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Brain Health – keeping your mind sharp

Brain Health – keeping your mind sharp

How do you keep your mind sharp?

Are you losing your keys more often than ever? And are you lost at the supermarket without your shopping list? Many people think that a receding memory is an inevitable part of ageing. In fact, this is sadly true. With the increase in age, all kinds of physical and cognitive functions are reduced.

Our eyes are deteriorating, we don’t hear as well and thinking takes more effort. That does not mean, however, that we have to wait passively until we can’t do anything. Our brain, just like the rest of our body, can be exercised and kept healthy through a few simple life rules. Following them will give you a much longer enjoyment of your thinking ability and memory.

Eat smart

Nutrition plays an important role in the functioning of your brain. No less than 20% of all the energy your body needs is used by this organ. Your brain has a particular need for nutrients such as B-vitamins and unsaturated fats. These substances ensure that the brain cells can communicate optimally with each other.
B-vitamins and unsaturated fats are, unfortunately, not often found in high levels in products such as chips, doughnuts and pizza. If you want to give your mind a real boost, adjust your diet accordingly. Fatty fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, olive oil and wholemeal products are packed with nutrients that your brain will love.

Sleep smart

You might find it hard to believe, but sleeping a lot is a good way to become smarter. A good night’s sleep ensures that your brain can process all information well and retrieve it faster. According to the American sleep guru Stanley Coren, your brain functions best after at least 9 hour’s sleep.
Every hour that you lose in sleep will cost you a few points of your IQ. Hmm … anyway, try and get a few early night’s each week.

Exercise smart

Your brain doesn’t move about much, yet is very fond of exercise. The reason: movement ensures that new brain cells are produced. In addition, physical effort is good for creating new connections in your brain. Regular cycling or vigorous walking prevents memory and concentration problems.
To give you an idea of how important exercise is, exercise has so far proved to be the only effective way of delaying early onset dementia.

Play smart

This is the most important step in the fight against memory loss: train your brain! Set your brain cells to work by puzzling, reading and writing. The brains of elderly people who regularly test their brains are much less likely to decline than those of peers who are mentally less active. Research shows that older people who regularly carry out brain-stimulating activities have a smaller chance of memory loss.

The sooner you start with this brain gymnastics, the better. So download the Sudoku app today, do a cryptic crossword or two, and get a stack of books from the library. Taking up an online course is also highly recommended; people who keep learning throughout their life are more likely to have a higher cognitive ability than those who don’t.

Sources: health.harvard.edu