5 Easy Steps to Keep Your Brain Young
Most healthy activities are also brain boosters. To keep a sound mind in your healthy body, Linda Burke, MD, a family practitioner on staff at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County, offers these simple steps.
- Eat smart. According to one study, following the "Mediterranean diet" lowered the risk for Alzheimer's disease. This diet scrimps on meat but features lots of veggies, legumes, fruits, cereals, olive oil and fish. (See Page 10 of this issue for an easy recipe.)
- Challenge your brain. To keep your mind alert, try learning a new game, musical instrument or language; solving crossword puzzles; playing board games such as chess, checkers or Scrabble; or reading. And turn off your TV. A study in Neurology revealed that older people who watched a lot of television lost more mental ground than moderate viewers.
- Move it so that you don't lose it. Exercise gets your blood circulating and boosts coordination. If you like variety in your exercise, so much the better. Doing cardiovascular exercise such as walking or swimming and mind-body exercise such as t'ai chi aids memory more than doing just one type of exercise.
- If you smoke, quit. Smoking damages blood vessels, including those in the brain. So, it could well contribute to vascular dementia.
- Beware excess pounds. A study in Age and Ageing found that the risk for dementia rises along with your body mass index. Need a slimming tip? Beware those liquid calories. Substitute fresh or sparkling water for high-calorie sodas and fruit drinks.
Linda Burke, MD
For more information about Dr. Burke or another Lourdes expert, call 1-888-LOURDES (568-7337) or visit the Lourdes Health System Web site at www.lourdesnet.org and click on "Find a Physician."