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4 Tips for Long Lasting Mental Health

1. Get Fit
As if this isn’t beaten into our heads enough, we now have another reason to get our butts, or brains, to the gym. Your brain needs circulation, blood flow, and oxygen just as much as other organs and muscles do in order to function productively. Accordingly, aerobic exercise has been found to reduce brain cell loss in elderly patients and allows for new cells to grow. There aren’t requirements on duration so long as you are actively exercising each day or regularly.

2. Feed Your Brain
Research shows eating a diet specifically low in fat and cholesterol but high in protein and sugar can reduce the risk of developing dementia and side effects leading to the disease. We are all pretty much aware of what “body healthy” is but what is “brain healthy?” If you’re on a clean eating diet now you’re on the right track. Staying away from foods high in fat will greatly reduce the risk of blood clots as they greatly increase your risk in the development of Alzheimer’s.

Products such as vegetables and dark-skinned fruits promote excellent brain health because of the antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients they provide directly, rather than from a pill. Also recommended are nuts and cold-water fish for the omega-3 fatty acids they contain.

3. Become a Social Butterfly
Staying close with friends and family and being involved in social activities and social situations can greatly contribute to a long life of strong cognitive health. (NOTE: This does not promote ditching Tips 1 & 2 and only maintaining a large social group!) Along with physical exercise and a healthy diet, you should be incorporating activities into your life to maintain those social skills we developed and honed as kids. Keeping your brain active through conversation can make an enormous difference as you age. Not only that but if you work out with a friend or work with your partner to maintain a healthy diet, you can kill two birds with one stone.

4. Let your Brain Work
If you’ve nailed Tips 1-3 you’re doing great but Tip 4 is where many people struggle – including me. In a time with so much technology around us, it’s hard to turn off Angry Birds or the Kardashians and take 30 minutes to get lost in a book. When is the last time you did a crossword puzzle? What about Scrabble? Using games where you have to use strategy to participate are great ways to keep your brain sharp and active on the inside. We may need exercise to bring our brain some much-needed blood flow but let it out of its proverbial cage and play sometimes.