Wouldn’t it be great to never misplace your glasses? Most women have brain blips by their 50s, UCLA scientists say, but these tricks will keep you sharp.
Spice up your pasta.
Yum! Stirring red pepper flakes and olive oil into your pasta sauce (whether homemade or store-bought) reduces the risk of dementia by 48 percent. Investigators at the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging credit four potent flavonoids found in tomatoes, chili peppers and olive oil with the protective effect. The compounds work together to shield against oxidative stress and inflammation, which in turn protects cells and slows brain aging, explains neurologist Jennie Valles, M.D., with Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in New York.
Try a 5¢ fix.
A bona fide “memory pill” already exists, and it costs just a nickel a day. American Academy of Neurology researchers found that folks over 60 with optimal B-12 levels were 600 percent less likely to experience memory-hampering brain shrinkage. The vitamin is known for repairing neurons and preventing brain cells from wasting away, explains Dr. Valles. Tip: Since it’s harder for the gut to absorb the nutrient as you age, try taking 1,000 mcg. a day of sublingual B-12 like Mason Natural B-12, (Buy at Amazon, $9). Simply place one under your tongue and it’ll dissolve directly into your system, bypassing the digestive tract. (You can also try: Our readers are loving this Elysium Health supplement that prevents brain atrophy and keeps your mind sharp.)
Putter to a podcast.
Puttering around for nine minutes a day erases more than a year of brain aging, say Boston University School of Medicine scientists. And it’s easy with an audiobook. University of Pennsylvania researchers found “bundling” light movement with something you enjoy makes it 51 percent more likely you’ll reach your goal. Says researcher Nicole Spartano, Ph.D.: “More physical activity is associated with higher brain volume.”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.