SOURCE: BrainStrong

July 11, 2011 05:00 ET

Be Smart About Your Family's Brain Health From BrainStrong

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Jul 11, 2011) - (Family Features) You may be taking care of your body, but are you taking care of your brain? The brain is vital for everyday functions, yet few pay close attention to it.

Fifty-three percent of adults believe brain fitness can be improved a lot. But only 10 percent consider it a top priority compared to other health issues1.

According to Shara Aaron, M.S., R.D. and author of "The Baby Fat Diet," you can keep family brain health top of mind through simple daily actions involving diet and nutrition, physical fitness, mental activity and social connections.

Diet and Nutrition: Consuming omega-3 fatty acids may support your brain's processing power and help fight mental health decline.

  • Eat lots of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables. Include leafy greens, broccoli and cauliflower.

  • Switch out saturated and trans fats for healthier fats found in olive oil and canola oil.

  • Increase daily intake of DHA, which accounts for up to 97 percent of the omega-3 fats in the brain. New BrainStrong DHA supplements make it easier to get the DHA your brain needs. The BrainStrong line of four natural daily brain health supplements for pregnant women, toddlers, children and adults provides the nourishment people need to ensure their brains are developing and functioning to the best of their potential.

"What I like about BrainStrong is that it is powered by life'sDHA, a sustainable and natural plant source of DHA omega-3, meaning there is no fishy aftertaste -- a complaint many people have with other omega-3 supplements," Aaron says.

Physical Fitness: Each time a heart beats, 25 percent of the blood it pumps goes to the brain, carrying with it oxygen and nutrients important to brain health. Exercise can increase heart rate and help produce new brain cells.

  • Do physical activities at least 30 minutes a day. Get the family to walk; play sports; have fun outdoors.

  • Get approximately seven to eight hours of sleep daily.

  • Maintain a healthy weight to minimize risk of diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension.

Mental Activity: Keeping the brain active helps generate new cells and makes new connections within the brain.

  • Encourage the whole family to learn things. Try new activities; learn a new language; stimulate curiosity.

  • Look for creative ways to use multiple parts of the brain. Play music; draw; write; arrange flowers; take photos.

  • Support better brain health in kids and teens by asking open-ended questions that require more than a yes or no. Challenge them to use different parts of the brain.

  • Avoid overdoing it with multitasking. According experts, including Dr. Majid Fotuhi, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of the Neurology Institute for Brain Health and Fitness and an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, "Multitasking beyond your comfort zone can decrease mental productivity, elevate brain fatigue and increase stress."

Social Connections: Strong social connections are a vital element in overall health, wellness and longevity. Get involved in activities with others.

  • Volunteer for a cause you're passionate about.

  • Join group activities such as a card group, book club or hobby group.

  • Nurture friendships; someone to care about and laugh with is important for mental health.

"Socializing may help your brain in other ways, from reducing stress and depression to increasing mental stimulation. Make connections with others," Aaron says.

For more about family brain health, visit www.BrainStrongDHA.com

1. National Brain Health Poll, National Society for Aging, 2006

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