The secret to a brain that's on its A game at all times: staying healthy from head to toe. Habits like keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check, eating a well-balanced diet, and avoiding excess stress make for a mind that functions at its best, says James Mastrianni, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Comprehensive Care and Research on Memory Disorders at the University of Chicago Medicine. Plus, these habits are the brain's best defense against natural memory loss that comes with aging and long-term neurological disorders, like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Follow these do's and don’ts to keep your brain working its hardest now and later on.