These Brain Tips are a summary of findings after reviewing of over 17,000 medical studies.
“Fast walking is fantastic for your brain and your heart. So fast walking 30 minutes a day, five times a week, is linked to 33% less Alzheimer’s.”
“Studies show that any kind of learning, any kind of mind engaging game play is fantastic for you. The keys are that has to be interactive, mind engaging, it’s extra good if it’s fun.”
“Avoid poisons. Everybody knows about lead in smoking. What you may not know is that smoking in midlife doubles the rate of dementia later. And what I didn’t know was that even an occasional cigarette, the social cigarette or social cigar, causes your capillaries to act like they’re being poisoned because guess what? They’re being poisoned.”
“Being social is incredibly good for you. There’s a Harvard study that shows that people who have five social ties, and the people who they spend time with, who they really enjoy, – the people at work don’t count, you don’t really enjoy them if you’re honest with yourself J So, spent time with those people. That people that didn’t have half the rate of cognitive decline, as the people who were the most isolated. Isolation is terrible for human beings.”
“Relaxation is fantastic for you. So go to the spa, relax, whatever you need to do, meditate, yoga, reading a book. So whatever you need to do, it’s really good, because what happens is stress actually shrinks your brain. And you don’t want that. Stress rewires your brain. It affects memory, it affects decision making. It actually ends up messing with your emotional regulatory system. So, it’s not good for you.”
“Partner with your doctor. A good doctor is prevention oriented. So, most people stay with their doctors because that person is nice or familiar. That’s not a good reason to stay with a doctor. You want someone who understands prevention, understands nutrition, understands exercise, understands the importance of stretching, understands the interactions between things.”
“Protect your head. People who have had head injuries, have two to four times the rate of Alzheimer’s. If you had a head injury in the past, don’t worry, there’s a lot of factors: what part of your head get hit, how long you were unconscious, for things like that, but not going forward that you have to protect your head. Wear a helmet when you’re bike reading. The place that you’re more likely to get hit in the head is in your car. So always wear your seat belt.”
“The Mediterranean diet is fantastic for you. It’s one of the only proven diets to just really be good. They also call it “eating colorfully”. Mediterranean diet involves seven to ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day. I know that sounds like a lot, but actually it’s really hard to gain weight with fruits and vegetables. So you actually end up filling up with that and losing weight. Fresh is best, thyme is second best. Mediterranean diet people also eat a lot of fish, preferably wild fish, twice a week. They eat nuts, almonds, walnuts, preferably raw, not salted. Beans, legumes,..”
“Positive outlook matters, and it matters a lot. If you would ask me as a scientist how much I think this matters, I’d say it matters a little bit. But it turns out that it matters much more than anybody ever thought. What happens is that there is a study called “The Nun Study”. They tracked 600,078 nuns over the course of their lives, and a lot of the nuns even gave permission that upon their death they could be autopsied. They opened up their brains to see what was going on and what the correlation is with Alzheimer’s. They found that the nuns who had the highest usage of positive emotion words, so the highest positive outlook, not only aged better, and lived longer, and lived healthier lives, but also what was really startling was, in a few cases, when they opened up the brains of these people, and they looked inside, there were tangles and plaques that are associated with Alzheimer’s, but they didn’t have the symptoms that are of Alzheimer’s. So there’s this neuroprotective effect to positive outlook that is really, really great, and scientists are going to need to study it, but just so you know that’s there. The thing that you can do for yourself is eliminate your negative self-talk. Talk back to it. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between true and false. So talk back to it. Get rid of your negative friends, replace them with more positive ones.”
Elizabeth Amini is a social entrepreneur with a background in science. She learned data analysis while working as a scientist at JPL/NASA. Elizabeth earned a bachelors degree in Cognitive Science (the study of the brain) from Occidental College and an M.B.A. from University of Southern California. Her Anti-AgingGames.com business plan won the USC Business Plan contest as well as the YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) award for promising new companies.