You know who I’m talking about, right?
People in their fifties, sixties, seventies, and even eighties who always seem to be reading a new book, starting a new hobby, and remembering things without missing a beat.
See, scientists used to think that your brain stopped developing after your first few decades of life, and after that point, time would slowly but surely start to wear down your neural network. This gradual erosion of your neurons can lead to forgetfulness, embarrassing brain freezes, feeling foggier and becoming more mentally drained with each passing year.
But new research1 has debunked this old theory - all thanks to the discovery of neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.
- Neuroplasticity refers to the lifelong capacity of the brain to change and rewire itself, in response to the stimulation caused by new experiences.
- Neurogenesis is the ability to create new neurons and new connections between those neurons throughout your entire life.
So if you’d like to slow down (and even reverse) potential mental decline…
Here are 5 unique brain-building tips to help promote neuroplasticity and neurogenesis:
Brain-Building Tip #1: Intermittent fasting.
When you restrict calories or fast, your brain is stressed in a way that promotes neuron growth, decreases the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, and improves your cognitive function—similar to how strength training stimulates your muscles.
There are many ways to incorporate fasting into your life:
- Fasting for 24 hours straight, one day a week.
- Fasting 16 hours with an 8-hour eating window (e.g. fasting 8pm to 12pm the next day.
- Eating normally for 5 days a week and restricting your calories for 2 non-consecutive days (i.e. 400-600 calories per day).
Brain-Building Tip #2: Traveling.
Exposing your brain to new, novel, and complex environments is a recipe for high-quality neurogenesis.
The best part?
You don’t have to travel to the other side of the world to experience this brain-boost. Taking a weekend trip to a local town or nearby city, or even taking a new route to work, can stimulate your brain and get those neurons firing.
Brain-Building Tip #3: Reading fiction.
One study2 conducted by Emory University noted that after reading the same novel for 19 days, participants’ brains experienced increased connectivity.
When you read a good story, you’re transported into the mind and body of the protagonist. This mental shift helps rewire your brain to think in an entirely new way.
So head on down to your local bookstore or library and grab any fiction book that catches your eye.
Brain-Building Tip #4: Performing tasks with your non-dominant hand.
Simple tasks when performed with your opposite hand—such as brushing your teeth, stirring milk into your coffee, or texting—can create new neural pathways in your brain.
It will feel awkward at first, but you can rest easy knowing you’re giving your brain the workout it craves.
Brain-Building Tip #5: Magnesium.
Overstimulated nerve cells can self-destruct, leading to a faster decline in brain health. Magnesium helps prevent this overstimulation.
The NMDA receptors found on your nerve cells respond to the neurotransmitter glutamate. Without magnesium, flurries of weak neurological signals can trigger these receptors, unnecessarily stimulating your nerve cells.
Maintaining proper magnesium levels can help prevent this overstimulation, giving you healthier brain development, heightened learning capacity and a sharper memory.
There ya go.
Five brain-building tips to repair and revitalize your mind’s neural network so you can stay forever young!
To your health,
Dr. Mark Rosenberg