The best brain vitamin may be the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils (especially DHA). But, these ten brain improvement tips go beyond taking supplements! These activities will help fight age-related memory loss and improve overall brain health.
Before the tips, a quip:
“The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.” ~ Thomas Edison.
That’s because the brain is one of the most important organs in your whole body. Take care of your brain now, and it’ll take care of you later. And, you’ll reduce the risk of age-related dementias, such as Alzheimer’s Disease. For more information on brain health, read The Better Brain Book.
And, here are ten ways to improve your cognitive health, memory, and concentration…
What Are the Best Brain Vitamins? 10 Brain Improvement Tips
1. Reduce your exposure to neurotoxins. Avoiding harmful chemicals, food additives, and chemically altered ingredients isn’t just good for your body, it’s crucial for your brain health. While it’s not possible to completely eliminate pollution from your environment, you can limit it. Use natural products, eat organic produce and whole foods, wear natural fragrances, and breathe fresh air.
2. Socialize with people. Talking can improve memory and cognitive health, says Oscar Ybarra, a psychologist at the University of Michigan. Further, he believes that visiting with a friend or neighbor may be as helpful as doing a crossword puzzle. About his study, he said, “Short-term social interaction lasting for just 10 minutes boosted participants’ intellectual performance as much as engaging in so-called ‘intellectual’ activities for the same amount of time.”
3. Get sound sleep. Your brain requires huge amounts of energy to function properly; sleep boosts memory and allows your brain to process information. “Though it’s not sexy, the traditional sleep advice is still effective,” says Dr Rachel Morehouse of the Atlantic Sleep Centre. Sleep little — if at all — during the day because naps rob you of sleep at night. Get up and go to bed at set times. Stay active but avoid exercising in the evening because it keeps you awake. Wind down before you go to bed with music or a book. Sleep is a brain vitamin that makes you feel great.
4. Do “neurobic” exercises. Certain cognitive exercises can create new associations between different brain parts and reduce memory loss, according to neurobiologist Lawrence Katz of Duke University. “Neurobics” is a fancy brain vitamin that can include getting dressed or showering in the dark, switching what you normally wear on one side of your body to the other (e.g., put your watch or bracelet on your opposite wrist), or even hanging pictures upside down. Anything challenging is a brain improvement tip.
5. Try new activities and games — be curious! An active brain can slow the mental decline that comes with age. “A lifetime of good mental habits pays off,” says University of Alberta researcher Dr. Dennis Foth. “People who are curious at a young age are more likely to be mentally active and stay active as they age. And we found it’s never too late to start. With a little effort, even people in their 70s and 80s can see dramatic improvements.” Brain improvement tips include memorizing poetry, learning a new musical instrument, or taking Spanish or French lessons.
6. Do the tango. Dance requires twists and turns that improve brain connections. Learning the cha-cha-cha can nourish brain cells, which translates to quick thinking in the real world. “Exercise can protect the brain against environmental toxins by counteracting free radicals and reducing inflammation,” says Michelle Schoffro Cook, author of The Brain Wash: A Powerful, All-Natural Program to Protect Your Brain. Physical activity is a brain improvement tool that promotes the growth of new brain cells and reduce memory loss.
7. Volunteer. “Good Samaritans have been found to have lower stress levels and a sense of well-being, factors that add up to better overall health, including brain health,” says Schoffro Cook. Volunteering is a brain vitamin because it increases mental functioning and improves communication skills. The key may be in the “helper’s high” – the sense of calmness and well-being that comes from helping others.
8. Strive for variety. Don’t rely on one particular activity, vitamin, or food to improve your brain health. Instead, incorporate different activities into your life. For instance, take a child hiking if you normally spend time with adults; go for a run instead of the usual yoga class. The more you challenge your brain and body, the healthier and stronger they become — and the less memory loss you’ll face. Also, strive for variety in the foods you eat.
Read 10 Best Foods for College Students – From Bean Dip to Berries to learn what foods boost brain power.
9. Limit your alcohol intake. The more alcohol you consume, the lower your brain volume becomes, which leads to memory loss and poor concentration. Scientists at Wellesley College in Massachusetts found that low to moderate levels of alcohol helps protect your health from cardiovascular disease, but heavy drinking shrinks brains. These researchers define heavy drinking as more than 14 drinks per week, moderate drinking as 8 to 14 drinks per week, and low as less than 7 drinks per week.
10. Smell the sandalwood. “Natural scents have a direct pathway to the brain, and research shows that some chemical constituents of aromatherapy oils, particularly…sesquiterpenes can cross the blood-brain barrier and increase oxygen flow to the brain,” says Schoffro Cook. Extra oxygen increases energy, immune function, positive moods, and learning. Frankincense and sandalwood are particularly effective at increasing oxygen levels in the brain — which will reduce memory loss.
To learn more about brain health, read 5 Brain Games to Improve Memory, Thinking Skills, and Brain Health.
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