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Take Your Brain for a Run...Literally!

If you feel like you have already spent enough time worrying about your beach body, then here’s a new health matter for you to ponder: Doctors say your brain needs a bit of a fitness shape-up every once in a while, too.

And the good news is that it only takes a few minor adjustments to keep you think tank sharp and live healthier.

*Test your hearing. Research has shown that people with hearing loss may spend so much time trying to interpret what is being said that they cannot retain the information.

*Keep your BMI below 25. Memory tests have shown people with a healthy BMI of 20 remembered an average of 9 out of 16 words. However, those with a BMI of 30—the verge of obesity—remembered just 7 words.

*Eat salad every day. People who eat their veggies—just three servings a day—had a 40% slower rate of cognitive deterioration over 6 years than those who did not eat their greens, according to a study from Rush University. Researchers have found that produce lovers have brain power that is equal to someone five year younger! The moral? Eat your broccoli (and carrots, too).

*Pay more attention. Turn off the television and play a game that will take your brain for a jog. Try a crossword or Sudoku puzzle.

*Order fish. Older people who eat any type of fish at least once a week do significantly better on mental tests than those who ignore the wonders of the sea, according to a Norwegian study. Doctors recommend eating at two fish dishes weekly.

*Check your blood sugar. And take a 30-minute walk. Both activities will keep blood sugar in check, a factor that, when elevated, has been shown to put women at an increased risk for mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

Talk about killing two birds with one stone! Now, not only will you be exercising and eating right for those six-pack abs, but you will be giving your brain a fitness tune-up, too. [MSNBC]

Posted: 5/20/08