Tips to protect your brain today

Novelist Tom Robbins once said: “If your heart and your brain aren’t connected, aren’t working together harmoniously, well, you’re just hopping through life on one leg.”

And we say thumbs up to that! It turns out heart-harming habits like smoking and conditions like diabetes and high LDL cholesterol don’t just raise the risk for future cardiovascular problems, they dull your brain today, even if you’re still pretty young. (Is that why cowgirls get the blues?)

Folks 35-44 who are at the most risk for heart attack (say, smokers with sky-high LDL or those with diabetes) do 50 percent worse on tests of memory and mental skill than their heart-healthy peers.

Fortunately, there’s a remedy that delivers a double dose of good news to your brain and body: omega-3 DHA. This fatty acid, found in salmon, ocean trout and anchovies or derived from the ALA omega-3 in walnuts, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, may boost mental powers by changing how memory cells in the hippocampus talk to one another. And it’s heart-loving: Two servings of DHA-packed fish a week can cut your chance of dying from a heart attack by 30 percent or more.

Our recommendation? Everyone 18 and older, listen up! Stop smoking; get a daily workout of 30 minutes or more; dodge saturated and transfats, added sugars and sugar syrups and any grain that isn’t 100 percent whole; enjoy at least two servings of fish a week; take 900 IU of DHA omega-3 from algal oil; and maybe add 420 milligrams purified omega-7.

You’ll say, “Thanks for the memories!”


What do domestic superstar Angelina Jolie and undomesticated rock ’n’ roller Steven Tyler have in common? Bright-red lipstick. (Check out Tyler’s YouTube lipstick video.) But they might choose differently if they knew how potentially toxic some lip colors are. (Is Gene Simmons better off with black?)

In a follow-up to reports about chromium, cadmium, manganese and lead (to name the most risky metals) in lip glosses and lipsticks, a new study from The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences confirms the kiss and tell. Of the 300 they tested, 75 percent contained lead; 68 percent had chromium; and 22 percent contained manganese well above safe levels.

So, if you want a bit of color on your lips, what can you do? Well, nothing makes a face more youthful, cheeks rosier or lips more appealing than daily exercise (walking 10,000 steps a day); a healthy diet (skip the Five Food Felons of added sugars and sugar syrups, any grain that isn’t 100 percent whole, most saturated fats and all transfats); spending time with a good friend; doing something nice for someone; and having a roll in the hay (make sure it’s 100 percent whole grain — just kidding) with your significant other.

And for a fast fix: Try a blend of pulverized berries of your choice, strong coffee (to darken the colors) and a touch of olive oil; strain and apply with a cotton swab. Seal with a pure beeswax lip balm. Sweet!

Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Dr. Michael Roizen is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to

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