The Women's Brain Health Initiative says there are six ways people can reduce the chance of developing cognitive decline and brain disorders.

Lynn Posluns, CEO of the Toronto-based research organization, said these six "pillars" are easy to incorporate into daily life.

"The research is also showing that there are six lifestyle choices that cumulatively give you the best chance of prolonging your cognitive vitality as you age," Posluns told CTV's Your Morning on Wednesday.

The first pillar is good sleep -- ideally seven to eight hours a night, she said. Research has shown that a chronic lack of sleep can be linked to dementia later in life.

"A good night's sleep allows the consolidation of memories and also gets rid of the toxins in the brain that if they build up cause difficulty in terms of the neurons connecting.”

Nutrition plays an important role in brain health, Posluns said, noting that research shows fruits, vegetables, olive oil and nuts are good for cognitive function.

Reducing stress, which can "prematurely age" a brain, is also an important part, Posluns said.

"You have to figure out what is the best way of managing your stress," she said. "For some it might be deep breathing exercises, going for a walk in nature, it could be mindfulness meditation, or getting a pet."

Exercise and learning new tasks can improve brain health by stimulating cognitive function. For example, "if you're right-handed, brush your teeth with your left hand," Posluns said.

The last pillar, Posluns said, is for people to stay socially connected.

Click the video at the top of this article to see simple hand motions that can increase brain health.

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