Advances in the field of neurology show that our brains have the potential to adapt and develop no matter how old we are, so follow these 15 tips to boost your brainpower.
1. Keep dancing
People who dance learn complex sequences, test their spatial awareness and have the ability to respond quickly to others.
This helps them perform better in complicated cognitive tasks.
2. Be in bed by 10pm
Sleep is vital for optimal brain health.
During sleep our body cells detoxify and re-energise, and our brain cells are no exception.
3. Enjoy a glass of bubbly
Reading University boffins say three glasses of champagne a week can improve spatial memory – the part that records information about our environment.
It’s thought the grapes used contain compounds that help turbo-charge memory.
4. Swap hands
Using your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth or pick things up requires the brain to pay close attention to a normally unconscious behaviour.
‘This stimulates interaction between the two hemispheres of the brain, meaning new neural pathways develop,’ says cognitive neuroscientist Dr Lynda Shaw (Drlyndashaw.com).
5. Mix it up
Doing the same type of puzzle every day is a bit like going to the gym and lifting only arm weights.
Check out the many free brain-training apps, such as Elevate and Luminosity.
6. Enjoy a Rogan Josh
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, found in the Indian spice turmeric, could prevent brain cells dying, say University of Southampton researchers.
7. See a dental hygienist
The bacteria that cause gum disease may trigger an immune response in the brain which destroys neurons and could bring on symptoms such as memory loss.
8. Shop online
Using a computer in later life may help keep your memory intact, say US researchers from the Mayo Clinic.
They found that people who used a computer at least once a week were 42% less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment.
9. Watch cute animal videos
Japanese researchers who asked students to play the game Operation found performance scores improved by an average of 44% after they spent several minutes looking at cute pictures of animals.
10. Deal with hypertension
High blood pressure in your 40s and 50s is a strong risk factor for the later development of Alzheimer’s and dementia, so get yours checked regularly.
11. Stay busy
Research shows that brain function plummets when people stop working.
A recent British study found that short-term memory declined nearly 40% faster.
12. Turn up the volume
Evidence suggests that music stimulates the brain in a very unique way.
When you look at the brain imaging of somebody who is listening to or playing music, almost the whole organ is active.
13. Copy Popeye
Eating a daily dose of leafy greens such as spinach could make your brain 11 years younger, say Chicago researchers.
It’s thought that vitamin K, folate and other nutrients may help us stay sharper for longer.
14. Move your body
Researchers in Pittsburgh found that a brisk walk of 40 minutes, three times a week, increased the size of the hippocampus (the brain’s memory hub) in people over 55.
15. Learn a foreign language
Learning a different language has numerous cognitive benefits, say scientists.
Try using an app that keeps testing your new vocabulary over the course of several weeks, so it embeds in your long-term memory.