forgetful, but as we age, we start to feel like our brains are slowing down
a bit—and that can be the most frustrating thing in the world. Luckily,
research shows there is a lot you can do to avoid those “senior moments."
Whether it's relaxation or adding certain foods to your diet, read on for some
techniques worth trying.
1. Chill Out
remembers better when it’s relaxed, say researchers at the California Institute
of Technology, so take a few minutes each day to breathe deeply or meditate.
"The positive of meditation is you have focused concentration and
relaxation taking place at the same time," says Elizabeth Edgerly, PhD,
spokesperson for the Alzheimer's Association. "Researchers believe those
things are good because they're developing new connections for your brain
regularly made plans and looked forward to upcoming events had a 50 percent
reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent study. But don’t worry if
your calendar isn’t overflowing with life-changing events. Something as simple
as setting a goal to have a weekly coffee date with a friend (and keeping it)
will do. "Psychologically it keeps us motivated," Dr. Edgerly says.
"There's evidence that people who have a purpose in life or who are
working on long-or short-term goals appear to do better." In other words,
keep your brain looking forward.
3. Go for a Walk
elevated glucose levels (even if you don’t have diabetes) can harm the area of
the brain that helps you form memories, say Columbia University researchers.
Experts agree that physical activity can help get blood glucose down to normal levels.
In fact, the strongest evidence is regarding the effect of physical
activity on the brain. Dr. Edgerly says, "When you exercise, you release
chemicals that are good for your brain. It's like a mini fountain of youth in
your brain, and the only way you can get it is exercise." In other words,
when you take care of your heart, you take care of your brain.
4. Snack on Berries
have compounds called anthocyanins that help communication between brain cells
and appear to improve memory, says Robert Krikorian, PhD, professor of
psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati. In
general, Dr. Edgerly says the darker the fruit or vegetable, the better. She
adds, "It's a healthy, well-rounded diet, especially one that mimics a
Mediterranean diet, and that's fish, lots of fruits and vegetables, and red wine,
everyone likes the red wine part."
5. Learn Something New
Spanish class online, join a knitting club, or learn to play poker. A UC Irvine
study found that mental stimulation limits the debilitating effects of aging on
memory and the mind. But the best thing for your brain, Dr. Edgerly insists, is
when you combine learning something new with physical activity. "It should
be something like dancing, or coaching a sport. Or go learn golf with your
girlfriends. That sort of thing is even better for your brain than, say, a