Ten of the best brain boosters
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.