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Superfood For Your Brain

So, what’s the best superfood for your brain? Yep, you guessed it — a book! And… just what are a few of the advantages of always having a good book to read — there are plenty! For starters, (1) reading has been found to increase the pleasures of one’s daily life; (2) As well… through research findings, we know that reading a book will delay the onset of that dreaded disease — dementia; and (3) and honestly reading a great book just helps you live longer!

So, What Does the Research Tell Us?

Hey, I know that me and you don’t have the time to dig into twelve, maybe thirteen years of research regarding this topic; however, researchers at Yale School of Public Health have done just that… and an astounding pattern seem to emerge — people who read books, fiction, non-fiction, poetry and/or prose, as little as thirty minutes a day for an extended period of time — a month, six months, a year… research has found that this group of people, on an average, lives two years longer than those who don’t! WOWZA!

While we’ve known for a long time that it is advantageous to read to babies… some parents even choose to read to their unborn child and then continue that habit throughout those young critical years. On the flip side of this scenario, in adults and especially adults who have reached 40-50 years of age, reading continues to build language acquisition which in turn builds healthy brain function!

So, What’s the Deal With Books?

So, then does it matter what kind of material we engage with as adults. The answer is a resounding, “YES!” Researchers tell us that we must engage in reading books of fiction, non-fiction books, etc. which force our brains to engage and think critically and here it comes… MAKE CONNECTIONS! When we, as readers, make connection with the text, then our brains make connections, which of course, forge new pathways between all the regions and hemispheres of our brain. This is nothing but astounding for all of our neural networks and probably the one most important defense against the decaying of our brain — I know… that sounds depressing! But literally, when researching these neural connections and patients with a stage of Alzheimers Disease, it has been found that those people who read and engage their brain to think critically and make connections ward off this dreaded disease much better than those who don’t!

Emotional Intelligence

Secondly, reading books increases our ability to be able to have empathy for others and increases our emotional intelligence. You ask, “What is emotional intelligence?” Specifically, to enhance our emotional intelligence, we must read literary stories — not just non-fiction in order to engage with the characters in the text which increases our social skills, empathy, and emotional intelligence. Just being able to more positively interact with friends, family members, and just people in general decreases our stress levels which leads to a longer life!

Vocabulary Galore

The benefits of reading just continue to multiply and multiply several times over. Reading anything and reading everything obviously has the power to increase your vocabulary. A large vocabulary has the ability to make us more resilient and fuels our “cognitive reserve.” Our cognitive reserve acts like a “healer,” much like when we cut ourself or injure ourself in some way, and then we heal. Cognitive reserves allow our brain to re-route or find new other pathways to combat brain decay. Vocabulary has no age limits and plays a vital role in keeping us mentally alert, aware, and strong. Finally, having a strong, vibrant vocabulary is the absolute best weapon against any sort of mental decline; therefore, in the absence of reading and continually developing one’s vocabulary, one is sure to lose his/her wits or mental capacity to think logically and rationalize.

Learning Second Languages

It also can be said that learning a second language increases our brain power. While as we age, becoming competent in a second language, becomes increasingly difficult, just having “some basics” in regards to a second language are advantageous to us!

So, What’s the Bottom Line?

What is the bottom line? It is very plain and simple — Increase your word power to increase your brain power, TODAY, TOMORROW, and the REST of YOUR LIFE!

What do you like to read? What are some suggestions of great novels, poetry, prose, self-help etc. that you might suggest? I know what I am going to start with… I just saw it today in my inbox– one of my favorite Christian ladies — Beth Moore and her new study, The Quest A Journey Toward Intimacy with God, has just hit the shelf a bit early! Whoo Hoo! There is where I will begin!

Happy Labor Day!

Terri

 

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