Anna Evans

Use Your Brain to Change Your Age by Daniel G. Amen, MD

A transformative book that opens doors to endless possibilities as we age gracefully and intelligently.

Use Your Brain to Change Your Age

The book has gotten 3.88 ⭐️ on GoodReads.

“This book is so engaging that I almost burned my dinner while reading it.…The overarching message is hope and motivation. As Dr. Amen proposes, the fountain of youth is between your ears.”
– Ingrid Kohlstadt, M.D., Ph.D., Townsend Letter

Recent research revealed that the brain possesses an extraordinary capacity for adaptation and renewal throughout our lives. This phenomenon is known as neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to reorganise and form new neural connections in response to learning, experience, and environmental factors. Neuroplasticity challenges the traditional notion that the brain’s decline is irreversible, opening up a world of possibilities for optimising brain health and cognitive function as we age.

The concept of neuroplasticity suggests that engaging in mentally stimulating activities, staying socially connected, leading a physically active lifestyle, and maintaining a balanced diet can positively influence brain health and cognitive resilience. Regular exercise, for instance, has been shown to promote neurogenesis – the birth of new brain cells – particularly in regions associated with memory and learning. Moreover, nurturing our emotional well-being can also play a vital role in maintaining brain health.

In ‘Use Your Brain to Change Your Age: Secrets to Look, Feel, and Think Younger Every Day’ Dr. Daniel G. Amen, a renowned brain expert and bestselling author, reveals the key to a vibrant and prolonged life: a healthy brain. Drawing from over 70,000 brain scans conducted at Amen Clinics, he shares ten simple steps to boost your brain’s health, leading to a longer life, a more youthful appearance, and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Author’s background

Dr. Daniel G. Amen is a renowned physician, psychiatrist, teacher, and four-time New York Times bestselling author.

Dr. Daniel Amen (r)

He’s an expert in applying brain imaging science to clinical psychiatric practice. He is a board-certified child and adult psychiatrist, the medical director of Amen Clinics with the world’s largest database of functional brain scans related to behavior.

Dr. Amen is also an assistant clinical professor at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine and a lead researcher in a large brain imaging/brain rehabilitation study on professional football players. Dr. Amen has authored 28 books, appeared in popular shows about the brain, and delivered speeches for various prestigious organizations.

What is the book about?

The book explores the concept of neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to change and adapt throughout life. Dr. Amen emphasises that by making specific lifestyle changes and adopting brain-healthy habits, individuals can enhance their brain function, improve memory, and reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline.

In the book, Dr. Amen provides practical strategies and insights on how to maintain a youthful and healthy brain as you age. He discusses the impact of various factors such as diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, and social engagement on brain health. The book also incorporates case studies and examples from his extensive experience as a psychiatrist and brain health expert.

Key takeaways from ‘Use Your Brain to Change Your Age’

1Your brainwork affects everything in your life

The book discusses the importance of the brain in every aspect of a person’s life and how it affects decision-making, emotions, behavior, and overall health. It emphasises that a healthy brain leads to a happier, healthier, and more successful life, while a troubled brain can lead to various issues such as mental illnesses, addiction, and learning problems.

The brain is a complex and vulnerable organ, and brain injuries can have severe consequences. The author stresses the significance of brain health and the impact of behavior on brain ageing.

2You can improve the brain’s health through targeted lifestyle changes

  • Brain-healthy diet and hydration. One of the key messages in ‘Use Your Brain to Change Your Age’ is a call to adopt a brain-healthy diet. This typically includes consuming foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients that support brain function. Reducing processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats is also usually encouraged.

  • Physical exercise. Regular physical exercise is essential for brain health. The book may recommend incorporating aerobic exercises, strength training, and activities that challenge the brain’s coordination and motor skills.

  • Mental stimulation and brain-training exercises. Keeping the brain engaged through mental stimulation is important. Activities like reading, puzzles, learning new skills, and engaging in intellectually stimulating hobbies are often suggested. Some books might introduce specific brain-training exercises or computer programs designed to improve cognitive abilities.

  • Sleep optimisation and stress reduction. Quality sleep is crucial for brain health and cognitive function. Implementing healthy sleep habits and addressing any sleep-related issues are encouraged. Chronic stress can negatively impact the brain. The book might advise on stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, or other relaxation practices.

  • Social connection. Maintain social connections and engaging in meaningful relationships can positively influence brain health and overall well-being.

  • Avoiding toxins. Minimise exposure to environmental toxins and substances, like tobacco and alcohol, that can harm the brain may also be mentioned.

3You should know your numbers to maintain a healthy mind

To maintain a healthy mind and body, understanding and optimising certain health parameters is essential. The author provides a list of numbers that play a crucial role in promoting longevity and youthful appearance. These include: BMI, Waist-to-Height ratio, blood pressure, average hours of sleep per night, vitamin D level, calories needed vs. calories expended, and many other parameters.

Knowing and regularly monitoring these numbers can empower you to take control of your health and make informed decisions to improve your overall well-being. Remember, you cannot change what you do not measure, so stay proactive and aware of these essential markers for a healthier, happier life.

4Try doing regular brain checkups

The book might advocate for regular brain health assessments and checkups to monitor cognitive function and identify any potential issues early on.

Table of contents

  • Dedication
  • Introduction: The fountain of youth is between your years
  • Seven Principles That Will Change Everything in Your Life
  • 1. NANA, LISA, AND RUTH Know Your Numbers to Keep Your Mind Healthy and Prevent Alzheimer’s and Other Diseases of Aging
  • 2. TAMARA Focus on Foods That Serve You, Not Steal from You
  • 3. ANDY Get Strong to Live Long
  • 4. JOSE Then What? Optimize Your Prefrontal Cortex to Fuel Conscientiousness and Make Better, Healthier Decisions
  • 5. JIM Boost Your Brain’s Life Span, Speed, and Memory
  • 6. JONI AND THE MINI FACE-LIFT Boost Your Blood Flow for Better Skin and Sex
  • 7. CHRIS AND SAMMIE Treat Depression, Grief, and Stress to Add Years to Your Life
  • 8. ANTHONY, PATRICK, NANCY, AND MORE ON REVERSING BRAIN DAMAGE Make Your Brain Better, Even If You Have Been Bad to It
  • 9. THE TALE OF TWO RICKS Create Your Own Genius Network to Get Better Together
  • What You Don’t Know Is Stealing Your Brain
  • Appendix: Natural supplements to enhance your brain and extend your life
  • Note on references and further reading
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
  • About the Author

Strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews


  • Motivational: Some readers found the book to be motivating, especially in terms of starting or maintaining an exercise routine and improving eating habits.

  • Comprehensive approach: The book covers various aspects of brain health, including diet, sleep, weight loss, brain exercises, and mental states like depression.

  • Real-Life examples: The inclusion of real people’s experiences and SPECT scans demonstrating improvement adds credibility to the strategies suggested in the book.

  • Highlighting the impact of obesity: The book sheds light on the significant effect of obesity on brain function, memory, and cognition, which might be an eye-opener for some readers.


  • Lack of novelty: Some readers felt that the book didn’t offer much new information, and its content was largely a rehash of common knowledge.

  • Repetitive writing: The book’s content was repetitive, which might have made it less engaging for some readers.

  • Contains self-promotion: The book was criticised for including advertising for the author’s products, services, and success stories, which could be off-putting to some readers.

Best quotes from ‘Use Your Brain to Change Your Age’

“I used to love Rocky Road ice cream until I learned that not only is it filled with sugar and calories, which promote obesity, inflammation, and erratic brain cell firing, it also has a type of fat, palmitic acid, that fools the brain into thinking it has not eaten anything at all. No wonder that halfway through the first bowl of ice cream, I was thinking about the second bowl. This does not happen with nonfat yogurt and blueberries, which I also love.”
“Eat more vegetables than fruits and try to get that number to between five and ten servings to enhance your brain and lower your risk for cancer.”
“Losing your memory or developing brain fog in your forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, or even eighties is not normal. It is a sign of trouble. Be smart and stop waiting for a problem to hit you in the head before you decide you have to get healthy.”

Final takeaway

‘Use Your Brain to Change Your Age: Secrets to Look, Feel, and Think Younger Every Day’ by Dr. Daniel G. Amen offers a simple, brain-smart program to boost brain health and longevity. Drawing from extensive brain imaging work, the book provides practical steps to improve memory, focus, energy, and reduce aging signs. While the book presents valuable insights, some readers found it repetitive and containing excessive self-promotion for the author’s products and services.

Where to buy

You can buy ‘Use Your Brain to Change Your Age’ on Amazon, where it’s available in paperback, hardcover, audio and Kindle formats.

Healthypedia FAQ

Yes, the brain has the ability to change and adapt throughout life, a concept known as neuroplasticity. This means that brain health can be improved at any age through appropriate interventions.

Regular physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, stimulates the release of brain chemicals that promote growth and neuroplasticity, and reduces the risk of conditions that affect brain health, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Memory lapses, difficulty concentrating, mood changes, and trouble with problem-solving may be warning signs of cognitive decline or brain health issues.

Link is copied