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By Lisa Mulcahy
Parade.com contributor

  1. Don’t skimp on vitamin D. The vitamin protects against the neuron loss that can cause cognitive decline, according to a new Duke University-NUS Medical School Study. Adults need between 600 and 800 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day.
  2. Trust Your Instincts. The longer you mull over a decision, the more likely you are to choose the wrong option according to Columbia University researchers.
  3. Say these words: “I can do better!” Research shows that silently repeating this phrase to yourself is very effective when it comes up to shoring up your brain’s reaction time. World class athletes use this trick for mental motivation.
  4. Think on your feet. A number of studies from Texas A&M University have shown that working at a standing desk improves your brains’ time management, fact retention and comprehension skills.
  5. Chew gum. Research shows that chewing gum increases cerebral blood flow enough to help you remember words much faster— handy when you are blanking as you say hello to your new neighbor.
  6. Stay Curious. Push yourself in fresh directions. Learn a new language. “It is never too late to focus on your brain health,” says Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD., founder and director of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas, Dallas. “The key takeaway for those who haven’t been training mentally or physically is to challenge their thinking, and get moving at any age.”