Keep your brain young - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Keep your brain young

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(CNN) -

Experts who specialize in the aging brain say just because we grow old doesn't necessarily mean we have to lose our memory and develop dementia.

Making healthy lifestyle changes now can help stave off the faulty thinking and failing memory often associated with old age.  

Exercise has been shown to be the most important factor in keeping the brain young later in life.

Researchers say even moderate exercise, such as walking 3 times a week, can help keep us mentally sharp and increase the size of a brain area responsible for forming new memories.

Staying socially active and reducing stress levels are also key to keeping the brain healthy.

Engaging in new and fun mental activities such as learning a new language or taking up a musical instrument can help keep the brain sharp.

Scientists know that both obesity and a high fat diet raise the risk for dementia, so good eating habits are important.

Experts suggest a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes as well as foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, walnuts, and flax seed.

At your next doctor visit, have your homocysteine levels checked. research has shown that high readings of this amino acid may double the risk for Alzheimer's.

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