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June 21, 2016

5 Simple Tips for Keeping a Sharp Mind

Do you ever walk into a room then think, wait, what did I come in here for? How about forgetting your keys, misplacing your phone, or forgetting one of the three things you needed to remember to pick up at the store?

It is not an uncommon problem, but as we age it's important to keep our minds sharp. Just like a muscle, the brain needs constant exercise and nutrition in order to function at peak efficiency. So how do we keep our brains working hard well into our older years?

Simple Ways to Stay Focused and Keep Your Mind Sharp

  • Eat more brain-healthy foods.
    Eating a variety of vegetables and plenty of berries, especially blueberries, not only benefit the brain but also overall health. Good neurological connections are made when nerve cells can send signals efficiently, which means they need to have a healthy layer of fat to move that message along. Healthy fats like nuts, fish, and olive oil (rather than fats from red meats, butter, cheese, and fried foods) will support these connections and can help reduce the risk of Alzheimers disease. Here are some great ways to get healthier without breaking the bank!
  • Keep learning.
    Whether through going back to school, picking up a new hobby, or even working on a crossword puzzle, keeping your brain active and solving problems will help keep your memory strong well into old age. These mental exercises activate processes in the brain, and stimulate communication between nerve cells. So try volunteering, or learning a new skill or language - it will enrich your life, and your brain!
  • Hydrate that brain!
    We have mentioned many times about how important it is to stay hydrated. But did you know that good hydration also helps keep your brain going at peak efficiency? Research has shown that when were thirsty, we have more difficulty staying focused. It also impacts our short-term and long-term memory recall. We are most dehydrated when we first wake up in the morning, and drinking a large glass of water first thing has been shown to jump-start brain function, flush out toxins, and fire up your metabolism. Add some True Lemon to your morning water to help boost your desire to reach for that glass.
  • Stay positive.
    Positive thinking has a lot of power, especially when it comes to how we perceive aging. Studies have shown that middle-aged and older learners have done worse on memory tests when they were exposed to negative stereotypes about aging. But when they received positive messages? Yep, they did better. People who constantly joke about how they are getting old when they are forgetful could be indirectly convincing themselves that they have no control over their memory function. Keeping a positive mindset will help you translate that into good habits, and provide a better chance for keeping your brain sharp later in life.
  • Put on those running shoes - for your brain!
    Physical activity is important for many reasons, but a recent study found a link between exercising at a younger age and the risk of dementia decades later. People who exercised less as young adults had a risk two times higher of getting dementia later in life. So get up off that couch, and start moving!


[Credit:"6 Simple Steps to Keep Your Mind Sharp at Any Age." Harvard Healthy Publications.]
[Credit: Bailey, Chris. "Killer morning habit: Drink 16oz of water right after you wake up."A Life of Productivity.]
[Credit:Gowin, Joshua."Why Your Brain Needs Water." Psychology Today.]
[Credit:Gillespie, Darria Long."2 Tips to Keep Your Brain Sharp."ShareCare.]