its toes.
Play sports that require coordination and focus, work on solving complex problems, read, learn new things, and enjoy life!
The brain is an incredibly complex organ about which we still have tons to learn. But it helps to learn what we know in order to take better care of all its nooks and crannies.