As a programmer, I am constantly using my brain. It is a requirement of my job, and I keep brain “fit” by learning new coding techniques and applying them to solve all kinds of problem. It is part and parcel of a normal workday for me. (Having an incredible amount of curiosity doesn’t hurt either :)) I also ride a bicycle almost daily, which does quite a bit for brain fitness.
But, what about everybody else? How is the normal, average individual expected to maintain their brain fitness? Try these suggestions:
1) Eat your fruits and veggies. In one study of over 1,800 elderly men and women, researchers found that those who drank fruit or vegetable juice at least three times a week had a 75% less risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those who drank less than one glass per week.
2) Eat a healthy, balanced diet – and don’t forget your fats. One source of fat that appears to be vital to rebuilding and maintaining brain cells is fish. The omega-3 fatty acids that are found in high concentrations in cold-water fish like tuna and salmon, as well as in shellfish, are an important ingredient in building neural pathways that function properly. Nutritionists suggest including a source of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet at least three times a week. Tuna casserole, anyone?
3) Get social! In a study of over 2,500 men, those who had the least contact with friends and family were nearly 3 times as likely to develop dementia as those who had more active social lives. Social activity and maintaining family and social ties seem to stimulate the brain cells and keep them from atrophying.
4) Stay physically active. In one study of almost 500 adult children of parents with Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers found that those who exercised regularly scored better on memory and problem solving tasks than those who were sedentary. It may be that exercise, which promotes healthy circulation and gets the blood flowing through your entire body, helps nourish the brain by getting more nutrients to it on a regular basis.
4) Exercise your brain. Recent studies strongly suggest that elderly people – including those with Alzheimer’s Disease, can improve their memories with practice. Researcher suggest that activities like crossword puzzles, memory games and challenging mental activities could help the brain create new neural pathways as old brain cells die off. Get out the word-search books and have some mental fun!
An easy and fun way to get that essential brain exercise is to visit Cognifit.com