To ward off age-related memory slips, keep in mind the following brain-boosting strategies:
• Stay calm. Chronic stress elevates cortisol levels, which can impair learning and memory. Just 10 minutes of daily meditation will lower anxiety, bring peace of mind, and improve your mental focus.
• Take a walk. Physical exercise transports oxygen and nutrients to your brain cells and helps them to communicate more effectively. A daily brisk walk has been associated with a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease so put on your sneakers and get going.
• Lower your blood pressure. Higher systolic blood pressure in mid-life is associated with smaller brain size later in life. After age 40, routine blood pressure checks can help you and your doctor keep your blood pressure in a normal range (systolic below 120 mmHg and diastolic below 80 mmHg.)
• Eat like a Mediterranean. Healthy fats (omega-3s from fish and nuts, omega-9s from olive oil), antioxidant fruits and vegetables, a glass of wine at dinner, and other aspects of the Mediterranean-style diet are associated with better cognitive abilities.
• Watch your belly. The fat cells that grow your wasteline promote brain inflammation and increase your risk for late-life dementia, so attend to the size of your portions at meals and stay active to maintain an optimal body weight.
• Be friendly. Social butterflies enjoy the mental support of friendships and stimulating conversations that increase the likelihood of a sharp mind throughout life. Make a habit of walking with friends to enjoy the brain-boosting benefits of exercise and social connections.
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