Did you know that listening to Mozart can help to boost your brain power, but watching too much television can have the opposite effect?
This is music to my ears (sorry!!) as I have just discovered that my eldest child has a real passion for piano. Our piano has sat forlorn for years as I no longer ever seem to find the time (or talent) to play but now it is regularly favoured over children’s TV, which is wonderful (let’s hope it lasts!)
- It’s not just classical music that can improve
our brain power though, in the Brain Training
feature in the 2015 Dairy Diary we reveal lots
of tips on how to keep your brain active.
Anything that engages different parts of the brain at the same time is especially effective. The left side is concerned with logic, sequential thinking and decision making; the right side with creativity, imagination and random ideas.
Here are seven tips for boosting brain power taken from the 2015 Dairy Diary:
- Tackle crosswords, sudoku, quizzes and puzzles, or take up bridge. Solving cryptic puzzles involves several parts of your brain – logic, recall, creative thought, analysis, deciding on likely options, dealing with frustration – and the benefits increase if you do it with someone else.
- Learn something new and challenging e.g. chess, crochet, a musical instrument. Learning another language may seem ambitious but is especially good because it forces your brain to switch tracks continuously, which is one of the most mentally demanding things you can do. It helps hone the frontal lobes, the brain’s mind managers, which tend to shrink as part of the ageing process.
- Study a subject that you find interesting e.g. botany, nutrition, a specific era of history.
- Read, and maybe join or start a book club. Discussing books with others hones your critical/analytical skills.
- Make up brain games to play with friends e.g. think of an animal or food for every letter of the alphabet. Focusing on simple tasks helps to improve concentration as well as boosting brain power. Include memory games, so that each person has to repeat what has already been said.
- Listen to music. Listening to Mozart has been shown to improve spatial and mathematical reasoning.
- An exercise to help improve your concentration is to spend a few minutes every day emptying your mind and thinking of nothing but your breathing. Practising focusing on one thing will help you to de-clutter and calm your thoughts, so you can concentrate better the rest of the time.
I think I had better turn our Friday Film Night into a board games and Beethoven evening!
We can tuck in to these absolutely gorgeous Bruschetta instead of the obligatory popcorn.
Gorgonzola Bruschetta with Balsamic Figs
Time 20 mins plus standing
Fat 10g of which 2.9g is saturated
Brown sugar 1 tbsp
Balsamic vinegar 2 tbsp, plus extra to serve
Figs 2, cut into eight
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Ciabatta 4 slices
Garlic ½ clove, peeled
Watercress 2 small handfuls
Mint leaves 2 tbsp
Gorgonzola piccante 50g (2oz), crumbled
1 Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Combine sugar and vinegar and coat figs in this mixture. Leave for 15 minutes and then transfer to a baking tray and roast for 10-12 minutes until soft.
2 Meanwhile, brush oil over ciabatta slices and toast for 1-2 minutes each side. Rub lightly with garlic.
3 Top ciabatta with watercress, mint, figs, a little black pepper and Gorgonzola. Drizzle with a little oil and vinegar before serving.
A Dairy Diary recipe.