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2 Tips to Keep Your Brain Sharp

2 Tips to Keep Your Brain Sharp

I’m pretty forgetful. Whether it’s my phone, the pair of socks I was just carrying or the list I wrote to make sure I didn’t forget things, I’m usually searching for something I misplaced. Which is why taking steps to keep my mind sharp as I get older is especially important—I do not have the brain cells to spare!

In the same boat? Read on for two of my favorite tips. (Now wait, what were we talking about?)

1. Follow the MIND Diet and eat blueberries: A study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association found that people who followed the MIND diet had a 53 percent reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Even those who only followed it moderately reduced their disease—by 35 percent. The MIND diet is a cross between the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, encouraging “brain-healthy food groups” (vegetables, nuts, berries—especially blueberries—beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and even a daily glass of wine), and discouraging red meats, butter, cheese, pastries and fried/fast food. The diet itself isn’t novel—but its connection with brain health is. That tradeoff is definitely enough to make me reconsider my next cheese Danish!

2. Get up off the couch now for a better brain in 30 years: You probably know that physical activity can boost brain function—but a recent study found a link between physical activity when you’re young and dementia decades later. Those who had the most TV time and least exercise as young adults had almost two times the risk of dementia later in life. Think of health like building blocks: Starting healthier habits at a young age creates a foundation for better health and brain function for life.

Medically reviewed in June 2018.

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