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21. Adopt a Nutrient Rich Diet
Over consumption of high calorie food is a major issue for modern society. Understanding why we eat and what we eat is one of the most critical influences on our health and longevity. Brain health promoting food includes Omega 3 fatty acids found in foods such as fish, flax seed, and nuts. Foods with naturally occurring Vitamin E and Vitamin C have an antioxidant effect. Folate may also help to reduce the risk of some neurodegenerative illnesses and developmental disorders.
22. Maintain Strong Connections
Our ability to communicate and interact with others is critical to maintaining strong connections. Isolation has been shown to reduce our overall health. Research demonstrates the importance of a social network in reducing the risk of dementia. Our ability to continually develop relations and sustain them across our lifespan represents significant health promoting behaviors, such as stress reduction, new learning, and emotional expression.
23. Challenge Yourself
Regular mental challenges force you to think. Use it, or youll lose it, says Constantine Lyketsos, Ph.D., professor at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. When connections between neurons are reinforced, theyre easier to use, says Liebeskind.
24. Protect Your Ticker
People with the highest risk for heart diseaseeven as young as age 35scored 50 percent worse on cognitive tests than people with the lowest risk, a 2013 study in Stroke found.
25. Go Green
Working non stop can cause your brain to become exhausted. But walking outdoors, even for a brief amount of time, can help your brain recover, says Jenny Roe, Ph.D., an environmental psychologist at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, and author of a 2013 study that found a walk in a tree filled park or leafy courtyard may ease stress.
26. Speak Up
When Boston University researchers autopsied the brains of 85 athletes (high schoolers included) with histories of concussions, 80 percent showed evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E), a degenerative brain disease. Thats a scary stat considering half of high school footballers surveyed in a different 2012 study said theyd felt concussion symptoms in the past, but hadnt reported them.
27. Switch Up Your News Source
Slave to the local news every a.m.? Youre neglecting an active reading scheduleand a whole part of your brain, says Allen Sills, M.D., associate professor of neurological surgery at Vanderbilt University. When you read, you develop concentration, which is crucial for healthy aging.
28. Know Whats Normal Memory Loss
Systems like the hippocampuscrucial for memoryage faster than other brain parts. Worried? Compare yourself to others your age. Dont remember where you parked, but everyone else is walking to the car? That may be a problem, says Coslett. But if youand all of your friends your agehave to write down a phone number, dont worry.
29. Move to Remember More
University of British Columbia researchers found that twice weekly resistance training boosts your ability to make accurate decisions quickly. Focus on your form and your faults instead of intensitybrain building comes from concentrating on what your bodys doing, says Gary Small, M.D., director of the UCLA Longevity Center and coauthor of The Alzheimers Prevention Program. When dementia hits, your weaker skills go first, so fixing what youre doing wrong makes your brain work harder.
30. Ward off Depression
Mood disorders can be the result of chemical imbalance in the brain, says Sills. If youre no longer interested in things you used to love, ask a buddy if he has noticed a change. If he has, see a doclosing interest in your hobbies is a major sign of clinical depression. An at home remedy? Exercise, which helps balance the chemical cocktail. Its the poor mans Prozac, says Sills. (Follow our 100 Best Fitness Tips to learn how to stick with your workout, build huge muscles, and more!)
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