Welcome back to the Health IQ “Research Round Up,” where we bring you the latest in health and wellness research to help you make more informed choices. This edition investigates small changes you can make to help with memory loss, gut health and getting better sleep.

Walking Toward Memory Improvement

A recent study looks at the impact of aerobic exercise on the brain. Over the course of a year, a group of middle aged and older patients who’d experienced mild memory loss began to show improved cognitive scores with regular exercise. Why? Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the brain, and this can be as simple as a daily walk. This is great news for those who are just starting to forget some things, and those who have more serious memory loss.

Another study has shown that staying close with friends can help improve memory. Socializing, especially later in life can make a difference for your cognitive strength. Some great activities for doing that include group exercise, games or crossword puzzles.

Take-away: Whether your memory is spot on or starting to fade, staying active and engaging with friends can help improve your brain health for years to come.

Good News for Your Gut

Keep that yogurt and cottage cheese on the menu. Stanford researchers recently found that a diet high in fermented foods can increase diversity in gut microbes. According to the study, eating foods like cottage cheese, yogurt, fermented vegetables, and kombucha tea can reduce inflammation and improve immune responses.

Take-away: Working fermented foods into your diet can boost your digestion and overall health. Start with these eight fermented food and drink choices.

Natural Ways to Improve Your Sleep

Research shows that more than half of adults over 60 struggle with sleep disturbances. To cope with that, the University of Michigan reports that more than half of adults 65 and over take medication to help them sleep.

Research shows that you can avoid medication and get better sleep by getting more natural sunlight. Other small fixes may include keeping a consistent sleep schedule and reducing caffeine.

Take-away: If you’re struggling with sleep, try getting more sunshine and exercise, and less caffeine. If you feel like you need more help or a prescription, talk to your doctor about what may work best for you.