Concerned about losing your marbles?
Age related memory loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s are scary realities. Cognition and memory is affected by many factors. The aging process itself plays only a small factor in memory loss; instead it is the occurrence of other illnesses and poor nutrition that deteriorates our memory over time.The brain needs a sufficient supply of the proper nutrients such as adequate oxygenation, glucose, B vitamins and many more to function properly. As such, there are certain lifestyle measures and natural ways we can take to reduce our risk of age related memory loss and deter Alzheimer’s.
Here are a number of proven ways to sharpen your memory and protect it against memory loss as you age.
Exercise is important for physical and mental fitness! Exercise can help reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, which are illnesses that can lead to memory loss. Research also shows that exercise increases the level of neurotrophins, chemicals that nourish brain cells and help protect against damage. Furthermore, exercise provides protective effects to your brain by increasing blood flow to your brain.
Use It or Lose It
Your brain is like a muscle and as such you should exercise it to keep it fit. Mentally stimulating activities such as crossword puzzles, reading, chess and games like suduko,can help exercise your mind because they involve a host of mental tasks, including logical reasoning, pattern recognition, and nonlinear thinking. Research demonstrates that stimulating activities and environments can stop the brain from shrinking with age and actually improve it’s neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to form new pathways and connections).
You Are What You Eat
Proper nutrition in any health matter is a factor that cannot be overlooked and for cognitive health it is no exception! Diet can have an immense impact on your body and your brain, a diet that focuses on fruits, vegetables, and foods containing omega 3 fatty acids can keep the brain healthy. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants which can protect the brain from oxidative damage. Omega 3 fatty acids contains a component known as DHA(docosahexaenoic acid), which has been found in studies to improve memory and learning in adults. It combats inflammation and discourages plaque buildup associated with Alzheimer’s. So start incorporating more fish in your diet particularly, cold water fishes such as mackerel, anchovies and salmon which are rich in DHA.
Good Fats Fuel the Brain
Like medium chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil and palm oil which has been found to boost cognitive function in older adults and alzheimer sufferers. In patients with Alzheimer’s, insulin resistance prevents their brain cells from accepting glucose, their primary fuel, without fuel, the brain cells die. MCTs are converted in body into ketones, which can be used by the brain as fuel. Ketones can provide energy to cells without the need for insulin, the hormone the body relies on to get glucose from the blood into cells. It is believe that ketones might provide an alternative energy source for brain cells that have lost their ability to use glucose as a result of Alzheimer’s.
Sleep is necessary for all aspects involving cognitive function. Sleep deprivation leads to poor memory, concentration and decision-making. If you have any chronic sleep issues click here to read our article how you can naturally improve your sleep.
Spice Up Your Life
With spices such as Turmeric and Sage. Turmeric a plant native to South Asia contains a compound known as curcumin that has shown positive results against Alzheimer’s. Curcumin has antioxidant properties which is thought to decrease inflammation and prevent oxidative stress which have been linked to neuronal cell damage and memory loss. Sage a commonly used culinary herb has been found in a few clinical trial to also sharpen one’s memory. Sage oil naturally contains constituents that inhibit acetylcholine break down an important neurotransmitter or brain chemical that is involved in memory and learning.
Ginkgo Biloba has been used in traditionally in Chinese Medicine to enhance memory. Lack of oxygenation, blood clots and stroke are common risk factors that can affect memory. Laboratory studies have shown that ginkgo improves circulation and also thins the blood making it less sticky. Free radicals are also believed to contribute to health problems including heart disease and cancer as well as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Antioxidants such as those found in ginkgo can help neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
B vitamins particularly vitamin B12, B6 and folic acid has been been demonstrated to prevent memory loss and prevent alzheimer’s disease. B vitamins help reduce homocysteine levels in the blood, an amino acid if elevated, is an independent risk factor for Alzheimer’s. Choline, another B vitamin has been also shown to benefit the brain and decrease risk of dementia. Choline, is an important nutrient for the “memory” neurotransmitter (acetylcholine). Foods that are rich in B vitamins include dark leafy green vegetables like spinach, eggs, fish, meat and legumes.
By following these eight tips, you can keep your memory sharp at any age, and improve it any time. But, recognise when it is necessary to seek professional help. Memory loss becomes serious when it interferes with our daily activities such as: getting lost in familiar places, forgetting and misusing words.