Quiz: What Keeps Your Brain Healthy?

Do you know what to do to keep your brain healthy as you grow older? Here are 7 questions to test your knowledge.

1. Walking my dog can help me improve blood flow to my brain.

o True
o False

True. There’s a reason that writers take a long walk when they hit writer’s block and can’t think of anything to write next. Whether walking with your pet, a friend, or by yourself, a regular walk for at least 20 minutes 3 to 4 times a week can do wonders to lower your blood sugar. This increases the flow of blood to your brain. The result is your thoughts flow more freely. You’ll also notice how much it improves your mood, for the same reasons. A good walk will make your four-legged friend and your brain happy.

2. Volunteering is great, but it has no real effect on my memory.

o True
o False

False. Volunteering forces you to learn new information and new habits. When we learn, the brain has to store new information. To retrieve that knowledge, it physically wires new paths into our brain that connect the new information with the things we already know. So you’re not only helping others, you’re growing new brain cells that store new information and keeping older brain cells active.

3. Foods rich in omega-3 and antioxidants help keep my brain healthy.

o True
o False

True. Omega-3s and antioxidants both work to lower your blood sugar. So eat healthy meals (try the DASH Diet) and reach for healthy snacks that are rich in omega-3s and antioxidants. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Stay away from fried foods, because they tend to be high in trans fats. These fats can clog your arteries and slow blood flow to your brain.

4. Learning how to tell a good story can improve my brain.

o True
o False

True. Telling a story well requires that you pay attention to details. How was the person in your story dressed? What color shoes did he have on? Did he have a way of moving that stood out? What favorite words or phrases did he use that made you laugh? What smells were in the air that still make you think of him whenever you smell them today? As you recall these kinds of details, or create them, you put different parts of your brain to work. This causes new brain cells to grow and new physical connections to be made in these areas of the brain.

5. Stress does not affect my memory.

o True
o False

False. Research tells us that too much stress can interfere with memory. This means it’s even more important to develop habits that help you deal with the stresses of your daily life. These habits can include activities such as exercising, getting together with friends, praying or meditating, or watching movies that make you laugh.

6. Drinking lots of white wine will improve my memory.

o True
o False

False. There is no hard evidence that white wine benefits the brain. Further, drinking too much of any alcohol can lead to serious health problems. Still, growing scientific evidence tells us that drinking moderate amounts of red wine may benefit many health conditions. Researchers believe that red wine releases an antioxidant into the body that helps protect the brain. They recommend up to two glasses of red wine for women and up to three for men weekly.

7. Taking a new class can help keep my brain active and healthy.

o True
o False

True. This is a great way to have fun, grow new brain cells and new pathways in several areas of the brain, and make new friends. All are important ways of keeping your brain active and you happy and healthy.