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Simple Secrets to Keep Your Brain Young

Social activities—a great way to use your head. (Photo by Laura Doss)

How does your state's "brain age" stack up? America's Brain Health Index for 2011 was recently released, and many coastal states ranked highly on the scoring system which considered factors including physical, social, dietary and mental health and their impact on the mind. The top five:

  1. Maryland
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Washington
  4. Colorado
  5. Vermont
We spoke with Michael Roizen, M.D., who is an anesthesiologist, internist and co-founder of RealAge, Inc., to pick his brain about staying mentally young.
What can Americans do to improve their brain health?

Americans are getting heavier and more people are becoming Type 2 diabetics, which impedes longevity and mental health. But even those who are fit often take care of their bodies better than their brains. They don't realize how simple choices affect brain health. There are simple tips on that anyone can work into their lifestyle.

What do you do to keep your mind in peak condition?

I eat a lot of salmon and don't smoke. I do have a lot of stress in my life, but try to manage that through physical activity and talking over stressful situations with friends and family. I also like to multitask with activities that are good for my brain, like standing on one foot while flossing since balance is important and flossing helps with inflammation. Or I play ping pong with a friend to be social and active at the same time.

What can young people do now to keep their brains "fresh" throughout their long lives?

Channel your younger self by playing around! Join a sports league, do a crossword or play ping pong.