8 Fun Ways to Improve Brain Health
Since June is Alzheimer’s and Brain awareness month, now is a great time to really make brain health a priority. But if you’re already eating right and exercising but want a little more boost for your brain, we’ve got you covered with 8 Fun Ways to Improve Brain Health.
1. Spice it up.
By changing up the foods you eat, you can make your brain more resistant to the effects of aging. This is because you’re giving your brain a new experience from the smells, tastes, and sight. So start incorporating types of food you may never have had before, but sound good to you.
While you’re at it, add some spice (literally) to your meals! Tumeric, rosemary, oregano, ginger, and cinnamon all have brain benefits. Tumeric is anti-inflammatory which can help slow down the aging process and has been shown to help destroy the plaques in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s. Rosemary produces compounds that have been found to help reduce cancer risk. Oregano is a great antioxidant, ginger helps with memory, and cinnamon may help lower blood sugar!
So maybe go out for Indian food this week, or bake up some Skillingsboller, (Norweign cinnamon rolls) to get your brain going!
2. Read Outloud
Regular reading is a wonderful exercise for your brain and can help slow the decline in memory and brain function. But if you really want to make the most out of your brain workout, try reading out loud. Doing so causes your brain to work a little more since you’re using regions to read, speak and hear. Try reading out loud with your partner, your older adult, a child, or even just by yourself.
3. Play a Board Game
According to a 2012 study, people who had a lifetime history of playing puzzles and games were far less likely to develop the brain plaques that are associated with Alzheimer’s. Try making it a goal to do one crossword 4 days out of the week, or fill out a whole sudoku book in a month. Or for something a little more social, have game nights with friends! Playing Scrabble with a glass of wine can be a fun (and affordable!) date night activity.
4. Switch Up Your Drive
Like with new foods, taking new routes activates your brain that otherwise wouldn’t get as much stimulation. But by taking a new way home from work, your brain is working a little harder and also is taking in new sights and smells. If that isn’t really an option driving, this can also be done by walking or biking! If you walk your dog every day, try switching up the route you take so you can both get a little brain boost.
5. Learn to Juggle
Maybe this is something that you’ve found interesting- but juggling has been shown to increase the amount of grey matter in the brain. A study done by the Society for Neuroscience in Washington DC showed that after three months of learning to juggle, the area of the brain that is crucial to our perception of visual motion had significantly increased in both older and younger subjects. If your older adult is up to it, try learning together or even see if your children are interested. There are plenty of free youtube videos on how to learn and if anything you’ll be burning a couple calories while keeping your mind sharp!
6. Brush Your Teeth with Your Non-Dominant Hand
Using the opposite side of your brain is a wonderful brain exercise. By brushing your teeth with your other hand, this works out that part of your brain. If you want a little more, you can also try eating or writing with your opposite hand for the same effect.
7. Play an Instrument
Remember those piano lessons you took as a kid? Well by putting them to use now you can activate both hemispheres of the brain at the same time which is very good for your brain health. According to Maguire, “Music is probably the only activity you do that excites the whole brain.” If you hated those piano lessons, try picking up a guitar, a ukulele, or even singing! Again, this doesn’t have to be expensive, there are many tutorials online for free to get your brain worked out while having fun.
8. Take Up Ping Pong
Table tennis obviously tests your reflexes, and by doing so engages several parts of your brain! It’s said to even improve blood flow to the brain which is why it’s been called a “brain sport” by many scientists. So next time you’re at a bar with your partner, pick up some paddles and have fun!