Neuroplasticity or plasticity is the ability of the human brain to change for better or worse at any stage. This flexibility of the human brain plays a major role in the decline or development of brains, and how our discrete characters are formed.
Many changes in human brain may occur at different stages of life. Neural connections can be severed, and gray matter can condense or shrink. These changes produce transformations in our aptitudes. For example, a new skill learning can lead to new neural pathways in our brains. While aging may weaken certain neural pathways. This result in our memories not performing as well as they once did.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association have developed seven steps which help individuals keep their brains healthy, from childhood into old age. They advise people too;
- get regular exercise
- eat a healthful diet
- maintain a healthy weight
- control cholesterol
- regulate blood sugar levels
- manage blood pressure
- quit smoking
In addition to these guidelines, Medical News Today offers five steps to reach ideal brain health. It improves your mind for the year ahead.
1.The brain boosting benefits of physical activity
Studies illustrate that physical activity corresponds to positive improvements in many areas of life. Usually, physically active people eat healthier and smoke less. They generally report less stress, more patience with their family members and co-workers. They feel better about their lives in general.
From childhood through adulthood and into old age, physical activity produces many benefits to brain health.
It affects the brain structure of children from an early age, which, in turn, affects their academic presentation.
Researchers observed that physically fit children tend to have the more gray matter in the subcortical, frontal and temporal brain regions, as well as in the calcarine cortex. These areas are important for executive purpose and motor, learning, and visual processes.
Exercise has been verified to improve thinking ability and memory among older adults with slight mental weakening. Scientists have proposed that even short bouts of exercise may have a positive effect on the brain.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is a protein involved in the growth, function, and survival of brain cells. The study shows that levels of this protein is greater in persons having greater fitness gains from interval training.
Another research also discovered that a one-time 10-minute exercise burst briefly boosts brain areas responsible for problem-solving, focus, and decision-making. This proposes that before a cognitively demanding chore like an exam, or interview, performance may be improved by a cycle or walk.
2.Eat a brain-boosting Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean food has many brain-boosting properties. It is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, seeds, and olive oil. It also contains adequate amounts of fish, dairy, and wine. Though poultry, red meat, and processed foods are limited.
People who follow a Mediterranean diet might have long-term brain protection according to recent research. This is undoubtedly important for older who hope to fend off dementia. But it is also great for younger persons who just want to maintain the function of their brain throughout their lives.
A research which focused on the effect of eating nuts on the brain found that regular nut consumption strengthens brainwave frequencies. These frequencies are linked to memory, healing, cognition, learning, and other important brain functions.
The research team tested pecans, pistachios, almonds, and walnuts. Though peanuts are actually legumes, but they were still in the study. They found that some types of nut can stimulate brain frequencies more than others.
Pistachios were observed to generate the highest gamma wave response. While peanuts made the most important delta response. Gamma wave response is entirely tied to cognitive processing, learning, and perception. On the other hand, delta wave response is related to healthy immunity and natural healing.
3.Learn a new language
Another method which you can use to give your brain a workout is to learn a new language or some foreign languages. Learning new languages ignites mental abilities in infants. Also, it benefits the aging brain and sharpens the mind.
Researchers at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia, as well as the University of Helsinki in Finland report that learning foreign languages improves the brain elasticity and its ability to code any information.
Learning a second language improve your brain functioning regardless of when you start. They clarify that the more languages a person learns, the quicker their neural network reacts to practice the accumulated data.
Another research, which was led by the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, exposed that speaking two or more languages might slow down the intellectual decline linked with aging, even if the other languages are learned during later life.
4.Expand cognitive abilities with training
Studies show that brain training has had mixed results. Some research has shown that brain training improves memory and intellectual ability. While other studies report that there is little evidence to support these claims that brain-training programs improve everyday cognitive performance.
Current papers have determined that the outcome of brain-training sessions depends upon the type of brain exercise. Individuals with memory skills used a strategic memorial improvement procedure, called as a memory of loci training. It should be done for 30 minutes each day for 40 days.
The contestants went from recalling around 26 words from a list of 72 to remembering 62 words, thus training more than doubled their memory capacity. Improvements in memory were detected for at least 4 months after training.
The memory of loci is a mnemonic device which uses familiar objects in a room or landmarks on a journey to visualize, memorize, and recall an unlimited amount of that information in an order.
5.Study a musical instrument
Irrespective of whether you study a musical instrument during childhood or later life, releasing your inner Mozart will have a useful effect on your brain. It helps to protect your brain.
At a young age, exposure to music contributes to establishing your neural networks, improved brain development. It also stimulates the existing tracts of the brain. Receiving musical training during childhood may help prevent the weakening of speech and listening skills in later years. It may also ward off age-related thinking decline.
A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience revealed the reason why playing a musical instrument might have a defensive consequence on the brain.
Researchers found that playing musical instrument changes brain waves in such a way that it speedily improves hearing and listening skills. The transformed brain activity explains that the brain can renew itself. And compensate for injuries or disease which may get in the way of a person’s aptitude to perform tasks.
Therefore, learning a physical task with music may increase the structural connectivity between the areas of the brain. Those areas are responsible for controlling movement and processing sounds.
Adding some of these activities to your weekly program will develop your mind. It will give your brain a boost.