Smart Is The New Sexy: 40 Ways To Keep Your Brain In Shape

by Stefani Pappas

June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, a way to help raise awareness and promote conversation about the brain, Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

It's unfortunate many of us know someone who has struggled with Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, which leads to issues with memory retention, mental function and behavior.

Alzheimer's symptoms typically develop slowly and get progressively worse as time goes by.

Although there is no current cure for Alzheimer's, treatments and major research grants are making an effort to help find a way to fully manage and prevent this disease.

So, are we all doomed to lose our memories? Not quite. Increasing age is a major risk factor for developing Alzheimer's, but dementia is not a normal part of aging.

There are small steps you can take now to help reduce your risk of developing this unfortunate disease.

The main components to living a brain-healthy lifestyle center on the following principles: exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy diet, stimulating your mind daily, staying socially active, getting adequate sleep and taking time to manage stress.

Now that you have the general idea of what encompasses a brain-healthy lifestyle, here are 40 simple tweaks you can make to your daily habits to help boost your brainpower and memory.

1. Swap out croutons on your salad for walnuts.

2. Order salmon as your entree more often.

3. Go for a walk at least three times a week.

4. Read one book per month.

5. Try an Indian restaurant for date night and order a curry dish.

6. Read the newspaper on your daily commute to work.

7. Listen to more music.

8. Replace olive oil with walnut oil.

9. Try meditating for 30 minutes a day.

10. Prioritize sleep, and let yourself sleep in once in a while.

11. Add strength training to your workouts.

12. Spend the night TV free.

13. Have more sex.

14. Visit a museum nearby.

15. Add blueberries to your oatmeal for breakfast.

16. Play Lumosity when you're bored at work.

17. Take a daily multivitamin with breakfast.

18. Quit smoking for good.

19. Eat your greens, especially broccoli.

20. Drink more coffee.

21. Order an omelette at brunch.

22. Grab a handful of pumpkin seeds daily.

23. Carry a reusable water bottle and drink more water throughout your day.

24. Get your bagel whole wheat.

25. Top your salad with fresh tomatoes.

26. Hoard the watermelon at your parents' Fourth of July BBQ.

27. Ask for brown rice sushi. It's worth the extra dollar or two.

28. Incorporate one salad a day.

29. Shut up, and eat your kale.

30. Snack on fresh strawberries.

31. Work in some yoga after your workout every day.

32. Replace your Snickers with a piece of dark chocolate.

33. Explore learning a new language.

34. Change things up at the gym; try swimming once a week.

35. Add a teaspoon of bee pollen to your daily smoothie.

36. Relax with a glass of wine (not 10).

37. Join a local sports team or running club.

38. Be like Gwyneth and get on the bone broth fad.

39. Cook with coconut oil.

40. Swap the Ritz with chia seed crackers.

Try incorporating one, a few or all of these small changes into your daily routine.

Remember the fundamentals: Stay active; eat well; stress less; get adequate sleep; socialize, and always find ways to stimulate your mind.

Whether it's making small adjustments to your diet or making an effort to watch less TV, every small change counts when it comes to your health.

These little daily tweaks can lead to big, significant results down the line.

To learn more about Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, visit the site and take the Purple Pledge.