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Keep Brain Sharp: Learn One New Thing a Day

By Mehmet Oz, M.D. and Michael Roizen, M.D.   |   Wednesday, 02 Jan 2013 08:20 AM

From "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931) to "Inception" (2011), Hollywood always has been fascinated with what goes on in the human brain. But sci-fi doesn't do justice to the astounding three-pound supercomputer between your ears. It's got 100 billion neurons and 1,000 times that many connections. So it takes some TLC to keep it in tip-top shape. That's why it's so exciting that recent research reveals how to enhance your intellect, strengthen perception, and protect your gray matter over the long haul.

Start with your 'tude, dude. When you think of yourself as "older" and associate aging with declining abilities, you're five times more likely to test positive for dementia than if you have a youthful sense of self. Luckily, you're never too old to renew your inner youthfulness. Three sure-fire ways: Touch and be touched — hugs, intimate contact, or massage stimulate feel-good hormones; learn one new thing a day, as it keeps the brain young; and meditate 10 minutes daily to build resilience and manage neuron-damaging stress.

Build neurons and muscles. Physical activity stimulates the growth of new neurons and new connections between them. That preserves your memory and overall cognitive function.

Get some fat-isfaction. Your brain reacts to the fats you eat, and a new study found saturated fats (in meats and dairy) KO brain function. But cognitive, verbal, and memory skills are amped up by monounsaturated (olive oil) and polyunsaturated (canola and safflower oil) fats, omega-3s in walnuts (6x more than other nuts), and DHA in fish and omega-3 supplements.

© 2013 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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A positive attitude about aging, regular exercise, and eating the right kinds of fats help elevate brain health and function, Dr. Oz says.

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