6 Tips To Keep Your Brain Healthy As You Age

| |

Don’t have Enough Time? Here Are The Key Points

  • Dietary Choices: Prioritize Omega-3-rich foods like fish, nuts, and seeds, and avoid sugary drinks and processed foods.
  • Mindful Activities: Engage in learning new skills and puzzles to stimulate the brain.
  • Physical Activity: Regular aerobic exercises, such as brisk walking, enhance cognitive health.
  • Social Interactions: Maintain regular social connections to reduce stress and combat loneliness.

We all want to preserve our brain health as we age. After all, our cognitive abilities are some of our most important abilities!

Luckily, there are many things you can do to keep your mind sharp and preserve cognitive function. Doing lots of small things consistently over time has the compound effect of keeping your brain healthy as you age. Below are 6 tips to keep your brain healthy as you age.

1. Eat healthy foods

You are what you eat—or, at least, that’s how the saying goes. And as it turns out, there’s a lot of truth to it. The food you consume affects your overall health, and that includes your brain health.

Just as eating unhealthy foods can increase your risk of developing heart disease 1 or diabetes 2, it can also lead to cognitive decline and memory problems. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Eating the right foods can help improve your brain health and power 3


Fish is one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids for proper brain functioning. The brain is approximately two-thirds fat, and Omega-3 fatty acids make up a large proportion.

The brain relies on Omega-3 fatty acids to perform, so getting plenty of these healthy fats helps protect against cognitive decline and memory problems.

Omege-3s are anti-inflammatory and play a part in reducing inflammation in the brain, which can be the start of many health issues, both in the brain and the body.

They also play a role in neuronal development and communication 4. The best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines. Aim to eat fish at least twice a week to get the most benefit.

If you are a parent or thinking of having a baby, one of the best things you can do for your child’s brain is to get them to eat fish.

Many people dislike the “fishy” taste of this type of fish. However, the sooner your child gets used to the taste, the more they will benefit as their brains develop. 

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are another good source of Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against cognitive decline 5.

Nuts and Seeds
Unlock brain power with Omega-3-rich nuts and seeds

Walnuts are especially beneficial for brain health due to their high alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of Omega-3 fatty acid.

They are even shaped like tiny little brains to help you remember! Other good sources of Omega-3 are almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds. Include a handful of nuts or seeds in your diet every day to reap the benefits


Blueberries are often hailed as good for brain health due to their high antioxidant levels. Wild, organic blueberries contain over thirteen thousand antioxidants 6.

Antioxidants help protect against cell damage caused by free radicals 7, linked with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease 8.

Other berries packed with anti-oxidants include strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries. Add berries to your breakfast cereal, yogurt, or porridge, enjoy a handful as a snack, or have them as a palate-cleansing dessert. 

Dark leafy greens   

Spinach and kale are packed with nutrients that are important for brain health. These include:

  • Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants 9;
  • B vitamins and folate are important for energy metabolism 10;
  • Iron, essential for oxygen transport in the blood 11; and
  • Magnesium, which helps support brain plasticity 12.

Eat dark leafy greens daily with your meals, or add them to smoothies, salads, soups, and stews. 

2. Avoid unhealthy foods

Just as certain foods are good for our brains, there are also certain foods we should avoid to keep our brains healthy.

Eating too much of the wrong food can lead to inflammation, which is linked to neurological disorders. So, what are some of the worst offenders regarding brain health? 

Sugary Drinks

We all know that sugary drinks are bad for our health, but did you know they’re also bad for our brains?

Sugary drinks
Avoid sugary drinks to reduce inflammation and boost brain health

Drinks like soda and energy drinks contain large amounts of sugar, which causes inflammation 13, which, in turn, has been linked to a whole host of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s, dementia, and depression 14


Don’t think you are let off the hook if you are drinking sugar-free soda drinks. These drinks still need to taste sweet, so aspartame is used instead of sugar.

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener, and although it is calorie-free, aspartame is bad news for your brain. This is because, at best, it can cause headaches and insomnia.

The worst case scenario is that it can cause seizures, memory loss, damage brain tissue, and increase the risk of dementia.

Aspartame is broken down when digested products are poisonous to living cells 15. Rather than drink soda drinks, whether regular or sugar-free, opt for water or unsweetened tea instead. 

Refined white carbohydrates

Refined white carbs like white bread, pasta, and rice have been stripped of nutrients and fiber.

Eating too many refined carbs can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels, linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease 16.

To keep your brain healthy, opt for whole-grain alternatives instead.

Foods High in Transfats

Transfats are often found in processed foods like cookies, crackers, and fried foods.

Eating too many foods high in transfats can lead to inflammation, which we have already learned is linked to neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and depression.

To keep your brain healthy, cut down or cut out your intake of processed foods 17.

Highly Processed Foods

Highly processed foods are often high in sugar, salt, saturated fat, and fats.

This combination can lead to inflammation 18, which like soda and processed carbohydrates, is not good news for our brains.

To keep your brain healthy, it is best to cook fresh food, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and cut out foods high in salt, sugar, saturated, and trans fats. 

3. Too Much Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to dehydration 19 and electrolyte imbalance 20, which can harm brain health. Too much alcohol causes a loss of short-term memory.

Tips #3 To Keep Your Brain Healthy As You Age:Moderation is key: too much alcohol can harm brain health
Moderation is key: too much alcohol can harm brain health

However, alcohol abuse has also been linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia. It can damage and shrink the brain; unfortunately, if you are female, this will likely happen sooner than your male counterparts 21

With all that said, drinking a few alcoholic drinks a week (eight for women and fifteen for men) benefits the brain and boosts cognition 22.

Therefore, to boost your brain power, moderate your alcohol consumption or abstain from alcohol altogether. 

4. Keep Your Body Active

Being physically active throughout your life has many benefits for your physical health, but more importantly, your mental and brain health.

Regular, consistent physical activity can improve the overall working of the brain 23 and prevent the onset of diseases such as dementia 24, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease 25

Exercise has been shown to increase the part of the brain that is vital for learning and memory 26. The type of exercise that has been shown to be the best for cognitive health is aerobic exercise, such as walking at a brisk pace, rather than exercise, such as yoga, which is based on stretching and toning.

One reason is that the more time spent doing aerobic exercise, the quicker the brain transforms glucose into energy, which could lower the chances of Alzheimer’s disease 27

All that is needed is half an hour a day of physical activity, five days out of seven. If you are looking to start exercising in your later years, walking is the best place to start.

It is also a good idea to learn fall prevention strategies. This is because falling can cause head injuries that impact the brain. Ask your healthcare provider to point you in the direction of a fall prevention group. 

The sooner you start exercising, the better, but don’t worry if you have never exercised before. It is never too late. The best time to start exercising is when you are young. The second-best time is now!

5. Keep Your Mind Active

Keeping your mind active is one of the best things you can do for your brain health. Learning new things is one of the best ways to keep your mind active.

When you challenge your brain with new information, you’re giving it a workout and helping it to grow stronger.

Learning a new language 28 or how to play a musical instrument 29 are both excellent options for keeping your mind active, keeping your brain healthy, slowing the onset of dementia, and even increasing grey matter and overall brain size. 

Tips#5 To Keep Your Brain Healthy As You Age: Challenge your brain: learn new skills and engage in puzzles
Challenge your brain: Learn new skills and engage in puzzles

You can also try memory games or puzzles like Sudoku and crosswords, which have been shown to benefit brain health and cognition even up to the age of ninety-three 30.  Practice makes perfect, so doing these activities consistently on a daily basis is more beneficial than occasionally.   

6. Be sociable

Another great way to keep your mind active is by socializing regularly. Spending time with friends and loved ones gives your brain a much-needed break from work or other screen time activities.

Socializing can also help reduce stress levels, even if you forget your troubles for a few hours 31. This is important as stress is bad news for brain health, killing off brain cells and causing the brain to reduce size 32.

In addition, staying social is important as the brain deteriorates much faster in lonely people and can lead to poor mental health 33. So invite friends and family around for a cuppa, join local clubs and societies, or go and knock on a neighbor’s door and introduce yourself. 

There are many ways we can keep our brains healthy as we age. So get out there and start living your best life!


  1. Diet, nutrition and the prevention of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases https://conferenciasindromemetabolico.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/dieta-y-nutricion.pdf  
  2. WHO Global Report on Diabetes: A summary https://www.ijncd.org/article.asp?issn=2468-8827;year=2016;volume=1;issue=1;spage=3;epage=8;aulast=Roglic;type=3
  3. The role of physical activity and diet in preventing cognitive decline https://efsupit.ro/images/stories/august2020/Art%20316.pdf
  4. Essential fatty acids and human brain http://www.ant-tnsjournal.com/mag_files/18-4/18-4p231.pdf
  5. Which Nuts are Best for Brain Health? https://www.brainfutures.org/blog/which-nuts-are-best-for-brain-health/
  6. The Health Benefits of Blueberries https://health.clevelandclinic.org/benefits-of-blueberries/
  7. Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/
  8. Elevated thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances and antioxidant enzyme activity in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7644059/
  9. Vitamin C Function in the Brain: Vital Role of the Ascorbate Transporter https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2649700/
  10. Emerging roles for folate and related B-vitamins in brain health across the lifecycle https://bit.ly/3LRy1yU
  11. Impact of high iron intake on cognition and neurodegeneration in humans and in animal models: a systematic review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5914328/
  12. Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627309010447
  13. Beverages that Increase Inflammation in the Body https://www.healthifyme.com/blog/beverages-that-increase-inflammation-in-the-body/
  14. Inflammation, Depression and Dementia: Are they Connected? https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11064-007-9385-y?wptouch_preview_theme=enabled
  15. Sugar Beverages and Dietary Sodas Impact on Brain Health: A Mini Literature Review https://www.cureus.com/articles/12766-sugar-beverages-and-dietary-sodas-impact-on-brain-health-a-mini-literature-review
  16. Refined carbohydrate-rich diet is associated with long-term risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in apolipoprotein E ε4 allele carriers https://bit.ly/3CgM7Hb
  17. Do We Still Need to Look Out for Trans Fats in 2022? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/trans-fat-foods
  18. What other foods cause inflammation? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326386#other-foods
  19. Does Alcohol Dehydrate You? https://www.healthline.com/health/does-alcohol-dehydrate-you
  20. Hangovers https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/hangovers
  21. Alcohol’s damaging effects on the brain https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa63/aa63.htm
  22. Association of Low to Moderate Alcohol Drinking With Cognitive Functions From Middle to Older Age Among US Adults https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2767693
  23. Moderate physical activity linked to increases in metabolism across brain regions https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/moderate-physical-activity-linked-increases-metabolism-across-brain-regions
  24. Physical exercise and dementia https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/risk-factors-and-prevention/physical-exercise
  25. Role of physical exercise in Alzheimer’s disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4812200/
  26. Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3041121/
  27. Moderate physical activity linked to increases in metabolism across brain regions https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/moderate-physical-activity-linked-increases-metabolism-across-brain-regions
  28. Language learning makes the brain grow, Swedish study suggests https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008082953.htm
  29. Your Aging Brain Will Be in Better Shape If You’ve Taken Music Lessons https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/140103-music-lessons-brain-aging-cognitive-neuroscience
  30. The relationship between the frequency of number-puzzle use and baseline cognitive function in a large online sample of adults aged 50 and over https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/bitstream/handle/10871/39482/GPS-18-0310_NUMBER%20PUZZLES_Re-submission%20clean.pdf?sequence=2
  31. Socialization and Altruistic Acts as Stress Relief https://www.mentalhelp.net/stress/socialization-and-altruistic-acts-as-stress-relief/
  32. The effects of Chronic Stress on the Brain are good for overall brain health. https://www.tuw.edu/health/how-stress-affects-the-brain/
  33. Loneliness: Clinical Import and Interventions https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4391342/


The Quickest Way to Increase Your IQ

Top 5 Brain Health Supplements That Optimize Your Brain Function