Tired of turning the house upside down to find your car keys or apologizing for the appointment you forgot? You’re not alone: Many women over 50 experience occasional memory lapses. And while it’s natural to worry, experts say it’s easy to boost your memory now and keep it sharp for years to come!
Dig into blueberry parfait.
The key here (to preventing memory lapses) is the fresh fruit! Eating blueberries revs recall in people who are more likely to develop dementia, according to a study published in the journal Nutrients. The findings suggest that ½ cup of blueberries daily lowers risk of memory loss, due to anthocyanidins and procyanidins — two powerful plant compounds that boost brain cell signaling and curb inflammation that can lead to memory impairments.
Note: The study was funded by the US Highbush Blueberry Council, and the researchers used blueberry powder — so the findings might not apply directly to fresh berries.
Gaze at gardenias.
Strolling around as you admire vibrant blooms may boost blood flow to the brain, sharpening memory. What’s more, research from the JAMA Network suggests engaging in an additional 20 minutes of moderate activity daily spurs growth in the hippocampus (the brain region that governs memory) to reduce age-related memory blips.
Kick back with iced coffee.
Sure, your morning joe provides an instant boost: Johns Hopkins scientists say the caffeine equivalent of one cup enhances memory for 24 hours. But for added benefits, enjoy an iced coffee at lunch, too. A research paper published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease noted that coffee’s caffeine spurs the release of neurotransmitters that protect the brain from damage done by a protein called beta-amyloid. And in one study mentioned in the paper, folks who drank three cups of coffee daily cut their odds of long-term memory problems by 65 percent.
Sniff a fresh scent.
For a quick memory lift, break off a sprig of lavender or mint from your garden and inhale its aroma. Research from a study in Nutrients notes that compounds such as menthone and cineole in the herbs sharpen memory and alertness. Plus, research from the University of California in San Francisco suggests focusing on smelling pleasant odors daily can optimize brain function to reduce memory lapses and dementia risk.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.