Everyone is familiar with people who suffer from memory loss, whether our own or that of a family member.
The reasons for memory loss are many, but may include depression, emotional stress or disease, In this article we will be discussing the most prevalent cause of loss of memory, that being aging.
Commencing in our early twenties, we can expect to lose about one percent of the nerve cells in our brain every year. As an example a typical 75 year old could expect to operate with as little as about 50% of the memory function of his youth.
Luckily there are many things one can do to reduce the rate of memory loss as the years pass. We will focus on just a few of the most crucial ones. For our discussion, we shall assume that no neuropsychological issues exist and that we are dealing with a relatively healthy person, whose memory problems are due exclusively to the aging process.
Our memory may be greatly influenced by both our diet and our general lifestyle, and consequently certain revisions to either of these can prove quite effective. These include lessening our alcohol consumption, avoiding cigarettes, and adding to our diet foods rich in fiber, vitamins and especially antioxidants (including vegetables and fruits), as these can contribute to the functioning of the brain.
Other possibly beneficial dietary adjustments are eating less red meats and substituting instead fish heavy in Omega-3 fatty acids, and staying away from foods treated with chemicals such as preservatives like MSG. Also changing your life so as to reduce your general stress levels can slow the rate of memory loss. Of course, participating in an exercise program or a daily yoga program can substantially reduce stress.
A commonly forgotten area is nutritional and herbal supplements. A lot of us include in our daily diet a supplement intended to improve the health of our liver, heart, etc. – but completely ignore the excellent supplements that can improve our brain’s functioning. Let us briefly touch on a few of them. Vinpocetine and Ginkgo biloba dilate our blood vessels thereby allowing more oxygen to reach the brain. Two vitamins that are useful are Vitamin B and thiamine, being antioxidants that can help protect brain cells from free-radical damage. Other supplements that are helpful in reducing memory loss as we age are acetylcarnitine and phosphatidylserine, each having been employed with Alzheimer’s patients with some success. In addition, Korean ginseng and bacopa have been the subject of studies showing their usage can have significant positive effects on the brain’s functioning, and in particular one’s memory.
A number of mental activities have proven quite useful in shoring up our brain’s abilities, including our memories. Clearly an active brain is more likely to fight off the ravages of age. Engaging in a new mental activity, including learning to play a new instrument, studying a foreign language and taking flying lessons, are just a few examples. Making a conscious effort to remember particular things, like a person’s name or a phone number, may seem facile but when done regularly often helps to keep the brain active and sharp. In addition there are a number of memory techniques available that can assist with particular things you may wish to be able to easily recall later, such as repetition, mnemonics (these are mental games designed to aid in memorization, such as the invented name Roy G. Biv where each letter is the first letter of one of the primary colors) and simply writing the words you wish to be able to recall on paper and repeating them orally a few times.
Clearly if one makes the decision to lead an active mental and physical life, is thoughtful in selecting the foods one eats, adds the necessary herbal and nutritional supplements to the daily regiment, and foresakes habits like cigarettes and alcohol, the rate at which our brains lose their ability to remember things can be substantially reduced.
Colin Albert manages the Clearer Thinking website. The website provides advice on how to improve memory, reducing stress and how to increase concentration by using a product known as ThinkStraight [http://www.clearer-thinking.com] which is an all-natural supplement intended to maximize the overall health of the brain.