We may joke about “senior moments,” but the truth is, we can’t help buy worry when we forget why we opened the fridge. A recent survey reveals that staying sharp as we age is a number-one priority for many older Americans. Thankfully, experts say there are plenty of things you can do to halt brain aging — and potentially even reverse it — that will cut your risk of dementia by 88 percent. We've rounded up five easy steps you can take toward a healthier mind today.
On average, Americans are getting 17 minutes of exercise daily, but according to researchers at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg, adding just another eight minutes of motion could cut your risk of dementia by 88 percent. What's more, it can keep dementia at bay for longer, with symptoms starting 11 years later for fit women who participated in the study. That’s because aerobic activity, even sweeping the porch or carrying up the laundry, keeps your heart strong and arteries relaxed, and that makes it easy for oxygen-rich blood to reach your hard-working brain!
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
The same bacteria that cause gum disease can speed brain aging if they sneak into your bloodstream. No wonder experts say brushing and flossing daily can cut your risk of memory lapses by 41 percent!
Up Your Fruit and Veggie Intake
Up to 80 percent of us could be working to prevent dementia by replacing grains and simple sugars with fruit, vegetables, and legumes, report Yale University scientists. David Perlmutter, M.D., author of Grain Brain (from $13.99, Amazon), explains this diet shift improves insulin sensitivity, which means that your brain cells end up using sugars much more efficiently and with less excess swelling and injury.
Set a New Goal
Having a long-term goal you feel good about, like trying a new recipe every week, can cut your risk of dementia by 58 percent, according to Canadian researchers. Per their study, regularly tackling meaningful projects can heighten your production of a brain-nourishing hormone called nerve growth factor.
Five studies suggest that taking up to 240 milligrams of this herb daily can cut your risk of dementia by 42 percent, plus boost memory by 52 percent after jus one week! As neurologist Marco Canevelli, M.D., explains, ginkgo increases blood flow to the brain. We like Life Extension Ginkgo Biloba Certified Extract ($33.75, Life Extension). Note: Always check with a doctor before supplementing.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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