Keeping one's brain healthy as one ages requires consideration of a number of factors.
Click to see the interactive map of America's Brain Health Index.
Maintaining a healthy brain usually means more than just burying your nose in a book. Experts say to preserve brain power as one ages one should eat well, stay physical, challenge oneself mentally and stay socially active. And as a recent study shows, Maryland may be the best place in the country to keep your brain in tip-top shape.
Maryland was ranked No. 1 of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, boosted by high scores in a number of factors, including low rates of smoking, low incidence of Alzheimer's-related deaths, and a hearty appetite for seafood, fruits and vegetables.
The result comes as part of America's Brain Health Index, a portion of a national health campaign called Beautiful Minds. It's a joint effort between Dr. Michael Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Majid Fotuhi of the NeurExpand Brain Center, and DSM Nutritional Products, a purveyor of vitamins and food additives like omega-3 fatty acids.
It's not the first time Maryland has gotten the nod for its brain-friendliness. The 2011 version of the study featured Maryland at the top of the list as well.
Top 10 States For Brain Health
- District of Columbia
- New York
- New Hampshire
D.C. fared well in its own right, coming in No. 6, with the Index's authors painting a rosy picture of District residents' consumption habits, but not necessarily their social proclivities.
"Residents can improve their brain health by taking care of their physical health, playing more mentally stimulating games and getting more involved in their community," said the Index's authors.
So while D.C. was tops in the country for both consumption of fruits and vegetables and rates of health insurance, it was near the bottom for religious/spiritual activities and social and emotional support, both of which contributed to the study's "social well-being" category.
The study utilizes data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Alzheimer's Association, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Corporation for National and Community Services Civic Life Index, among others.