Meditating for just 10-15 minutes a day can improve concentration, says a study published in the journal Scientific Reports. Ten students in New York state meditated five times a week for eight weeks. The result? Brain scans revealed an improved ability to switch from the “default mode network”, when the mind is wandering, to the “dorsal attention network”, when the brain is focused.
The 101-year-old lobsterwoman
Virginia Oliver, 101, is a Maine lobsterwoman who entered the trade when she was eight, just before the Great Depression. She returned to sea after raising four children, and still works with one of them, 78-year-old Max Oliver – Virginia’s job is to measure the lobsters and tie up their claws. They wake at 3am and go to bed at 10pm, but it’s “not hard work for me”, she tells The Boston Globe. “I grew up with this.”
After the day’s lobstering is done, Virginia doesn’t nap – there are errands to do. “I don’t like TV because there’s nothing on it,” she says. For leisure, she cooks and reads romance novels. Her work ethic runs in the family: another lobstering son, 79-year-old Bill, says his mother would “break my neck” if he retired. Virginia says she’s not planning to clock off herself. “Until I die. And I don’t know when that will be.”
A healthy diet for a healthy brain
Fruit and vegetables are not just great for your body. They can also combat forgetfulness and confusion. Scientists at Harvard found people with the highest intake of flavonoids, an antioxidant compound present in plants, were 19% less likely to report confusion and forgetfulness as they aged. Strawberries, blueberries, oranges, spinach, onions, peppers and cauliflower are the best sources. But they are also present in tea, red wine and dark chocolate. One recommendation from those in the know: eat these foods raw, as cooking reduces the flavonoid content.