With age comes theinevitable anxiety of mentaldecline.A common misconceptionis brain health is predeter-mined and can't be changed -it's the "you're stuck withwhat you got" notion. Butexperts suggest brain healthcan be positively influencedthroughout different stagesin life.A recent state-by-stateranking, America's BrainHealth Index, delivers dataon how well Americans aresuccessfully incorporatingthe four dimensions of brainhealth - diet and nutrition,physical health, mentalhealth and social well-being- into their daily lives.The top-ranked state -Maryland - scored higheston the Index because of res-idents' performance on anumber of health markers,including high consumptionof fish rich in DHA and DHA-fortified foods and supple-ments, as well as a low inci-dence of Alzheimer's dis-ease-related deaths.Residents of the states thatranked the lowest(Mississippi and Louisiana)can make adjustments tohelp get their brains inshape.See where your stateranked at www.beautiful-minds.com."Whether we live in thetop-ranked states or in theareas that are below aver-age, there are several waysto nurture and engage themind to keep it healthythroughout our lives," saysDr. Majid Fotuhi, chairmanof the Neurology Institutefor Brain Health and Fitness,and assistant professor ofneurology at Johns HopkinsUniversity School ofMedicine. "All too often Iwork with patients who needto make only a few lifestyleadjustments to see a markedchange in their mental acu-ity. It's never too late totake action to improve yourbrain health."
Four easy steps to abeautiful mind
Step 1 - Get movingEngage in physical activityfor at least 30 minutes aday to encourage new braincells and connections toform. Walk, take the stairsinstead of the elevator, playsports or do something youenjoy outdoors.Step 2 - Nourish yourbody and mindAim for a varied diet richin colorful, fresh fruits andvegetables, washed with theskin on to take full advan-tage of the nutritional punch.Maximize your intake ofDHA, the omega-3 fatty acidthat makes up 97 percent ofthe omega-3s in the brain.Find it in fatty fish (salmon,tuna) or, if you are vegetar-ian, you can find it in algalDHA-fortified foods andbeverages like juice, milk,eggs and in algal DHA sup-plements, including theAlgal-900 DHA andBrainStrong lines found atCVS, Walgreens andWalmart. Find other prod-ucts with algal DHA atwww.lifesdha.com.Step 3 - Embrace newactivitiesCommit to lifelong learn-ing, which can take the formof brain-stimulating activi-ties, including reading, cre-ating art, completing cross-words, learning a new lan-guage or playing a newinstrument. Keep a mentallyengaged mind by living witha "use it or lose it" philoso-phy throughout life."The aging processinvolves increasing physicaland emotional change and aheightened search for mean-ing and purpose," says GayHanna, executive director ofthe National Center forCreative Aging inWashington, D.C."Expressing oneself throughthe creation of art can serveas a powerful way to honorlife experiences. Embracethe idea of learning some-thing new to help fuel yourcreative fire."Step 4 - Expand yoursocial networkStay socially connected soyou feel like you're a part ofsomething. This can includesocial connections at work,in clubs, with friends andfamily and through volun-teer groups or a religiouscongregation. Experts theo-
Four steps for a healthy and active mind