1. Get eight hours of sleep. During the longest stages of sleep, your brain turns recent memories into long-term memories by building the branches of brain cells. "The sleeping brain actually secretes molecules to form these new connections, which significantly enhance learning and performance." You can increase your alertness by 25% if you sleep from 8-9 hours. (James B. Maas, Ph.D and Sleep Expert, "Boost Your Brain Power," LHJ, November 2002)
2. Exercise helps the brain "grow" new brain cells, so get moving!! It helps by increasing the blood flow to the brain, which carries oxygen and other necessary nutrients.
3. Learn something new every day. When you do, you flood your brain with blood and chemicals that brain cells use to communicate. New brain cells must get these nutrients to survive.
4. Use both sides of the brain, whenever it is practical. For example, if you're right-handed, write with your left hand.
5. Find a way to reduce the stress in your life. When you are stressed, the body produces cortisol, which slows the production of new brain cells.
6. Eat foods with Omega-3 fats and the antioxidant vitamin E. Brain cells depend on these fats when sending signals back and forth. Some of these brain foods are: salmon, mackerel, flax seed, olive oils, avocados, nuts, seeds, whole grains and leafy greens. (A recent study revealed that people who consumed the highest amounts of vitamin E had a 70 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's. Chicago Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center Study, 2002)