Thursday, January 26, 2012

Useful Web Find: 7 Ways to Boost your Brain

Here's another interesting article I found on the web. You can read it fully here.

I only score three out of the seven ways I can boost my brain. Gotta start doing the other four (often).

Exercise reverses brain aging.
Aerobic exercise boosts not only speed and sharpness of thought but also the volume of brain tissue. As little as 50 minutes of brisk walking 3 times a week was found to have this brain-expanding effect.

Tip: For an added boost, walk in the park: volunteers whose course took them through a tree-filled setting performed 20% better on memory and attention tests than those who walked downtown.


Google Often
When you search the Internet, you engage key centers in your brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning.

And these few clicks may be more mentally stimulating than reading. Internet searching uses neural circuitry that's not activated during reading--but only in people with prior Internet experience. MRI results showed almost 3 times more brain activity in regular Internet searchers than in first-timers, suggesting that repeated Googling can be a great way to build cognitive strength over time.

Tip: Spend around 20 minutes a few days a week searching topics you've always wanted to learn more about—regardless of how seemingly frivolous: Whether you're researching a celebrity's latest pratfalls or musical harmony, the benefits to your brain are the same.

Brush and Floss
Oral health is linked to brain health.

Gingivitis and periodontal disease were associated with worse cognitive function throughout adult life—not just in later years.

Tip: Follow your dentist's advice—floss daily and brush your teeth for 2 minutes at least once a day. 

Drink Sparingly
Limiting cocktails is beneficial for cognitive function.

Keep your alcohol consumption within the safe and healthful limit: no more than one drink a day. The more alcohol a person drinks, the smaller his or her total brain volume becomes, according to a recent study. The link between drinking and reduced brain volume was stronger in women—probably because smaller people are more susceptible to alcohol's effects.

Tip: If you like a glass of white wine with dinner, make a spritzer by replacing some of the wine with sparkling water. You'll cut your intake even more.

Eat Blueberries
Purple-hued fruits may help sharpen your thought processes.

Researchers theorize that anthocyanin—the dark blue pigment found in blueberries—is responsible for cognitive changes; it contains chemicals that may cross the blood-brain barrier and lodge in regions that govern learning and memory.

Tip: Stock up on blueberries when they're on sale, and sprinkle them over your cereal or yogurt or fold them into your smoothie. Off-season, buy them frozen; they're every bit as nutritious as fresh.

 
Do Puzzles, you'll knock a decade off your cognitive age.
In a study of older men and women, those who participated in 10 60-to 75-minute sessions of brain-boosting exercise sharpened their mental abilities so much that their brains performed like those of people more than 10 years younger.

Tip: Start small—whip out a booklet of basic puzzles when you're riding to work on the train or waiting in a long checkout line. As your skills improve, graduate to more challenging brainteasers.

Meditate
More than just a great stress reliever, meditation can also enhance your brain’s gray matter

Participants in a new study appear to have experienced growth in the cortex, an area of the brain that controls memory, language, and sensory processing. In addition, meditators in another study performed better than their non-meditating counterparts on a series of mental acuity tests.

Tip: Make the practice a regular habit—the participants in a recent study meditated an average of 40 minutes a day. But you can start with 15 on your lunch break or before you leave for work. Sit upright, close your eyes, and focus on whatever you're experiencing in the present moment, whether it's birds chirping in the distance or just the sound of your own breathing. 

 

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