A Healthy Mind

Research suggests that eating a healthful diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables not only helps you stay slim and lowers your risk for heart disease, but also preserves memory, boosts alertness and may even prevent Alzheimer's disease.

Proteins and foods high in unsaturated fats help with brain development, while eating foods low in cholesterol and saturated fats can give it a jump-start.  By including antioxidant vitamins E and C, you can help protect your brain, which ages like many other organs.  The aging process is responsible for a decline in memory, decision-making ability and verbal skills.  So, what else can you do to help boost your brain?

Exercise your mind Challenge your brain daily by making note of last week’s activities, working on crossword puzzles, trying a new hobby or reading more books.

Exercise your body Physical exercise reduces depression and other cardiovascular risks. It also produces a euphoric state by releasing endorphins. Enjoy physical activity daily; take the stairs rather than elevator at work, park in the back of the parking lot or take a brisk 10-minute walk during lunch.

Focus on safety Wear protective head gear when enjoying physical activities like riding a bike or snowboarding. Wear a seat belt to protect your head from trauma in case of a car accident.

Get plenty of sleep Lack of sleep leads to mental fatigue and loss of memory. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. During sleep, the brain repairs itself, collects the day’s events and files everything into memory.

Reduce stress Stress can lead to memory loss. High stress releases cortisol in the brain, which absorbs the brain’s primary food source, glucose. Reduce stress with exercise, meditation or a quiet activity you enjoy.

Listen to music Research shows that music is good for the brain, specifically baroque music, which can reduce stress.