Reaching out and helping other people might make you feel better about yourself, but it could be better for you than than you might think.

New studies suggest it can help protect your brain from dementia. Researchers at the University of California Davis studied data from about 2,500 elderly adults who were tested for their cognitive and motor abilities. Scientists found those who volunteered had better results with enhanced mental stimulation, social interactions and physical activity.

Analysts say the results show helping people could protect the brain from dementia and overall cognitive decline.