Lifestyle and diet changes help reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease. Here are 11 ways to keep your mind sharp and help slow down or ward off the disease. 1. Stay Active: Exercise boosts blood flow to the brain and increases levels of proteins that help nerve cells thrive. 2. Just Dance: Recalling dance moves and sequences keeps your brain cells alert and active. 3. Strike a New Chord: Playing any instrument -- and learning to play at any age -- helps the brain form new connections between nerve cells, which keeps your mind sharp. 4. Try a New Hobby: Leisure activities like knitting, gardening, and even traveling have been linked to a lower risk of mental decline. 5. Play Mind Games: Intellectually stimulating activities like games and puzzles like Sudoku and crosswords help keep your brain in tip-top shape. 6. Learn a New Language: Speaking more than one language offsets age-related memory loss and protects thinking skills. 7. Eat More Leafy Greens: These foods are rich in brain-boosting antioxidants as well as vitamin K, which has been shown to slow cognitive decline and keep your memory sharp. 8. Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet: Diets rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, fish, nuts, and healthy fats like olive oil help prevent blood vessel damage that can harm the heart and brain. 9. Get Your ZZZs: Lack of sleep is linked to abnormal protein deposits, called plaques, seen in Alzheimer's disease. 10. Quit Smoking: Tobacco use damages blood vessels, which can starve your brain of oxygen, and is linked to higher levels of brain-damaging inflammation. 11. Protect Your Noggin: There's a big link between severe head injury and Alzheimer's. The risk is greater if you lost consciousness.