Lately, every page I turn has something to say about my aging brain. I know I’m always forgetting things and I’m only 53. I tell my 89 year old mom to “write things down,” when I really need to listen to my own advice. So what else can I do to keep my aging brain in shape — here’s what I learned this week:
– According to a brief in the New York Times Science section on Tuesday, “In healthy adults, the hippocampus, a part of the brain important to the formation of memories, begins to atrophy around 55 or 60. However, psychologists are suggesting that the hippocampus can be modestly expanded and memory improved by nothing more than regular walking.”
Walking eh? I can do that. I took a walk today. I took a long walk. I walked 2.5 miles around the track at the gym as part of my Sunday exercise.
I was motivated because I had just downloaded some new songs on my iPod. I was so proud of myself. I downloaded two new songs to my computer and transferred them to my iPod. Go Judi! Go Judi! Go Judi!
What’s that you ask? What songs did I download to keep me rocking and walking? Oh, oh, oh, I had to have the brand new Lady Gaga song “Born This Way” and Pink’s new song “Perfect.” My two new songs kept my toes tapping and will hopefully help me save my memories for the future.
– When I finished walking, I came home and ate some blueberries. “Research shows berries may protect against mental decline,” said an article in the March/April issue of The Magazine AARP (yes I am a member, are you?). “As we get older, damaged cells accumulate in the brain, which can lead to age-related diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Polyphenols, which give berries their deep-red or blue hue, activate proteins that ‘clean up’ damaged cells, breaking down and recycling the toxic chemicals linked to age-related mental decline” says a recent study. So glad I like my berries.
– What else did I learn? More news in The Magazine AARP says that another study finds that “a glass of wine a few times a week improves your thinking.” Wow, I had two glasses of wine tonight at my friend L’s house and more berries with dessert too. L served strawberries, bananas, and pineapple with chocolate fondue. It was so, so good. My brain is feeling fabulous right now.
Is chocolate good for the brain or is chocolate good for the heart? I know it has got to be good for something besides padding my fifty-something hips. That’s enough brain power for now. I’ll research chocolate benefits another time.