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10 Healthy Habits That Will Keep Your Mind Sharp

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This is a write-up of a recent article in TheHealthy entitled “10 Healthy Habits That Will Keep Your Mind Sharp”.
The article was written by Marissa Laliberte and was medically reviewed by Renata Chalfin, MD.

From exercise to sleep to healthy eating, the choices you make every day can help prevent dementia and keep your brain sharp.

Brain health is important

Keeping mentally sharp is of greatest concern or priority for many people—particularly as they get older. Almost half of people aged 50 to 64 are concerned about their brain health and report worrying about memory loss and dementia, according to the University of Michigan’s National Poll on Healthy Aging.   However, despite brain health being a top concern, researchers found that most people were unsure about the best way to protect their minds; they were either taking supplements or solving puzzles, but most had not talked with their doctors about more effective ways to prevent cognitive decline. So we did it for them. Here are the experts’ recommendations:


Here are the recommended 10 healthy habits:

How about eating avocados and salmon?
Don’t worry about eating fat.  If you want a healthy brain, load up your plate with nuts, salmon and avocadoes.  Eating a diet rich in healthy fats can protect your brain as you age, keeping your brain sharp and even delaying the onset of cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s, according to a study published in Cell Metabolism.

The featured article has a “more foods that will help with brain health” link and it recommends these other types of excellent brain foods: walnuts, eggs, blueberries, wine and champagne, kale and other green leafy vegetables, coffee, whole grains.  Remember:  you are what you eat!

Anyway, the advice is to stick with a Mediterranean-style diet.  It is loaded with fresh fruits and veggies, healthy fats like olive oil, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and fish, with moderate amounts of red wine and limited red meat.  Recent studies have found that older people who closely followed such a Mediterranean-style diet retained more brain volume during a three-year period than those who didn’t follow the diet quite as closely. Our brains are known to shrink with advancing age, and this loss of volume and brain cells has been linked to memory and cognitive deficits.

Never miss a date night
Forget the stereotype of spouses driving each other crazy.   A happy marriage improves brain health and memory, according to a study published in the BMJ. Researchers found that men and women who are married have a 43 percent lower chance of developing dementia.

How about gardening?
Gardening may be one of the healthiest things you can do.  But it isn’t just a good workout for your body, it’s also exercise for your brain, according to research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Scientists found that getting outside and working in the soil protects cognitive health by increasing brain volume and gray matter.

Be a zen master
“Meditation is a simple and effective way to reduce stress and improve your brain function,” says Catherine Loveday, PhD, a psychologist specializing in the neuropsychology of memory, a professor of psychology at the University of Westminster in London, England. Doing a daily meditationsignificantly reduced stress, improved memory, and increased ability to focus, according to a meta-analysis published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

How about learning new things?
Seniors who spend time playing any type of brain game using an app or a computer better remembered daily events and how to perform simple tasks than those in other groups who did activities that didn’t involve learning new skills, such as watching movies or socializing with others, according to a meta-analysis in the journal The Gerontologist. Try it yourself instead of sticking with what you already know.

How about  playing a puzzle?
Scientists are discovering that Crossword, Sudoku, word search, jigsaw, and other types of puzzles aren’t just fun, they’re good for your brain.  They demonstrated that people who regularly played number and word puzzle games showed improved concentration, memory, problem solving and reasoning skills.  Researchers suggest complex brainteasers, which involve planning and readjusting strategies, might help improve memory. The featured article has an area entitled “Free brain games to try”.

Remember to always keep stress in check
“Stress is a killer, both for your body and your brain,” say the scientists. Short-term stress can break your focus but over the long-term stress can have serious cognitive impacts, reducing concentration, learning, and memory, according to research published in Nature. 

Remember to cut back on sugar
Sugary treats drain your brain, say the scientists. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a significant link between high blood sugar and dementia.  A separate study published in the Journal of Neurology found that even people whose blood sugar was on the higher end of “normal” still showed memory loss and cognitive impairment compared to their less sugared-up counterparts.

Always get the sleep you need
The physical process of memory storage in the brain depends on sleep, so don’t skimp on it, say the scientists.  According to a study published in PLoS One, people who got a good night’s sleep did better on tests that measured both working memory and long-term memory.  A good night’s sleep is vital.  Numerous experiments have shown that a lot of memory storage occurs while we sleep.

Do various types of exercise
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to protect your brain health. Anything that is good for the heart will also be good for the brain, say the scientists.  But benefits may go beyond improved blood flow and oxygenation.  In a recent experiment, people who did any type of exercise—including walking, lifting weights, yoga, or taking a fitness class—had sharper memories, faster recall, better retention, and better emotional recall than their couch-potato peers, according to a study published in Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. The featured article contains a link entitled:  50 fascinating facts about your brain that will blow your mind.


From exercise to sleep to healthy eating, the choices you make every day can help prevent dementia and keep your brain sharp.


We hope you have enjoyed our featured article:  10 Healthy Habits That Will Keep Your Mind Sharp.

Please try some of the suggestions in the article and let us know how they work out for you.  We’d love to hear about your progress!


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Comments (4) on "10 Healthy Habits That Will Keep Your Mind Sharp"

  1. Hi, I went through your article and I truly found it helpful. I must say that these are very important tips to keep us healthy. I just never realized that playing puzzle games can contribute to a healthy brain. I’ve been playing some of the most challenging games recently, but it was just out of boredom. I am happy to find out that they are good for my brain health. Thanks for sharing this informative article with us.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Kokontala.  I’m glad you liked the suggestions in my blog.  Yes, puzzles are definitely good for a healthy brain.  Please keep in touch with us and let us know how you do with the other exercises suggested.

  2. This was a great read Monique, thanks for sharing! I personally love puzzles, and can never get enough!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Adrian! I’m glad you liked the blog, and keep on doing the puzzles, your brain will thank you! Please let us know how you do with the suggested exercises and puzzles.

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