Archive for the ‘health’ Category

More evidence that exercise keeps the brain fit

July 27, 2011

The NY Times picked up on new research that offers good news for older individuals hoping to stave off mental decline. Here at Be Amazing Learning, we work more frequently with children and young adults than seniors, but the same concepts of neuroplasticity are at play early and late in life.

The multi-year study, performed at the University of Waterloo in Ontario and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that subjects who engaged in even modest exercise (walking around the block, gardening, cleaning) maintained cognitive function when compared to sedentary subjects.

That exercise can help the brain is not a particularly new concept (we have previously posted on the topic), but what the study showed (according to Professor Laura Middleton, the study’s lead author) that “vigorous exercise isn’t necessary to protect your mind. I think that’s exciting. It might inspire people who would be intimidated about the idea of quote-unquote exercising to just get up and move.”

Another study identified in the Times article indicates that even lifting weights (as opposed to aerobic exercise) can be an effective intervention. That study, published in Neurobiology of Aging, indicated that “light-duty weight training changes how well older women think and how blood flows within their brains.”

So the latest research indicates that exercise of any kind and any intensity can help stave off mental decline. So let’s get out there!

Brain Foods

March 10, 2011

Family Education Network breaks down the top brain foods, which can improve your mood, thinking, and mental skills.

Some aren’t surprising (and won’t come as very welcome news to children): broccoli is a great source of vitamin K, which enhances cognitive function. And pinach improves learning capacity and motor skills while slowing down age-related brain function.

But there are a few pleasant surprises for those who don’t get too excited about eating their vegetables:

  • Eggs contain choline, which boosts the memory center of the brain.
  • Yogurt improves alertness and contains tyrosin, an amino acid that produces dopamine (a neurotransmitter).
  • Walnuts contain vitamins E and B6, which are good for the nervous system, and fatty acids that help brain function.

And of course, the kicker: dark chocolate. It contains antioxidants and flavonoids that are great for the brain.

The full slide show is on the Family Education Network Web site. You might also be interested in these posts on our blog about brain-based eating:

%d bloggers like this: