No, Really: This Is the Secret to Age-Proofing Your Brain

When you think about age-proofing your brain, what's the first thing that springs to mind? Eating healthier food, exercising more, and quitting bad habits (e.g., smoking or drinking too much) are all on our list, but when we put the question to neurologist and psychologist, Dan Engle, MD, he surprised us with his answer: "It's essential that people laugh more," he said. "Cortisol is a stress hormone that is associated with anxiety and kills brain cells, especially in the hippocampus where memory is stored and recalled." Wait, stress literally kills brain cells? Yep. According to Engle, exposure to chronic stress destroys neurons and reduces neuro-cell function and performance over time.

"Here's the bottom-line: Laugh more, have more fun, and keep learning throughout your life for a happy, healthy brain," he urged. Of course, eating well and looking after your body and mind are also important for boosting your long-term memory health and brain function. Ahead, Engle shares his top foods that not only improve your memory but provide a host of other holistic benefits including enhanced cognitive function such as optimal attention span, concentration, organizing, planning, multitasking, and mood.