We are all familiar with the tried and true News Year’s mantra of “new year, new you.” After all, a new year offers an opportunity to usher in healthy habits for diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. What we don’t hear much about is how to promote brain health.
What better time to kick it into high gear to promote healthier cognitive function than a new year? We’ve compiled a list of the best methods to boost brain power, build new neural connections, improve memory, spark learning, and improve cognitive function.
Cheers to improved brain health in 2018!
Human brains have the unique ability to grow and change. Neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity, is the brain’s ability to change and grown at every stage and age of our lives. This neurological flexibility plays an essential role in the development or deterioration of our brains.
Neural pathways and connections can be created or separated. Gray matter, which contains most of the brain’s neuronal cell bodies, can expand or contract. From physical activity and brain-boosting nutrition plans to brain based training, regardless of your age, you can improve your brain’s neuroplasticity.
Physical activity improves neurological function and development
Regardless of your age, physical exercise improves brain health. However, this is particularly true for young children. Physical activity has been shown to directly impact a child’s brain structure from an early age, which, in turn, impacts their scholastic performance.
Research shows that active children are likely to have more gray matter in their frontal, temporal brain regions, and subcortical. Additionally, regular exercise improves reasoning ability and memory recall in ageing adults experiencing mild cognitive impairment. At any age, aerobic exercise has been shown to increases brain volume in gray matter regions, including the areas of the brain that improve cognitive function and improve support short-term memory.
The best part? Exercise doesn’t have to be over the top or intense. Research has shown that even small bursts of physical activity may have a positive impact cognitive function. From a brisk walk in the park to high-intensity interval training, daily exercise will help to promote neuro plasticity.
Consider eating brain boosting foods
A diet rich in leafy vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts is certain to put you on the path to promoting a healthier brain. Full of essential vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, these foods are known for their brain-boosting properties.
Research indicates individuals who incorporate brain-boosting nutrition plans into their daily food consumption may develop long-term brain health. In one recent study, participants who consumed a diet rich in leafy vegetables, beans, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and omega-3’s retained more brain volume over 3 years than those who did not.
Vegetables: vegetables, especially leafy greens such as spinach and kale, are considered superfoods. Superfoods are packed with folate, vitamins and antioxidants, which promotes the development of new brain cells. Eating a wide range of fresh vegetables fuels your body with essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin-K, Vitamin-C, Vitamin-E and Folic Acid, all of which are essential to cognitive development.
Whole grains: whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal and whole-grain bread, can reduce the risk for heart disease. Essentially every organ in the body is dependent on blood flow. When you improve cardiovascular health, you’re promoting healthy blood flow to the organ system, including the brain.
Fish: full of omega-3’s and vitamin D, fish is a great nutrient-rich brain food. Both vitamin D and omega-3 promote memory recall and protect the brain from memory loss. Sardines, tuna and salmon are all excellent sources of omega-3. Whenever possible, try to eat wild fish, opposed to farmed fish.
Nuts and seeds: every crunchy bite of nuts and seeds are packed with fatty acids, protein vitamins and minerals essential for brain health and cognitive development. In particular, walnuts have a significantly high concentration of DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid that promotes cognitive development in children and prevents age-related cognitive decline during the later stages of life.
Expand cognitive function with brain training
Brain training improves memory and cognitive ability. Research led by Radboud University Medical Center, in the Netherlands, found brain-based training exercises, not only can we increase our memory ability, but that the results are long-lasting.
During the course of the study, individuals with typical memory skills used a strategic memory improvement technique, known as memory of loci training, for 30 minutes each day for 40 days. The participants went from remembering approximately 26 words from a list of 72 to remembering 62 words. Through brain-based training, study participants more than doubled their memory capacity. Furthermore, improvements in memory recall were observed for at least 4 months after training.
At the Brain Workshop, our Brain Training enhances cognitive skills such as memory, attention, visual processing, and logic and reasoning. This result is improved brain function, enhanced memory recall, faster neurological processing, greater visualization capabilities and more efficient learning. Contact us to learn more about how to promote a healthier brain!