brain health

  1. Brain health depends on keeping busy

    How keeping busy could keep your brain young

    When you were younger and life was hectic, you figured you could slow down later.

    Now that you're older, life's as hectic as ever... and you don't think you'll ever slow down.

    You're not just busy. Sometimes, it can seem like you're just a little TOO busy -- wishing for more hours in the day just so you could get everything done.

    Well, my friend, if that sounds familiar, I've got some good news for you today: The busier you are... the better your brain!

    New research shows how keeping a full schedule is good for your mind, enhancing your memory, and boosting your overall cognition. And if you manage to keep yourself busy well into your senior years, you just might be able to prevent Alzheimer's disease.

    Researchers asked 330 folks between the ages of 50 and 89 how busy they were and how many activities they crammed into each day. They were even asked if being busy ever caused them to miss or delay meals.

    Then, the folks were given memory tests -- and, amazingly, the researchers found that age didn't matter much when it came to results.

    But their level of busyness did.

    Folks who kept busy did better on tests that measured key brain functions including processing speeds, reasoning and vocabulary, according to the study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

    In particular, busy people did better on tests of episodic memory -- or the ability to remember stuff from the past.

    So if you're older and life hasn't slowed down for you, don't sweat it. Embrace it!

    If you haven't been all that busy, don't feel pressure to pack more activity into your day than you can handle. Just do what you can to keep active and engaged.

    Get out with your friends, join a club, take up a hobby or -- better yet -- do some volunteer work.

    The key is to keep busy doing things you like, not in keeping busy with stuff that causes you stress -- because stress can lead to other problems, including increased inflammation and heart risk.

    And of course don't count on a busy schedule alone to save your brain.

    You need to do more.

    Your brain function relies on getting the right nutrients in, and keeping the bad stuff out.

    Sugar in your food can rush through your bloodstream and into the brain, where it can leave behind lasting damage -- which is why high blood sugar in diabetics and non-diabetics alike will increase your risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

    So keep sugar out, and put the good stuff in: B vitamins, fish oil and -- as I shared earlier today -- curcumin.

  2. Laughter is the best medicine

    Want to protect your brain, improve your memory, slash your stress levels and boost your quality of life all at the same time?

    Then go ahead and laugh.

    New research confirms that there is some truth to the saying "laughter is the best medicine" -- and it's especially effective at protecting the brain.

    In a series of experiments, seniors who watched funny videos did better on memory tests than seniors who didn't watch the videos. The laughing seniors enjoyed measurable improvements in memory recall, learning ability and sight recognition.

    And while even healthy seniors saw improvements after watching the video, the biggest boost of all went to seniors with diabetes.

    Laughter is also a great way to blow off steam and ease stress, and the study confirms that, too -- because seniors who laughed had lower levels of cortisol.

    That's the so-called "stress hormone," and despite the name, it's not always bad. There are times when we need it.

    But too much too often, or chronically high levels, can promote inflammation and lead directly to disease.

    Laugh a little more, and your levels of these hormones will fall as your worries fade into the background.

    And that's not all laughter can do.

    Laughter can also promote relaxation, lower blood pressure and ease pain (both physical and mental). Some hospitals are even turning to laugh therapy to help patients recover.

    Plus, laughing just makes you feel good.

    So go ahead and watch some comedy or joke around with your friends. It's not just fun.

    It's good for you, too.

  3. Brain protecting benefits of green tea

    Green tea can protect the brain, helping the different regions to communicate with each other and enhancing your cognitive function, a new study finds.
  4. Lack of sleep a brain-damaging habit

    Missing out on sleep can kill off critical neurons in the brain and set the stage for cognitive problems.
  5. Test for Alzheimer’s disease

    A new blood test being pushed for dementia is so inaccurate that two-thirds of the people who test positive will never get the disease.
  6. Sitting can rot brain cells

    Spending too much time with your meat in a seat can damage critical brain cells, new research confirms.
  7. Best ways to improve memory

    Giving your brain a workout can improve your memory and cut your risk of dementia.
  8. Different types of depression boost Parkinson’s risk

    Depression can triple your risk of Parkinson's disease, according to the latest research.
  9. How fish oil can stop oxidative stress

    The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can give the brain the power it needs to fight the oxidative stress that can lead to dementia.
  10. Feed your brain some fat

    There are plenty of places on the body where you definitely don't want fat building up. But there's one place you want as fat as can be, and that's right inside your skull.
  11. The incredible shrinking brain

    Posted by: on
    Now, a new study finds that the loss of brain mass found in Alzheimer's patients might actually be detectable up to a decade before the telltale signs of the disease appear.

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