According to the media, nearly anything fun or delicious puts you at jeopardy of losing brain cells, but are there any activities that can help to replenish them? You’re in luck. Research has shown that there are certain activities that can help you grow new brain cells, and they aren’t nearly as excruciating as you may think.
Watching what you eat and practicing self-control at mealtimes could benefit more than just your waistline. According to Mental Health Daily, restricting your calories helps to elicit a stress response in the body, and while this may sound like a bad thing, in reality it stimulates the brain to grow new brain cells. However, don’t go overboard. The Huffington Post reported that calories need to be restricted by only 20 to 30 percent to reap these benefits.
If you don’t feel like restricting your calorie intake (and really who can blame you) a 2012 study found that sipping on green tea may have a similar effect. This is because green tea contains a substance called EGCG, an antioxidant that helps to improve cognitive function through the generation of brain cells, lead researcher Professor Yun Bai said in a statement.
“This helps us to understand the potential for EGCG, and green tea which contains it, to help combat degenerative diseases and memory loss,” Bai added.
Another fun and easy way to build up new brain cells is to add some blueberries to your diet. A 2008 report found that antioxidants in the tiny but powerful berry lead to changes in brain blood flow which helps to not only protect the brain cells you have but also leads to the formation of new ones. They also contain a substance called anthocyanin that is associated with increased neuronal signaling in the brain’s memory areas.
Sex (and other aerobic exercises)
Yes, I’ve saved the best for last and no, that isn’t a typo. A 2010 study published in the online journal PLOS one found that sexual experience helps to promote neurogenesis, or the growth of brain cells, in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is mainly associated with memory and regulating emotion, so the extra help is also appreciated.
And while sex may arguably be the most fun way to replace brain cells while working up a sweat, it surely isn’t the only. Running also helps to build brain cells, Mental Health Daily reported. This is particularly useful in older individuals as it has been reported that moderate exercise helps to improve the cognitive function of people with dementia. A 2014 study also found that individuals who regularly run throughout their lifetime are also less likely to develop dementia when they get older.