Your brain does more than just thinking; it controls everything you do, explains David S. Liebeskind, M.D., a Men’s Health advisor. That is the number one reason to keep it healthy. While scientists don’t yet have a solidified answer on how to do so, research has revealed plenty of ways to keep your brain sharp at any age.
Eat for better brain function: Your diet has an effect on how your brain functions. In a study from UCLA, mice completed a maze more slowly after eating a high-sugar diet. Researchers also found that by adding omega-3 fatty acids, their brains were protected from the effects of the sugar.
Challenge yourself: Constantine Lyketsos, Ph.D., professor at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center says, “Regular mental challenges force you to think. Use it, or you’ll lose it.” Liebeskind adds that keeping connections between neurons reinforced so they’re easier to use.
Switch up your news source: Having a regular reading schedule helps you to develop better concentration, which is critical to health aging. Allen Sills, M.D., associate professor of neurological surgery at Vanderbilt University says when you are only reading the A.M news, you are neglecting an active reading schedule and a whole section of your brain.
Ward off depression: If you are noticing a change in interests, ask a friend if he/she has noticed also. If so, it may be time to see a doctor, as losing interest is a major sign of clinical depression.
Know what normal memory loss is: “Don’t remember where you parked, but everyone else is walking to the car? That may be a problem,” says Coslett. However, if everyone else your age has to write down a phone number, don’t worry. Compare yourself to others your age.
Move to remember more: Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that a year of regular exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus by 2 percent.
Strength train: Lifting weights can provide a challenge that repeated exercise may not. A Brazilian study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that strength training for 60 minutes, three times a week for 6 months can boost your short and long term memory performance and attention as you age.
Drink up: Caffeine may protect against memory loss, so don’t skip your coffee in the mornings. However, limit yourself to 1 cup because other research suggests that upping your dosage to 4 to 5 cups my hinder cognitive performance.
Turn up the jams: According to research in the Journal of Current Direction in Psychological Science, listening to music at work can lead to enhanced productivity and cognitive performance. However keep the tunes light.
Chew gum: Chewing gum can give you a boost in brain power because of a neural arousal that chewing it may bring, researchers suggest.