As we age, we need to nourish and maintain our brain as much as we nourish our bodies. We can do that through enriching activities that stimulate our brain cells as well as foods that keep our brain healthy and fit. Below are some activities and foods that can help your brain fitness.
Eat richly coloured fruits and vegetables
Beets, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, kale, plums, pomegranates, pulses, pumpkin, sweet potato, tomatoes... These are just some of the richly coloured produce that should regularly be part of our diet. Why are they so important? They contain large amounts of the antioxidants that protect our brains from dangerous free radicals. They also allow for good communication between cells throughout the brain and nervous system.
Put together a jigsaw puzzle
Putting together a 500+ piece jigsaw puzzle engages your eyes, hands, and brain. Bonus brain health points if you tackle a 3-D puzzle! When you fit together the pieces of a puzzle, your brain will reward you with the release of the "feel good" brain chemical dopamine.
Take fish oil
The omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish from the depths of the ocean help brains function properly. In order to get enough of these essential nutrients, it's necessary to eat these oily fish 2-3 times each week. A simpler way to get the fish oil you need is by taking a high quality fish oil supplement.
Memorize a new song or poem
When you memorize something, you have to pay close attention and exercise your memory. Focusing also releases the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which helps improve memory. Alzheimer's patients are often missing this neurotransmitter that is so crucial for focus and memory, so anything we can do to keep it flowing is vital to brain health.
Eat dark chocolate
Yes, you heard that right. Go ahead and enjoy that piece of dark chocolate that you've been eyeing. Just make sure it's really dark and not too sweet. Why do health professionals recommend this yummy treat? Dark chocolate is full of powerful antioxidants to protect the brain. It also contains endorphins and flavonoids that enhance mood and improve blood flow.
Visit a museum, historical site, or festival
Pay careful attention to what you're seeing, hearing, feeling, and even smelling. Afterwards, try to describe everything you experienced. Engaging your whole brain helps keep it spry!
Take up juggling
Juggling involves visual acuity and eye-hand coordination. And it's fun! To make your own stick-to-your-hands juggling balls, buy some round balloons. Cut most of the neck off six of them. Fill three of them with plastic pellets or rice. Place an empty balloon over the opening of the filled balloon so that the open ends are opposite each other. You'll end up with three juggling "balls" that are soft and easy to catch. Now, go practice stimulating your brain!