Staying Smart as You Age

(CNN) — You may be getting older, but don’t fret–you can help keep your brain young with some simple lifestyle changes.

“A moderate amount of exercise, eating well, managing your stress,” said Dr. William Hu, Emory Neurologist.

Exercising three to five times a week increases blood flow to the brain, which keeps it working smarter and reduces the risk of mini strokes.

“It’s fairly common when we see someone with early memory troubles, we’ll see a certain degree of mini strokes that have occurred over time,” Hu said.

Healthy eating may also decrease stroke risk, and foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, like fish and walnuts, are very important for brain health.

“It seems that people who eat lots of fish and seafood tend to have healthier brain aging overall,” Hu said.

That’s also true for those who eat a plant-based diet. And reducing stress through meditation also helps keep our brains younger longer. Significant stress causes brain changes that can lead to memory loss.

Dr. Hu says meditators tend to have better blood flow to the brain’s frontal cortex. That’s the area where one must use to stay sharp and multitask and make accurate decisions, Hu said.

So if you want to stay smarter longer, take steps now to improve your lifestyle by exercising, eating right and meditating.

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