Five tips to boost your brain

Experts now believe that you can prevent or delay dementia and these five simple tips could help you reduce your Alzheimer’s risk.

1. Let’s get physical
Increasing your levels of physical activity can reduce your likelihood of developing dementia by 30 to 40 per cent. Physically active people usually maintain better cognition and memory function. Research suggests that exercise can reverse the process of the hippocampus – the part of the brain responsible for memory formation – shrinking, which happens naturally as we age.

2. Learn something new
Challenging your brain can increase the number of brain cells and connectivity between those cells. This means doing more than the daily crossword as part of your routine, mix it up with Sudoku or a new type of puzzle once in a while.

3. Take some time out
Chronic stress increases the flow of cortisol to your brain, which in turn leads to impaired memory. A specific form of meditation called mindfulness-based stress reduction, which focuses on feelings and state of mind has been shown by Harvard researchers to reduce the harmful stress hormone.

4. Get spicy
Spices not only tickle your taste buds, but some which are high in antioxidants may help build brainpower. Cinnamon, basil, parsley, ginger and vanilla are such herbs and spices and curcumin, which is found in Indian curries, has scientists intrigued. Curcumin reduces amyloid plaques, which accumulate on the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. A study in humans also found those who ate curried foods frequently had higher scores on standard cognition tests.

5. Check your vitamin levels
Declines in digestive acids or interference from medication can hinder the absorption of nutrients from food. In particular, vitamin B12 can affect brain vitality. Research has shown that older adults deficient in vitamin B12 scored lowest on tests which measure thinking, reasoning and memory. 

Written by Debbie McTaggart