Brain fog and age-related memory lapses can be bothersome to deal with. However, there are some simple ways to put a stop to them. From tried-and-true to brand-new, these six quick memory boosters really work to naturally increase your brain power.
This pennies-a-day supplement wards off Alzheimer’s.
Lithium is commonly prescribed for mood disorders. Now, new research out of Canada’s McGill University has found that microdoses of the supplement — 400 times lower than doses used for serious psychiatric conditions — can stop the buildup of brain plaques that trigger Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders, without side effects. Plus, it can restore some lost brain function. “Low-dose lithium may be the key intervention to prevent cognitive decline,” says psychiatrist James Greenblatt, MD, who suggests 5 mg. to 20 mg. of lithium orotate daily.
‘Baby ’ photos banishes brain fog.
Funny cat memes and prancing-goat videos are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. And now a recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE finds that looking at photos or videos of baby animals doesn’t just cheer you up, it boosts brain function and short-term memory by 44 percent for an hour or more. Study co-author Al Yano, PhD, says gazing at cute baby animals stimulates the brain’s powerful, natural protective instincts, which heighten focus, concentration, recall, and even reaction times.
Relaxing stretches halts brain shrinkage.
Everyone knows how good exercise is for the brain — many studies prove moving for 20 to 30 minutes daily triples focus and concentration and cuts the risk of memory lapses and even dementia by 88 percent. Now, investigators reporting in the journal Brain Plasticity say deep, yoga-like stretches are just as effective as long jogs. That’s because stretching muscles prompts the release of BDNF, a compound that repairs and replaces aging brain nerves, plus energizes brain regions that help you stay alert and mentally organized.
Rummy reverses 10 years.
Researchers have long said playing games like cards or bingo slows brain aging. Scottish scientists recently found that a few weekly game nights can give you the problem-solving skills, thinking speed, and memory abilities of folks 10 years younger — even if you don’t start playing until your 70s! Strategy games promote nerve growth in the brain region that helps you quickly process information to form lasting memories.
Singing along speeds thinking.
A Finnish study has uncovered a surprising perk of belting out your favorite tunes: enhancing your ability to think on your feet. The scientists followed subjects over age 60 for three years and discovered that folks who sang in choirs were better at switching focus, organizing thoughts, and adapting quickly to new situations. The mental stimulation of learning lyrics, melody, and rhythm while singing along with friends (or the radio!) delivers the impressive brain boost.
Peanut butter stops senior moments.
Macadamias and pine nuts have long been linked with better brain function. Now the humble peanut joins their ranks! Research published in Nutritional Neuroscience suggests two tablespoons of natural peanut butter daily boosts brain function, recall, and reasoning ability by 60 percent, plus lowers the risk of age-related memory lapses and brain fog by 40 percent. Credit peanuts’ oleic acid, which relaxes brain blood vessels so oxygen-and nutrient-rich blood easily reaches brain neurons.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.