Good news: Staying sharp and savoring wonderful memories well into your golden years is easier than ever, thanks to recent medical breakthroughs. These easy moves turn back the clock on brain aging, giving you the focus, concentration and memory that you had 15 years ago. Plus, you’ll cut your risk of dementia by up to 88 percent.
Do the herky-jerky.
Breaking up long stretches of sitting by getting up for a few minutes every half hour sharpens your memory and concentration by 65 percent, plus cuts dementia risk by 88 percent, say Swedish scientists. Endocrinologist Rick Bracken, M.D., says moving your muscles stimulates the release of a hormone that energizes the memory center in your brain and helps repair and replace older brain nerves that aren’t functioning at their peak. Tip for smartphone lovers: Try an app like Stand Up! for automatic reminders.
Dip berries in chocolate.
Nibbling on 2 oz. of dark chocolate and a heaping cup of fresh fruit daily helps you think as clearly as you did 12 years ago, Harvard scientists say. What’s more, it cuts risk of dementia in half! Dark chocolate’s theobromine prompts the release of memory-enhancing hormones, while fruit’s vitamin C blocks plaque buildup in brain arteries.
Slow down your breathing.
Calming your nerves when life gets hectic lessens your odds of memory lapses by 75 percent, helping your brain function as if it’s 15 years younger, report University of Utah investigators. As neurologist Daniel Amen, M.D., explains, when stress levels drop, your arteries relax, allowing nutrient-rich blood to reach hardworking brain cells. And simply taking slow, deep breaths — as if you were blowing up a balloon-is all it takes to tamp down tension.
Nurture your blooms.
Caring for your veggie garden or summer blooms exposes you to unusual but powerful brain boosters: the healthy bacteria that you inhale when you’re near soil. No wonder Cornell University researchers say tending to plants twice weekly can double your ability to remember facts, names and directions, plus reduce the odds of dementia by as much as 55 percent!
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.