Fun + Inspiration

Keep this in mind to stay sharp

Challenging your brain every day helps it stay healthy. That’s important for memory, concentration, problem solving and focus, now and later in life. While age is the main risk factor for a decline in cognition, it can begin as early as young adulthood — when people are in their 20s.1

A decline in brain health is a growing public health issue nationwide.


1 in 9

adults have experienced memory loss and confusion, an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease known as “subjective cognitive decline.”2                                                      

16 million Americans

have difficulty remembering, learning new things, concentrating and making decisions.3                                                                                                                                                          


Here are 6 things you can do to stay mentally sharp, no matter your age.



1. Discover something new

Picking up a new skill may help improve your memory. Doing something new strengthens the connections between different parts of your brain.

• Cook or bake something using a new recipe out of your typical comfort zone.

• Learn how to speak a new language.

• Take up a new hobby such as knitting, drawing, painting or mastering jigsaw puzzles.

• Try your hand at photography.


2. Read as much as you can

A good book, magazine or news article can be like exercise for your brain. It keeps you mentally active, working your imagination and improving your memory.

• Take a book outside to read in the shade, or wind down by reading before bed.

• Make it a routine to read with your kids each day. Try picking up books about the Tooth Fairy so they can learn all about good oral health habits.

• Read as a way to relax. Lowering your stress level can bring you peace of mind and reduce your chance of oral health problems such as teeth grinding and mouth sores.


3. Exercise

Staying physically active will get your blood flowing, and keep your heart healthy and your mind sharp. When you move, your body releases chemicals that help keep you both physically and mentally healthy. If you’re stepping away from home, don’t forget to bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated while you move.

• Do something you enjoy for 30 minutes a day, whether it’s walking, running, dancing, yoga or cycling.

• Find new ways to get extra steps throughout your day. Try getting up from your computer once an hour to move around for a quick break.


4. Choose nutritious foods

Eat a balanced, low-fat diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean proteins.

• Add more berries and leafy greens to your diet. They are among the best foods for your brain. For a tasty treat that’s full of brain fuel, try our yummy banana-berry ice cream recipe.

• Consume less red meat and fewer processed foods that have more saturated fat and can increase health risks, including a decline in memory.

• Try dark chocolate when you're craving something sweet. Studies show cocoa beans help improve memory and the ability to process information. Because plain chocolate melts in your mouth quicker than hard candies or gummies, it’s less likely to cause cavities.


5. Get plenty of rest

Going to bed on time helps your brain and whole body recharge.

• Make sure you're sleeping about 7 to 9 hours each night, and your school-age children are getting between 8 and 11 hours of rest.

• Give yourself this downtime to help your brain process the memories of the day.

• Take a moment to meditate during the day. This can slow your breathing, calm your brain and make you feel less stressed.


6. Stay socially connected

Your relationships are also key to keeping your brain healthy and slowing down the pace that your memory dwindles.

• Spend time with friends and family to nourish your brain with friendship, love, empathy, kindness and compassion.

• Take care of your physical, mental and emotional well-being by nurturing connections with loved ones.

• Keep in touch with friends and co-workers even when you can't get together in person. Text, phone or video chat can help you stay connected and keep your mind active and healthy.