Expert-recommended tips to keep your brain sharp at any age.
Staying mentally sharp is important as we age. And it can be easy if you know how. We asked Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D., author of Eat Your Way to Sexy, to share her top brain boosters she recommends to everyone. And here’s what she said:
Eat smart! I have a 75 percent rule: eat real, unprocessed food at least 3/4 of the time. And it’s critical to focus on foods that protect the brain from damage while providing the building blocks for healthy brain cells as well. I’m talking about anti-inflammatory/antioxidant-rich foods, such as berries and spinach. The building blocks would come partially from omega-3-rich foods, especially the omega-3 fat DHA. Think salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and get at least two servings a week.
Exercise, every day. People who exercise are mentally sharper, perform better at school and work, are more creative, have faster reaction times, and are leaner than their couch potato friends. Since being overweight by middle age increases dementia risk three-fold, avoiding weight gain by moving more is critical for circuitry, circulation and your waistline.
Stay social engaged. People who volunteer, go to church or belong to any social group are more likely to stay mentally sharp.
Keep learning. Challenge your brain by taking French classes, doing crossword puzzles, brushing your teeth with the other hand, not using the GPS and figuring out how to get somewhere, learning to tango, etc. You create alternate nerve pathways in the brain, which can compensate for any clogged ones as you age, thus significantly lowering the risk for memory loss.
Protect yourself from heart disease. Keep your circulatory system in top condition. What you feed your heart, feeds your brain. If your arteries are clogged, they will be clogged going both north and south, which means a higher risk for heart disease AND dementia. Cut out the saturated and trans fats, limit refined grains and added sugars, and boost intake of naturally fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
Elizabeth Somer, M.A.,R.D., is the author of Eat Your Way to Sexy (Harlequin) available on amazon.com.