Aging

4 Brain-Boosting Activities That’ll Keep Your Mind Sharp

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As we age, staying sharp becomes one of our number one priorities — and it’s surprisingly easy to do! Thanks to recent medical breakthroughs, it’s possible to stop brain aging, helping your mind function as if it were 16 years younger and cutting your risk of memory-robbing ills like dementia in half. So what do the experts recommend? 

Play a Game of UNO!

Sit down to your favorite card or board game twice a week and your brain will function as if it were nine years younger, you’ll score 25% higher on tests of brain function in your 70s and 80s, and you’ll cut your dementia risk by 48%, French researchers say. David Perlmutter, M.D., author of Brain Maker ($11.63, Amazon), explains that challenging yourself with fun games keeps your brain’s memory center energized and boosts the flow of nutrient-rich blood to brain cells.

Dig in the Dirt

Tending to your tulips exposes you to two powerful brain boosters — the healthy probiotic bacteria that you inhale when you’re near soil and the vitamin D your skin makes when it’s exposed to UV light. No wonder Cornell University researchers say gardening twice weekly could double your ability to remember facts, names and directions, plus cut your dementia risk by 55%.

Take DHA

Six studies suggest that taking a supplement containing 800 mg. of the healthy fats in fish oil (DHA) can boost your memory by 52%, help your brain function as if it were seven years younger and cut your dementia risk in half. Nutrition researcher Anne Minihane, Ph.D., explains that the brain uses this essential fat to repair and replace aging brain cells. Note: As always, check with your doctor before starting any new supplement.

TRY IT: $21.30, Amazon

Snack on Walnuts

Nibbling on 14 walnut halves daily could heighten your focus, short-term memory and ability to multitask by 45%, plus cut your risk of dementia by 58%. That’s the word from Japanese researchers, who say walnuts brim with compounds (polyphenols) that speed the breakdown of brain-aging wastes and help neurons absorb energizing glucose. 

This story originally appeared in our print magazine. 

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