Could Crosswords Boost Your Brain?

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For years, Sudoku has been hailed a way to help fend off dementia and a recent study has consolidated this idea. Researchers at King’s College London and the University of Exeter found that those who regularly do crosswords and number puzzles have healthier cognitive functions.

“We’ve found that the more regularly people engage with puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku, the sharper their performance is across a range of tasks assessing memory, attention and reasoning. The improvements are particularly clear in the speed and accuracy of their performance,” says Dr Anne Corbett, of the University of Exeter Medical School, who led the research.

Over 17,000 healthy people, aged over 50, took part in the study and researchers concluded that those who regularly play these puzzles have the brain function of someone up to 10 years younger. However, Corbett is quick to state that doing “We can’t say that playing these puzzles necessarily reduces the risk of dementia in later life but this research supports previous findings that indicate regular use of word and number puzzles helps keep our brains working better for longer.”

Dr Doug Brown from the Alzheimer’s Society is equally as cautious: “We know that keeping an active mind can help to reduce decline in thinking skills. This new research does reveal a link between word puzzles, like crosswords, and memory and thinking skills, but we can’t say definitively that regular ‘puzzling’ improves these skills.”

Picking up a pencil and doing the daily crossword might help boost your brain more than downloading the latest app though. A study in 2017 by the University of Pennsylvania called into question the power of commercial brain training apps, specifically Lumosity, in improving cognitive functions. The study monitored 64 healthy adults, who used the app for 30 minutes everyday, for five days a week, across a 10 week period and concluded that the training didn’t have any affect on brain functions or decision making.

What are the other brain boosting options for those who hate crosswords and puzzles?

Get your Zzz’s: It will come as no surprise that getting enough sleep is crucial for making sure your brain is performing at A-game level. A study in 2018 by the University of Illinois found that those with diabetes who slept badly had poorer brain power than those who regularly slept better. Making sure you get at least seven hours of shut-eye each night will ensure you’re more alert and focused.

Dabble in nootropics: You might have heard of the word ‘nootropics’, but still be unclear as to what they actually are. Essentially, nootropics help to stimulate your brain and you’ve probably used them already with the caffeine in your morning coffee. Natural nootropics, such as those formulated by Neubria, use ingredients such as ginkgo biloba and turmeric extract to help sharpen your memory and improve your focus and concentration levels. Whether you want to improve your word recall or just need a helping hand to get you through a long meeting at four o’clock, it’s definitely worth exploring the brand.

Stock up on blueberries: According to research by the University of Exeter, drinking concentrated blueberry juice everyday can boost the blood flow to your brain and improve cognitive functions.

Bright Idea: the Light Salon Boost at Home LED mask

The Daily Telegraph

Let there be lights. Your skin will thank you – By Lisa Armstrong

  • The Light Salon LED Mask

    A few months ago, I tried out a light mask because I thought, one day, these will be the coming thing.

    That day is here. They’re launching on to the market in their droves. If you haven’t seen one in action yet, you’re in for comedy gold. They’re quite large, generally made fromsome kind of plastic or fibreglass – more Darth Vadar than face pack. And the light show… some have green, yellow, blue and white emissions, which all have separate properties. Blue is antimicrobial and good for breakouts and acne. Green, yellow and white are soothing.

    But the biggie is infrared, the benefits of which (mood enhancer, muscle soother, collagen production booster, healer and all-round ally) have been recognised for the best part of a century.

    The Light Salon’s Boost mask is the most comfortable I’ve come across. Made from flexible silicon, it’s light and easy to pack and even easier to wear. It stays in place with a strap and bathes your face and neck in infrared and near-infrared rays while you whip up a smoothie or read a book. Frankie Graddon, of this parish, swears she cooked up a curry while test-driving hers. I’ve been listening to Radio 4’s book of the week – Machines Like Me, Ian McEwan’s latest novel about a robot that gets too human-like for comfort – in mine, which feels highly outfit appropriate. Read More…

The Link Between Depression And Constipation

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Over the past few years research has continued to flag up the importance of having a healthy, balanced gut. The latest study might be of interest for those who suffer with depression and constipation. While discussing depression might have become more socially acceptable, there is still a stigma attached to speaking freely about our bowel movements, or lack of. Read More…

Meditation Might Not Be As Good For You As You Think

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Almost every self-proclaimed wellness guru advocates the power of meditation. Shutting your mind off and focusing on a single object is thought to help re-centre your mind, body and soul. Meditation has been championed for its de-stressing and sleep-inducing powers and plenty of people will say it’s fundamental to them balancing busy schedules and unexpected catastrophes that modern life throws at them on a daily basis. Read More…

The Mood Booster That Won’t Cost You A Penny

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Most of us have needed a mood booster at least once this month, maybe even this week or today. There are over 111,000 Google search results for ‘how to boost your mood’ and almost 180,000 results for ‘how can I instantly improve my mood’. It’s no surprise considering the findings in analytics firm Gallup’s Global State of Emotions report. More of us are feeling sadder, angrier and more fearful, according to the report. Read More…

Vice Reversa: Micro-needling Pads

Micro-needling pads: the new anti-aging beauty hack that could save you hundreds of pounds

 

  • Have you heard about micro needling? It’s the buzziest facial on the anti-aging scene, which customers can shell out upwards of £200 at clinics for. But a new beauty brand promises to do exactly the same thing for you at home…and for a fraction of the price. Vice Reversa’s micro needling Plumping Patches, promise younger skin after just a few uses – without having to move off the sofa.

    Also known as dermarolling, micro needling is an on the up non-surgical anti-aging procedure that involves tiny punctures being pierced in the skin with very fine needles to rejuvenate skin, boost collagen and reduce the look of scarring. Sound painful? Not quite. Vice Reversa claim that you “won’t feel a thing” when wearing their patches, and unlike the in-salon micro needling facial, the pads don’t use a dermaroller, so are great for those who only want to dip a tentative toe in the pond of the beauty craze.

    Infused with hyaluronic acid, amino acids and peptides, which penetrate the skin more deeply once the punctures have been made, the pads get to work within two hours – though the brand recommends leaving them on over night for optimum results. After cleansing, just place the pads in target areas on your face – namely, under the eyes and along smile lines – then sit back and let them do the work for you. Use them twice a week for best results.

    And it seems we’re not the only ones desperate to try this buzzy new beauty hack – the pads proved so popular after their launch that they sold out within 24 hours! Lucky for us, they’re now back in stock – so grab them here before they go! Or if it’s an anti-blemish treatment you’re after, try the brand’s Micro Needling Pimple Patches to get rid of a pesky spot, stat.