If you’re like me, your standing in the kitchen trying to remember why you went in there? At times, I have trouble finding those words or I forget what I was doing because of momentary lapses. Rest assured, memory lapses are a normal part of aging. I have several ‘senior moments’ a day, everyone loses track occasionally. As we age, our minds and memories work differently than they used to.
Before all this modern technology, we had to rely on our minds and memories to recall phone numbers, facts, recipes and addresses. Today, many individuals just rely on google or what is programmed into their smartphones. For that matter, I don’t even know my husband’s cell phone number or mine. Our brain is just like any organ; we must use it or lose it. When learning new things or information, we activate the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex used in-memory collection. It is important to engage your brain to keep it healthier longer.
Getting exercise is key to keeping your brain sharp; blood is filled with oxygen and nutrients which feed our brain. Walking, running, swimming or biking for 30 minutes helps enlarge the hippocampus, which is regarded as the “memory centre of the brain”. Just as important as physical exercise are mentally stimulating activities to help keep your brain in shape. Completing crosswords, playing bridge and learning to play a new instrument are good examples of these type of activities.
Nutrition has an impact on your day-to-day memory as well, and allows you to focus, helping to retain information. Eating properly is key. Try munching on healthy snacks, such as berries, a great source of a substance called anthocyanins, which are considered brain-boosting antioxidants. Dried fruits, nuts or protein bars are also recommended to help combat the onset of short-term memory loss. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy brain functioning, including salmon, tuna, or you may substitute with soya oil and flaxseed oil. Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene which acts against brain cell degeneration and aids in the maintenance and production of new brain cells.
In addition, drinking at least eight glasses of water daily is very beneficial, since dehydration can lead to memory loss and confusion.
Cardiovascular disease and high blood sugar levels may increase a risk for cognitive decline also. It is recommended to use natural sweeteners like honey, or maple syrup instead of refined sugar.
Vitamin B, and C, are found in citrus fruits and are associated with mental agility, but vitamin B is also known to guard against age-related brain shrinkage and cognitive impairment.
To optimize your brain power, superfoods, such as green leafy vegetables, and whole grains help protect the brain from harmful free radicals.
Another important factor in helping memory, is getting enough sleep. Sleep and naps, are key time for the brain to solidify connections between the neurons, enabling us to remember more. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily. If you are having trouble sleeping, try a warm cup of milk before heading to bed. If you are lactose intolerant, goat milk works much better for some.
Remember to challenge your brain, do things out of the ordinary and stay engaged, because mentally stimulating activities help keep your brain in shape.