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30 June 2009

7 Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp

Tease your brain

Lack of education is a strong predictor of cognitive decline. The more you've tried to learn, the better off you'll be in old age.

Calm down

Stress takes a toll on your brain by washing harmful chemicals over the hippocampus and other brain areas involved in memory. Some scientists suspect that living a balanced lifestyle and pursuing relaxing activities such as yoga, socializing and crafting may delay memory impairment by reducing stress.

Omega 3’s

Essential fatty acids, such as Omega 3’s, are critical to brain function and are proving beneficial for treating such brain-sapping ailments as depression.

Get your beauty rest

When you rest and dream, memories are sifted through, some discarded, others consolidated and saved. When you don't sleep, proteins build up on synapses, possibly making it hard to think and learn new things.

Take care of your body

Preventable diseases -- such as Type II diabetes, obesity and hypertension -- all affect your brain. System-wide health concerns have been linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline and memory impairments.

Watch your diet

Too much or too little energy throws a kink in your brain’s delicate machinery. A steady pace of digestion in your gut gives a more reliable flow of energy to your brain, likely optimizing the organ's long-term health and performance.

Do something!

Scientists are starting to think that regular aerobic exercise may be the single most important thing you can do for the long-term health of your brain. While the heart and lungs respond loudly to a sprint on the treadmill, the brain is quietly getting fitter with each step, too.

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