6 Tips to Keep Your Brain Fit

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If you think only you can only work out your body – think again! As the guys at BrainHQ shows us – there are several brain fitness tips you can do in order to ensure that your brain is at its tip top shape. These brain fitness tips are a mixture of diet and activities you can do that help to constantly stimulate and promote brain growth. So let’s ensure our brain is as healthy as ever with these super useful tips!

1. Eat dark chocolate.

The task: Add some dark chocolate to your diet.

The reason: When you eat chocolate you activate the systems in your brain that pump dopamine, an important brain chemical. These systems enable learning and memory, and help keep your brain sharp and fit. Chocolate also offers flavanols, brain-boosting antioxidant compounds that are also found in red wine and berries. To get the maximum brain boost from chocolate, look for the darkest chocolate available, with the least added sugar or other ingredients.

2. Memorize a song.

The task: Choose a song with lyrics you enjoy but don’t have memorized. Listen to the song as many times as necessary to write down all the lyrics. Then learn to sing along. Once you’ve mastered one song, move on to another!

The reason: Developing better habits of careful listening will help you in your understanding, thinking and remembering. Reconstructing the song requires close attentional focus and an active memory. When you focus, you release the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a brain chemical that enables plasticity and vivifies memory.

3. Turn down your television.

The task: Set your television volume down a little from where you normally have it set. See if by concentrating you can follow just as successfully as when the volume was higher. As soon as that setting gets easy, turn it down another notch!

The reason: Think of this: You can’t get rid of radio static by turning up the volume. Many people raise the volume because their listening has become ‘detuned’—a little fuzzy. Matching TV volume to a conversational level can help you catch every word when talking with others.

4. Eat fish.

The task: Add fish—especially fatty fish like salmon—to your diet.

The reason: Studies suggest that a diet rich in fish can improve cognitive function. Cold-water fish, like sardines, anchovies, salmon, and trout are the most beneficial. It’s important to avoid fish that are high in mercury, like sharks and swordfish, as that can be bad for the brain.

5. Visit a museum.

The task: Go on a guided tour of a museum or another site of interest. Pay careful attention to what the guide says. When you get home, try to reconstruct the tour by writing an outline that includes everything you remember.

The reason: Research into brain plasticity (the ability of the brain to change at any age) indicates that memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function (and hinder the rate of decline) of the brain.

6. Exercise your peripheral vision.

The task: Sit in a place outside your house, such as on a park bench or in a café. Stare straight ahead and don’t move your eyes. Concentrate on everything you can see without moving your eyes, including in your peripheral vision. When you have finished, write a list of everything you saw. Then try again and see if you can add to your list.

The reason: Scientists have shown that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is crucial to focus and memory, falls off with memory loss and is almost absent in Alzheimer’s patients. This activity should help you reinvigorate the controlled release of acetylcholine in your brain through a useful visual memory task.

These are just half of what you can do – head on over to BrainHQ to get the complete list of brain fitness tips!

Featured image source: Neil Slorance

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