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Keeping Your Brain Healthy While You Age: Five Tips to Help You Stay Sharp

Aug 30, 2008
Recent scientific discoveries have shown that the body is not the only thing that ages as we grow old. Your brain can also experience the effects of aging, especially if you don't take steps to keep it healthy. The following five suggestions will help you stay sharp.

1. Eating for Brain Health. Your brain relies on the foods that you eat, as well as the rest that you get, in order to work properly. It's important to eat a well-balanced diet. Eating foods considered to be "brain healthy" will help keep your body and your brain working at optimum levels. These foods include vegetables, foods high in antioxidants (such as blueberries, raisins, red bell peppers and eggplant), omega-3 fatty acids (mostly found in cold water fish) and B vitamins.

Recent research has also indicated the importance of two other brain nutrients: alpha-lipoic acid and acetyl l-carnitine. Talk to your doctor about taking supplements of these nutrients to help keep your brain young. Both of these supplements increase the energy output of the mitochondria, a part of your cells that produce the energy that runs your entire body. Over time, mitochondria start to disintegrate and taking a supplement may help to prevent or slow this process.

New research is coming out all the time on the effects of various nutritional supplements on brain health, so stay alert to new developments in this exciting branch of modern science.

2. Physical Exercise. Your brain also loves physical exercise. Exercise brings more oxygen into your body, which is great for your brain. Physical activity also helps by producing stress proteins that encourage the regeneration of brain cells.

For best results, according to recent research, you need to be mentally engaged with the exercise activity. If you consider your exercise boring, and you mentally check out during the activity, research suggests that you are not going to get the same benefits as someone who is having fun and is fully engaged during the exercise.

3. Mental Exercise. Your brain is a muscle and, in order to keep it fit as you age, you need to continue to exercise it as much as possible. The first way you can do this is through improving and maintaining your reasoning skills. This can be done through puzzles or challenging games, such as chess. Stretch your brain by reading philosophy or engaging in friendly debating with some friends. Another part of exercising your brain is improving your verbal skills. Word of the Day calendars, crossword puzzles, and games such as Scrabble can also help increase your vocabulary and strengthen your brain.

4. Try something new. Expand your experience by taking up an instrument or trying to learn a new language. Not only are these hobbies fun, but they can also help to create new connections in your brain. These new connections improve the overall strength of your brain and allow you to learn and remember more over time.

5. R & R. Finally, your brain functions best when it has had enough rest. Getting enough sleep is important to your mental functioning and also in the storage of memories. When you have good sleep habits, you'll be able to think more clearly and you may even find that you start to remember more than you did before.
About the Author
Jamie Jefferson writes for Momscape.com and Susies-Coupons.com, where she shares product reviews including a great natural insomnia cure as well as drugstore.com coupons.
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