Ten of the best brain boost­ers

The People - - LIFESTYLE - By Amanda Kil­le­lea

EAT­ING grapes could boost your mem­ory and help fight off Alzheimer’s.

Snack­ing on them twice a day for six months builds up brain power in peo­ple with early mem­ory loss, US sci­en­tists claim.

Here are ten other ways to look af­ter the old grey mat­ter.

Use it or lose it

The more you use your brain, the bet­ter it pro­cesses in­for­ma­tion.

To strengthen it, you need to keep de­vel­op­ing new skills. Think of some­thing you have al­ways wanted to do and try to mas­ter it. From sudoku and learn­ing a new lan­guage to golf and ball­room danc­ing, you will be giv­ing your brain a work­out.

Get sweaty

Phys­i­cal ex­er­cise is just as im­por­tant as men­tal work­outs. It in­creases oxy­gen to the brain so helps it stay sharp.

Ex­er­cises that re­quire good hand-eye co­or­di­na­tion such as ten­nis are dou­bly use­ful.

Sleep well

Most adults need be­tween seven to nine hours’ sleep each night.

Skip­ping a few hours can have a big ef­fect on mem­ory and prob­lem solv­ing. So cut down on caf­feine, avoid screens an hour be­fore bed­time and try to go to bed and get up at a sim­i­lar time each day.

Eat five a day

Fruit and veg are packed with an­tiox­i­dants that pro­tect cells. Eat a rain­bow of brightly coloured food. A lack of vi­ta­min A, found in car­rots, broc­coli and av­o­cado, can stop brain cells com­mu­ni­cat­ing.

And tuck in to oily fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, twice a week for an omega 3 hit.

Cut out stress

Chronic stress can de­stroy brain cells and dam­age the hip­pocam­pus, the part in­volved in form­ing new mem­o­ries and re­triev­ing old ones. Take reg­u­lar breaks, find a good work/life bal­ance and don’t bot­tle up prob­lems.

Blame game

Think­ing you have a bad mem­ory can give you one. Peo­ple can re­sign them­selves to, say, “not be­ing good with names”. In­stead, tell your­self you have a great mem­ory. Say things you want to re­mem­ber out loud and use rhymes to re­mem­ber dates.

Smell rose­mary

Stud­ies have shown that sniff­ing the herb rose­mary can im­prove your re­call. Carry around a sprig of rose­mary or sniff rose­mary oil once a day to boost your abil­ity to re­call past events and re­mem­ber what to do in the fu­ture. It is thought a com­pound that gives the herb its distinctive smell aids a brain chem­i­cal key to mem­ory.

In­crease Vi­ta­min D

Low vi­ta­min D lev­els are linked with poor brain power.

A study found peo­ple se­verely lack­ing in the sun­shine vi­ta­min were twice as likely to de­velop de­men­tia and Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

Get­ting out­side as much as pos­si­ble can help, as we get most of our vi­ta­min D from sun­light.

Have a laugh with pals

Laugh­ter causes parts of the brain re­spon­si­ble for short-term mem­ory to light up. And it re­duces stress.

So­cial­is­ing with friends or even pets has also been shown to slow the rate of mem­ory de­cline.

Or­gan­ise your life

Put things you use fre­quently, such as keys or read­ing glasses, in the same place. Di­aries and putting re­minders in your phone to record dates and ap­point­ments will help.

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