February 16 2016

Can You Solve Our Brain Teasers? The Secrets To A Healthy Brain by Lauren Au

brainThis quarter in school I am taking a class on all things surrounding human aging where we look at the physical, social, and psychological perspectives of aging. One of our guest lecturers named Dr. Gary Small, who works for the UCLA Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at the Longevity Center, opened my eyes to the importance of a healthy lifestyle and its beneficial effects on your overall brain health. Dr. Small conveyed that “Brain health is essential for achieving quality longevity,” and that the bigger the physical size of your brain the better. Brain health can be defined by various things such as good thinking, attention, memory, mood, and relaxation skills. Having a “healthy brain” can improve your overall mental health and prevent the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. The most important thing I learned (and what I hope you learn too) is that a healthy brain depends on the proper physical activity, mental exercises, and nutrition choices that you make now and throughout your future.

Physical Activity:

lilogiphyAlthough you have probably heard this a million times, I will repeat it again: Physical activity is good for you in all aspects of your life, and you should continue exercising well into your future! Studies have found that an increase in aerobic exercise (versus stretching and toning) lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well as increases the size of your hippocampus which is an area in your brain that is vital to learning, memory, and higher thinking.
Now, when someone does not engage in physical activity this can lead to obesity. It has been found that obesity can worsen memory while weight loss can improve memory. Studies show man running on waterthat obese people have 4 times the risk of experiencing dementia later in life, and another study proved how obese patients who underwent weight-loss surgery or started to exercise showed a significant improvement in their memory compared with others who did not. The moral of these studies is to get up, get out, and do some fun physical activities, because it is not only healthy for your body but for your mind.


Mental Exercises:

brain_exercising_lg_clr.gif~c200blue_puzzle_anim_md_wmThe next step to a healthy brain is taking part in mental activities that stimulate your mind and build those brain muscles. Educational pursuits, bilingualism, and doing puzzles or riddles are just some of the few ways you can activate the mind and improve your memory. These types of mental simulations are also associated with a lower risk of  Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

sheldonBeing a college student, my life is filled with confusing classes, long days of homework, and the anxiety of trying to figure out my life and future plans. I know I am not alone when I say that being a college student can cause a life of stress. However, chronic stress can cause a decrease in your brain health. People prone to stress may experience depression, an increased risk of dementia, and a 2 times greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Nevertheless, things such as tumblr_inline_nxct8hCHLn1rowv7x_500healthy, supportive social networks and meditation or yoga can help manage and reduce stress. They can also increase relaxation which is vital to your overall mental health. Even in your busy life go out, relax, and treat yourself to some much needed “me time” in order to destress and keep your brain healthy.

Screenshot 2016-02-16 09.52.35Nutrition:

Screenshot 2016-02-16 09.56.36Along with physical and mental exercises, nutrition and the foods you consume are equally important in maintaining a healthy brain. Dr. Small spoke about the significant impacts of foodsveggies on our brains. He showed that it is important to consume the proper amounts of Omega-3 fats such as fish and nuts in order to help your brain stay healthy. You should also eat good portions of antioxidant fruits and vegetables as well as avoiding processed foods at all costs. Even in college while eating dining hall food,  there are still multiple ways you can eat healthy foods through just eating a good amount of fruits and vegetables everyday. Just get out there and eat nutritious foods that will not only benefit your body but also your brain.

All of these lifestyle choices can be easily followed in order to create an overall beneficial life. Take care of your whole body now, and gain the amazing advantages as you age. A healthier lifestyle can lead to a healthier brain so why not take the extra step to better your future and benefit both your body and mind.

Brain Teasers: 

Now just for some fun and to get your brains working and heading toward a healthier future, here are a couple little riddles. Hope you can all figure them out! (Spoiler Alert – Answers Immediately Below!)

Riddle 1: What am I Eating?

You throw away the outside and cook the inside; you eat the outside and throw away the inside. What am I eating?

Riddle 2: Prisoner Escape

A prisoner is locked in a cell and is planning to escape. The cell measures 13 feet x 13 feet x 13 feet. The walls are made of concrete and extend down into the dirt floor. The only openings in the cell are a locked door and a skylight at the very top of the prison. The only items in the prison are the prisoner and one shovel. The prisoner thinks he can escape by digging a tunnel but finds that this is impossible. However, he has found another way to get out. How does he plan to escape?

Riddle 3: Two Paths and Two Guards

You are traveling down a path and you come to a fork in the road with one path leading East and one path leading West. One path leads you to Paradise and the other one leads you to Death. However, you do not know which road leads you down each path, and once you start walking down a path you cannot turn back. Standing at the fork in the road are two guards. One guard always tells the truth and the other guard always lies. However, you cannot distinguish between the two guards. You are allowed to ask ONE guard ONE question to figure out which path leads to Paradise. Remember that you do not know which guard you are asking the question to – the truth-teller or the liar – nor do you know which path leads where. What one question do you ask one of the guards in order to guarantee that you will be directed onto the path to Paradise, regardless of which guard you happen to ask?

Brain Teaser Answers:

Riddle 1: What am I Eating?

Corn on the Cob

corn on cob gifRiddle 2: Prisoner Escape

The prisoner plans to use the shovel to dig up the dirt floor and make a mound of dirt in order to climb out the top of the prison through the skylight.

Screenshot 2016-02-16 10.20.57Riddle 3: Two Paths and Two Guards

In order to insure you take the correct path you would ask the question “Which path would the other guard instruct me to follow in order to get to Paradise?” to one of the guards and then take the opposite path. If you ask this question to the truth-teller he will tell you the truth and say that the other guard (the liar) will tell you to go down the path that leads to Death. Therefore, you should take the opposite road that the truth-teller tells you to take. If you ask this question to the liar he will lie and tell you the other guard (the truth-teller) will not tell you the truth and actually tell you to follow the wrong path that ends up in Death. Therefore, you once again should take the opposite road that this guard tells you to take.

Screenshot 2016-02-16 10.21.10

Got any good riddles for us?  Let us know in the comments below.

Read More By Lauren:

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