Five Ways to Boost Brain Power

Your brain needs more than the bare minimum to perform at optimal capacity. Follow these five tips now, and your brain will thank you later.
Kerry Lengyel
Published: January 23, 2018
There are obvious things that we know will keep our brains healthy from childhood into old age — keeping cholesterol low, managing blood pressure, regulating blood sugar levels. But your brain needs much more than just the bare minimum to stay on top of its game.

According to Medical News Today, there are five things you can do to achieve optimal brain health.

1. Get physically active.
Physical activity in youngsters affects brain structure and improves academic performance. Physical activity at an old age improves memory and thinking ability. Whether you exercise for 20 minutes or an hour, there are proven benefits to your brain when you move your body.

Tip: Aerobic exercise has been shown to increase brain volume in regions that support short-term memory and improve cognitive function.

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2. Eat a Mediterranean diet.
This year, scrap your meal plan for a new, brain-boosting Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and olive oil. If you’re wary about switching it up completely, focus on eating more nuts first — they strengthen your brainwave frequencies related to cognition, learning, memory and other similar functions.

Tip: Pistachios generate the highest gamma wave response, which is tied to information retention and cognitive processing, while peanuts generate the highest delta wave response, which is tied to immunity and natural healing.

3. Expand your cognitive abilities with brain training.
Although brain games and apps have received mixed reviews from the scientific community over the years, many studies show that brain exercise is a good thing.

Tip: Try using the strategic memory improvement technique called “memory of loci,” which is a mnemonic device that uses familiar objects or landmarks to help you memorize an unlimited amount of information in a specific order.

4. Learn a new language.
You didn’t take four years of a language in high school for no reason. Research shows the more languages one learns, the sharper the mind is. Learning new languages can even slow down normal cognitive decline as you age.

Tip: Duolingo is a free language-learning website and app that you can use to teach yourself any of six languages: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese.

5. Play a musical instrument.
Young or old, almost everyone enjoys listening to music. But actually strumming a guitar or playing a piano can have a protective effect on your brain. Exposure to music can improve brain development at a young age and decrease cognitive decline as you age.

Tip: The ukulele is one of the easiest and most inexpensive instruments to learn how to play as an adult, followed by the harmonica and the bongos.

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