January 25, 2016
In keeping with our January 11th topic where we debunked some silly myths about our most crucial organ (the brain, of course), we’re going to focus on something even more important –making our brains work better!
To keep you sharp and smart in 2016, be sure to remember these tips:
1. Get The Blood Flowing
In a 2014 study at the University of British Columbia, women who walked briskly for an hour twice weekly for six months—but not those who strength-trained or did no exercise—increased brain volume in the areas that control thinking and memory.
2. Eat Your Greens
A team of researchers with the federally funded Nurses’ Health Study tracked 13,388 women over decades and discovered that the more leafy vegetables they ate, the better they performed on learning and memory tests. That might be due in part to folic acid in veggies: A long-term study of 60 Roman Catholic nuns in Minnesota identified folic acid as a key factor in delaying the onset of dementia.
3. Avoid refined sugar – not only for your waist line.
Many of us made commitments to eat and be healthier in the new year, and now we have yet another reason to stick with those resolutions. A research group at the University of Wisconsin found that the brain may react to excess refined sugars found in food as if they were a virus or bacteria. The resulting immune response may cause cognitive deficits such as those associated with Alzheimer’s disease. If that wasn’t bad enough, high blood sugar coupled with performing a mentally challenging task is associated with high levels of cortisol—a stress hormone known to impair memory.
4. Talk to People
In 2004, scientists at Johns Hopkins University found that more social interaction was associated with less cognitive decline for people aged 50 and above. Plus, one of the major risk factors for death in the elderly is social isolation—loneliness really can kill you. And don’t forget, if you ever need a friend to talk to to sharpen up those mental faculties –you’ve always got us!