Throughout our life, we look for ways to keep our mind sharp and effortlessly productive. Now, globetrotting neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta, M.D. offers insights from top scientists all over the world, whose cutting-edge research can help you heighten and protect brain function and maintain cognitive health at any age.
Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age, debunks common myths about aging and cognitive decline, explores whether there’s a “best” diet or exercise regimen for the brain, and explains whether it’s healthier to play video games that test memory and processing speed, or to engage in more social interaction. Discover what we can learn from “super-brained” people who are in their eighties and nineties with no signs of slowing down—and whether there are truly any benefits to drugs, supplements, and vitamins. Dr. Gupta also addresses brain disease, particularly Alzheimer’s, answers all your questions about the signs and symptoms, and shows how to ward against it and stay healthy while caring for a partner in cognitive decline.
Your brain is the last organ in your body to mature. Some brainy facts from the book:
- It typically comprises 2 to 2.5 percent of your body’s weight but utilizes 20 percent of its total energy and oxygen intake.
- Your brain generated enough electricity to power a low-wattage LED light.
- Brain information can travel faster than some race cars, up to 250 miles per hour.
Your brain is roughly 73 percent water (the same as your heart), and that’s why it only takes 2 percent dehydration to affect your attention, memory, and other cognitive skills. Drinking just a few ounces of water can reverse that.
The author’s primary concern is to nurture a resilient brain that propagates new cells, makes the ones you have work more efficiently, and is continuously enriched throughout life. In particular, he wishes to stave off age-related brain illnesses classified under dementia, with Alzheimer’s at the fore. Unfortunately, writes Gupta, “we often don’t and can’t know what triggers cognitive decline in the first place or what propels it over time.” Regarding the brain as a whole, “we are still not exactly sure what makes it tick.” As such, the author suggests that we get out in front of it and act preventatively by engaging in behaviors and new skills that are widely considered brain friendly.
The new skill can be simple, Gupta notes. If you’re right-handed, try eating with your left hand — or vice versa, if you are a lefty. If you wear a necktie, close your eyes and practice tying it in the dark. No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to develop new brain pathways, Gupta says.
He provides a personalized twelve-week program featuring practical strategies to strengthen your brain consisting of:
- Healthful eating
- A bedtime routine
- Sound sleep
- Intentional socializing
- Even a gratitude journal
Your ability to process, understand and apply knowledge “can actually get sharper, can get better as you get older,” he says. “It is sort of the use it or lose it phenomenon when it comes to the brain.”
Keep Sharp is the only owner’s manual you’ll need to keep your brain young and healthy regardless of your age!
Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.
Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.
Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.
Improves mood, memory, and focus.
Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.