Monday, November 18, 2013

Sharp as a Bowling Ball

Sharp as a bowling ball. My husband uses that expression a lot, usually when teasing one of our kids when they've done or said something exhibiting little of the good sense we know they have. Most of the time.

But I read a disturbing article while I was doing some research for this post that our brains will start to slow down at age 30 if we don't keep it young. I was only looking for research to backup what I thought I already knew about the brain, but I didn't know that. I'm sure lots of the readers of this blog are over that bench mark.

So let's think about brain food. What should you eat to provide the best nutrition for a healthy brain. Blueberries in any form. Wild salmon for those important omega-3s. Nuts and seeds for the vitamin E. Avocados which are nearly as good as blueberries. Add some whole grains and you're eating lots of foods to keep the gears turning. Drink green tea once per day though a cup of any kind of tea can benefit. And keep cholesterol levels down.

Physical exercise has been proven to improve brain function. Combination workouts with weights and aerobic components are best. Watch nature documentaries if you're going to watch TV. Watching such shows are also likely to reduce stress. There are video and computer games designed specifically to stimulate the mind and keep it sparking. Perhaps you've heard by now that good oral health is important for good cardiovascular health, the inflammation issue, but it also is important for good brain health. I picked some of this out of this article by the Alliance for Aging Research.

Reading has long been an ingredient in keeping the mind sharp and some recommend crossword puzzles, but some recent studies show that more areas of the brain are stimulated by writing by hand than either of those activities. So put some pen to paper and keep the neurons firing. Or really challenge your brain and write with your non dominant hand.

Does your family use any silly sayings like my husband if fond of? What healthy brain habits do you practice?

21 comments:

  1. We have a few sayings, but they aren't fit to print.

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  2. Reading, writing, tv, games all keep the mind working. Exercise yep, need that for everything. The food you mentioned works, but it helps very little if one eats food that offsets it, i.e. gluten, gmo crap, etc. And oral health helps a ton, Oil Pulling with coconut oil is best for that, kills more bacteria than any toothpaste every will.

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  3. Ivy, we have a few of those too.
    Good points, Pat. I never heard of your tooth care idea. Now I have some googling to do.

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  4. We always ask if you want cheese with your whine.
    Well, I got most of that down pat. Including the cross word puzzles. (Also a good way to put all the stuff I learned in college to good use.)

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  5. That's a hilarious saying! We don't use any sayings like that, but I might have to use that one sometime. :) I read a lot, do puzzles, and try to keep up with toddlers. I really need to get more exercise. But what little free time I have, I need to write!

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  6. National Geographic Channel ran a series called Brain Games that we watched. It was fun and challenging. Then there is Luminosity.com. something I want to look into in the next couple weeks.

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  7. We use that one too, Alex.
    Christine, you're welcome to use that saying. Believe it or not, it takes some people a few seconds to get it.
    Stephen, you're pretty sharp already, one of many reasons I love reading your posts.

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  8. I LOVE that saying. I feel the same way about staying active physically. I have a 96 year old grandfather who still climbs up a ladder and repairs his own roof. Only two years ago he was water skiing. What you don't use, you lose.

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  9. Since I have started eating more healthily (at the behest of my new doctor), I feel so much better. She is a big proponent of not eating processed foods and THE GOOD FATS. Avocados, nuts, and olive oil. Her favorite saying: "Olive oil is your friend." I take fish oil every day and eat it often. I am really trying to put better stuff in.

    My exercise routine isn't great. I am just walking, but it is better than NOTHING.

    I am also making a concerted effort to read more... other than blogs.

    Sadly, my writing skills have deteriorated badly with the use of the keyboard. I type fast, but my handwriting is terrible. Funny thing about writing with the non-dominant hand: I had a job that was BORING when I was in my 20s. To kill the time I would often practice my writing with my left hand. It does get easier the more you do it.

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  10. Reading for sure helps - and doing all those puzzles like crosswords and suduku.

    Staying hydrated is big for me. If I'm not hydrated, I can't think straight.

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  11. My husband always says, "roll those eyes at me and I'll roll them right back" which makes the kids, yup, roll their eyes more. ;)

    I think feeding all aspects of our brain-- music, art, writing, reading, exercise, intellectual pursuits all help (at least I hope so!).

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  12. I had no idea brains slow down after age 30. Eek. Loving all the brain health tips, though!

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  13. This is good info! I definitely feel as if my mid-late 20s were when I was 'smartest' and could retain the most. Although age has added some 'wisdom' to replace some of those smarts :)

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  14. Writing by hand? I finally got used to using my computer. Since I'm 61 already, I think I'll use both (I do anyway) and continue with the fish I eat 3-4 times a week.

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  15. What about spider solitaire? Does that count?

    Guess I better keep eating my avacados and whole grains :)

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  16. Does doing sudokus help? I'm rather addicted to them.

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  17. I'd never heard this saying before but now I want to use it too, love it! It freaks me out a little to think how often I could apply it to myself LOL.

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  18. That's good to hear about the avocados. I eat a ton of them!

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  19. Okay, let me see... I love writing long hand. Check.
    And I love nuts, especially cashew nuts. Check. (though I think they're not the healthiest in the nut family...)
    I LOVE tea, and only drink rooibos tea, which is very healthy. Check.
    I enjoy eating fish. Check.
    Longevity runs in my bloodline (I think. My mother, the eldest of fourteen children, is 84 years old... and my father's eldest sister passed on at the age of 95 years) Does that count?
    I also keep honey and try to take a teaspoon every day.
    I need to get back to my crossword puzzles... been neglecting them...

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  20. Yup, I'm with you on most of these. I try to eat well, exercise regularly, read, do puzzles, and more. I also take good care of my self. I don't mean with spa treatments - although there's nothing wrong with that - but I think a relaxed mind is a healthy mind (which is related to your post about stress!). So I do the things I know will help me de-stress. I'm a massage therapist, so massage works. So does running, and yoga, and meditation. Therapy is always a good choice, too :)

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  21. I don't think I have any healthy brain habits. Which may explain why I'm so twisted.

    I use sharp as a bowling ball every once in a while. Along with "I'll be there in two shakes of a lamb's tail". And with my girls, "I see said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and saw." :)

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