Easy Tricks for Staying Sharp
Americans are living longer than ever. But this also means more and more people are living with confusion, brain fog and poor memories. In fact, the medical establishment considers age the #1 risk factor for these problems.
But getting older doesn’t have to mean losing your mental edge. In fact, there are many ways to increase your chances of staying sharp…
One way that’s both fun and handy is to learn another language. In a 2008 study, mature adults who spoke more than one language scored higher on tests of mental sharpness.1 And I just read a new study that discovered the more languages you speak, the lower your risk of mental decline.2
Another easy way to take care of your brain is to take care of your heart. A team at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute discovered that almost everything that lowers your risk for heart problems lowers your risk of mental decline, too.3 So watching your weight, keeping your blood pressure down and controlling blood sugar could improve the quality of your life in more ways than one.
The Karolinska researchers also found that just staying active – mentally, physically and socially – cuts risk.
Physical activity carries a bonus, too. It could actually improve your memory. Australian researchers put a group with mild memory problems on an exercise program. After 24 weeks, their memories had improved. A year and a half after the program ended, their memories were still better.4
Don’t worry. You don’t have to run on a treadmill all day to keep your mind sharp. In one study, Brooklyn retirees who enjoyed dancing had a lower risk of mental decline.5 And, as I’ve said in the past, even walking can help you keep your edge.6
You can even promote mental clarity with food. A large US study discovered several foods that may help you stay sharp. They include fish, nuts, fruits, dark green and leafy veggies, tomatoes and poultry. Going easy on red meat and dairy fat also appears to help.7
What you drink can make a difference, too. A Danish study found that people who drank wine weekly – or even monthly – had a lower risk of mental decline. On the other hand, regular beer intake appears to increase your risk.8
Finally, just keeping your mind active can help you stay sharp. The Brooklyn study I mentioned found that playing musical instruments, reading or even just playing board games helps.
You have a better chance of living to a ripe old age than the people of any previous generation. And with just a few simple steps, you could really improve your enjoyment of that time.
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
Best Life Herbals
1 Kavé G, et al. Multilingualism and Cognitive State in the Oldest Old. Psychology and Aging, Volume 23, Issue 1, March 2008, Pages 70-78.
2 See http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/AAN/25019.
3 See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110220142811.htm.
4 Lautenschlager NT, et al. Effect of physical activity on cognitive function in older adults at risk for Alzheimer disease: a randomized trial. JAMA. 2008 Sep 3;300(9):1027-37.
5 Verghese J, et al. Leisure Activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly. N Engl J Med 2003; 348:2508-2516.
6 Abbott RD, et al. Walking and Dementia in Physically Capable Elderly Men. JAMA. 2004;292(12):1447-1453.
7 Gu Y, et al. Food Combination and Alzheimer Disease Risk: A Protective Diet. Archives of Neurology, Vol. 67 No. 6, June 2010.
8 Truelsen T, et al. Amount and type of alcohol and risk of dementia: The Copenhagen City Heart Study. Neurology November 12, 2002 vol. 59 no. 9 1313-1319.