June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month. This is an important month because it raises awareness of how mental disease can affect us and the ones we love. Alzheimer’s is particularly devastating because, as it progresses, it can lead to ongoing mental decline, disorientation, depression, mood swings, and other mental symptoms. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent this decline. Although there’s no one way of completing protecting against mental disorders, you can improve your chances of having good mental health by following a few tips.

Researchers have recently started to realize the importance of diet to maintaining mental health. Mental health experts now feel strongly that a high-quality diet can prevent some of the symptoms common in mental disorders, including depression and anxiety. Eating right is important because it encourages brain growth. An appropriate diet, rich in nutrients like omega-3s, can help encourage the brain’s growth. Healthy eating also reduces inflammation, and body inflammation is linked to several diseases and poorer mental health. When you start thinking about maintaining your mental sharpness and health, start with smart changes to your diet.

One of the best ways of keeping the brain sharp is by exercising. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize how important exercise is to keeping the mind sharp. How important? Exercise has been linked to improvements in memory and thinking ability. Exercise improve insulin resistance, creates chemicals that produce more brain cells, and reduce inflammation. Exercise also promotes the growth of blood vessels in the brain and helps ensure that brain cells survive over time.

When you exercise, more oxygen enters your bloodstream and flows to the brain. It’s this process that links exercise to brain health. Researchers have found that people who exercise more are at a reduced risk of developing dementia. Studies also showed that people who exercised the most performed better on cognitive tests decades later. For all of these reasons, if you’re interested in keeping your brain healthy, then you won’t want to overlook getting regular, vigorous exercise.

After you’ve made sure that you’ve got the basics of diet and exercise together, it’s important to follow the two rules of staying busy and staying connected. Staying busy refers to being a lifelong learner. Constantly learning, engaging in thinking skills, and staying active with complex work can all help you stay mentally sharp throughout your entire life. However, you also want to stay connected. Staying connected means creating close ties with others and being socially engaged. Social interactions are important because they force you to engage with others. Interacting with other people can help improve your thinking skills and improve your memory.

So, when it comes to avoiding mental decline and disease, there’s no completely guaranteed protection. However, through diet, exercise, healthy social relationships, and commitment to being a lifelong learner, you can help protect your mental health and sharpness.