Scientists used to think neural networks were hardwired early in life, and that we couldn’t change the way our brains worked. With the help of improved technology in brain scanning, this theory was thrown out. Researchers now see our brains as being more akin to the muscles in our body — we can build and improve them, or we can ignore and weaken them.
Actively using the brain keeps it strong and healthy. But when you aren’t in the mood for intense and challenging thinking exercises, here are five fun — and less demanding — ways to aid in the building process. Click through for a chance to win two books that will help boost your brainpower.
Norwegian researchers found that women who drank a moderate amount of wine –at least four times during the week– scored better on cognitive tests than women who drank less wine. The study included over 5,000 participants who were questioned over the course of seven years.
Wine may not have been the only factor that contributed to the higher scores. The researchers noted “A positive effect of wine…could also be due to cofounders such as socio-economic status and more favorable dietary and other lifestyle habits.” However, the initial finding is worthy of further exploration–especially considering the health benefits that have been associated with moderate alcohol consumption in previous studies.
As Natural News reports, “most of the 68 studies conducted over the past decade that relate to alcohol’s potential health benefits show some relationship between light-to-moderate alcohol consumption and a reduced risk of brain abnormalities like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.” In addition, red wine is filled with antioxidants that can fight free-radical damage that accompanies aging.
Of course, the key is moderation, and there are plenty of reasons to avoid alcohol, if you already do so. However, if drinking a little wine helps you wind down, you may not need to feel guilty about it.
Next: 4 more fun ways to help your brain