There’s this idea that we don’t have to worry about brain health when we’re young and that there’s no reason to work on improving it once we get older. But research shows we can change our brains no matter how old we are. Neurologist Kristen Willeumier says even in your 80s, you can still improve cognitive health and function and that if we take care of the brain, it’ll help us stay sharp. “No brain left behind,” she tells her patients. “We can make your brain better, no matter what your age is.”
These are some easy ways to start changing your brain in less than 10 minutes:
- Take a brisk walk- Research shows a short burst of exercise can increase blood flow to the brain, creativity and overall brain function.
- Eat a square of dark chocolate- It’s got lots of minerals and healthy plant compounds called flavonoids, which can help increase oxygen delivery to the brain. Some studies show eating dark chocolate two hours before an event improves memory and reaction time.
- Sit up straight- Get those shoulders back and your neck long to instantly increase blood flow to the brain.
- Write with your non-dominant hand- This takes your brain outside its comfort zone, which strengthens neural connections.
- Snack on a big bowl of blueberries- They’re loaded with flavonoids, polyphenols and other healthy compounds that can increase neurogenesis, which is the process of new neurons forming in the brain.
- Learn a new word- Expand your vocabulary to enhance your cognitive ability and overall intelligence by adding new neurons to your hippocampus, a part of your brain.
- Sniff away stress- Use essential oils to ease stress and alter brain wave activity to boost cognitive function and mood. Research shows lavender may be the best scent for lowering stress.
- Write down one thing you’re grateful for- Write it on a Post-it and stick it anywhere you’ll see it all day. It will help relax you, lower stress and improve mood, too.
Source: Mind Body Green