(TODAY) Age-related brain plaques, which may play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, can start forming in your 40s. Keep your brain buff with these tips.
1. BE LIKE POPEYE.
… And love olive oil. In a study from Spain, men who ate about 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil a day showed better language comprehension, attention and abstract thinking than those on a low-fat diet. Its antioxidants (Italian olive oil has the most) may reduce brain inflammation.
2. SHOVEL IN THE SALAD.
“Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables protect your brain from wear and tear and the stress of aging,” said Dr. Gary Small, director of the UCLA Longevity Center. Consume at least 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables a day. But wash all salad ingredients first.
3. BECOME A FISHMONGER.
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish (or fish-oil supplements) help form the myelin sheaths that line your brain’s “wiring”; their breakdown is a factor in both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, according to Dr. George Bartzokis, a professor of neuroscience at UCLA.
4. DINE WITH WINE.
Drink a glass of red wine every day and make it merlot. This type has the most resveratrol, an antioxidant that protects neurons from damage, noted William J. Tippett, director of the University of Northern British Columbia Brain Research Unit. Dark chocolate has resveratrol, too. Try 2 ounces.
5. DROP YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE.
The higher your systolic blood pressure is when you’re younger, the more likely you are to lose gray matter in key areas as you age, scientists at UC Davis found. Chronically high blood pressure (above 120/80 mmHg) deprives your brain of blood and nutrients.
6. BOOST YOUR MEMORY.
In a study reported in Psychological Science, college students who practiced mindfulness — awareness of the moment — for two weeks showed memory improvements. Want in? Find a program that teaches mindfulness-based stress reduction or take a yoga class. Read the full story at TODAY.com