5 Ways to Keep Your Noggin Sharp

For most people, among the scariest aspects of growing older is the possibility of losing one’s memory and mental agility. While there is no way to absolutely prevent this from occurring, there are many things you can do to increase the odds of having a sharp mind well into your 80s and 90s.

1. Don’t drink or smoke. More than moderate drinking and smoking impedes the blood flow to the brain, a necessary part of keeping your memory sharp.

2. Exercise your mind. Just like your legs and abs need exercise to stay in good shape, so do your brain cells. Exercise your “little gray cells” by reading regularly, trying new skills, going back to school and/or relaxing with mental challenges like crosswords and suduko puzzles.

3. Eat fish at least once a week. According to a Rush University study cited by “Prevention” magazine, people who eat fish with Omega-3 acids, such as salmon, tuna and cod once a week or more lower their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 60 percent.

4. Don’t be afraid to nap. A well-timed 60 minute nap can jump-start your mental alertness and allow you to return to what you’re doing rested and refreshed. Even a 10-minute nap can be beneficial.

5. Be social. According to “Woman’s Day” magazine, people who connect with family and friends regularly, not only live up to 20 percent longer, but they also stay much sharper than they would alone.

While there is no magic pill that will guarantee that your memory will stay sharp for the rest of your life, you can greatly increase the odds by limiting your alcohol, refraining from smoking, eating fish once a week and making sure to exercise your mind.

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