From Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) to Inception (2011), Hollywood always has been fascinated with what goes on in the human brain. But sci-fi doesnt do justice to the astounding three-pound supercomputer between your ears. Its got 100 billion neurons and 1,000 times that many connections. So it takes some TLC to keep it in tip-top shape. Thats why its so exciting that recent research reveals how to enhance your intellect, strengthen perception and protect your gray matter over the long haul.
Start with your tude, dude. When you think of yourself as older and associate aging with declining abilities, youre five times more likely to test positive for dementia than if you have a youthful sense of self. Luckily, youre never too old to renew your inner youthfulness. Three sure-fire ways: Touch and be touched hugs, intimate contact or massage stimulate feel-good hormones; learn one new thing a day, as it keeps the brain young; and meditate 10 minutes daily to build resilience and manage neuron-damaging stress.
Build neurons and muscles. Physical activity stimulates the growth of new neurons and new connections between them. That preserves your memory and overall cognitive function.
Get some fat-isfaction. Your brain reacts to the fats you eat, and a new study found saturated fats (in meats and dairy) KO brain function. But cognitive, verbal and memory skills are amped up by monounsaturated (olive oil) and polyunsaturated (canola and safflower oil) fats, omega-3s in walnuts (6x more than other nuts), and DHA in fish and omega-3 supplements.
The You Docs Mehmet Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic are authors of YOU: Losing Weight. To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com. A King Features syndicate.