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AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy


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Dr. Oz's 24 Hours to a Longer Life

How to be healthy: reduce stress, help prevent disease, even look younger — in just one day!

6:00 p.m.

Eat Fish for Dinner, Boost Your Brain Health

Twice a week, try serving oily fish such as salmon, tuna, or sardines for dinner. Omega-3 fatty acids in these fish should help boost your memory. And face it, memory decline may be one of the most obvious signs we're getting older. When we're young, we can process, store, and recall information like a supercomputer. As we get older, it takes the brain a lot longer to download information, kind of like a computer with a bad Internet connection. In addition to eating fish, try taking 400 milligrams of alpha-lipoic acid daily, 500 milligrams of acetyl L-carnitine twice daily, and 500 milligrams of gingko daily with your meal. These supplements just might keep your brain young and your memory sharp. Also, reduce your intake of processed meats — bacon, sausage, hot dogs. These foods contain nitrites, which may be linked to Alzheimer's.

8:00 p.m.

Have sex, live longer

Preliminary studies suggest that frequent sex might add years to your life. (One European study found that men who had sex less than once a month were twice as likely to die in a 10-year follow-up period as those who had sex at least twice a week.) Set the mood with a glass of red wine beforehand. Red wine contains resveratrol, which might fight off heart disease.

10:00 p.m.

Hit the Sack Early, Reset Your Internal Clock

Getting enough sleep may be the single most important thing you can do to extend your life. I always try to get at least seven hours of sleep a night. We now know that the best sleep comes between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., which is when the highest levels of melatonin are circulating in your brain. So don't fight your body's natural cycle. Get to bed! And, last, if your doctor has prescribed aspirin for heart health, take it right before sleep. A new study suggests that this is when it has the most impact — the same way doing yoga in the morning helps lower blood pressure when you first wake up — bringing our 24-hour plan full circle.

When it comes to slowing down aging, just remember: What really works are the small things, done right, every single day. My 24-hour plan is simple and easy to do. Explain the plan to someone you care about, and get started today. Age isn't just an amount of time passed; it's a state of mind. If you think young, and feel young, you will be young.

You may also like: Get healthy with Dr. Oz's 6-month plan.

Dr. Mehmet Oz is a cardiothoracic surgeon and the host of The Dr. Oz Show on NBC.

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