What am I doing here and why did I come...
Posted on 9th August 2023 at 07:34
Traditionally thought of as an older person’s problem – and the butt of many less than sympathetic jokes / jibes (!) – poor memory seems to be affecting more and more people. And at a younger age too.
As always, there are many theories about this, not to mention well hyped solutions, although none seem to deliver the promised for results. And, “yes” we have our own theories too (!).
While a solution to any issue is always welcome, as Clients and regular readers of this blog will know, our emphasis is always on preventing the issue from arising in the first place. In other words, our preference is always for prevention, rather than cure. However, if an issue does rear its head, then we always try to give Clients suggestions of things that can be done at home to help AND easily form part of the daily routine.
So, this week, here are some very simple things you can do at home to help, whether proactively or reactively:
There are no prizes for guessing what comes top of the list. Diet. Research consistently shows that the foods we eat – and, just as important, don’t eat – play a crucial part in memory AND overall health. And, by now, you should know what that means but we’ll say it anyway. A wholefood diet based around fruits, vegetables, salad, beans and nuts as well as healthy protein from seafood, grass fed meats, dairy and eggs.
Processed foods, sugar and unhealthy fats, particularly vegetable oils, all hit overall health AND memory. Not only do they affect the function of nerve cells, but cause inflammation leading to degenerative brain diseases and memory loss. Put another way, high carb diets – those high in sugar, wheat and processed foods – have repeatedly been found to dramatically increase the risk of Dementia. If you need a quick reminder about a few simple warning signs that whatever food you’re looking at may not be the best thing for you – or your body – click here.
By contrast, increasing Omega 3 fats, has been found to be protective as well as reducing inflammation caused by an excess of Omega 6 fats. For a reminder about oils and why vegetable oils are causing more problems than they solve, click here.
And don’t forget that diet includes hydration too. In other words, water – and “no” tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and alcohol don’t count! Over and over again, dehydration has been shown to hit Brain activity leading to poor concentration and confusion. To find out more click here.
Next comes regular exercise. Not only does it increase blood flow and the supply of oxygen to the cells, it also plays an important role in clearing toxins from the body. Less obvious is that exercise stimulates the release of chemicals – Neurotrophic Factors – which promote brain health and improve cognitive functions.
Exercise also encourages the Brain to work more efficiently, stimulating nerve cells to multiply as well as strengthening existing interconnections. Added to this, the improved blood flow from regular exercise also helps us learn new skills, with those taking regular exercise doing so much more quickly than those who did not.
Simply being more active during the day and not sitting for long periods of time makes a huge difference, alongside more traditional forms of exercise such as regular walking, swimming or gardening. For a quick reminder why exercise doesn’t need to be a chore or complicated, click here.
And, as an aside, while researching this post we came across the intriguing suggestion that walking backwards for a few steps on a regular basis can help to improve Brain function and memory. Although, having said that, this is probably not suitable for many people – or on their own!
Which neatly brings us on to good quality sleep. We all know what it feels like to have a good night’s sleep – and what it feels like to not do so. While the occasional poor night’s sleep is easily remedied, poor sleep is an ongoing issue for many people. It’s not just about the relaxation / recharging aspect of sleep but goes much further than this. Again, it’s a topic we’ve looked at before and can be found here.
Now here’s one that goes against the grain for many “busy, busy, busy” people. And, if you need a reminder why this isn’t the best strategy for getting things done, click here. Stop multi tasking. Why?
Well for the simple reason that it splits your focus, so makes you more likely to make errors and, ultimately, slows you down. It also makes you more forgetful as your attention is scattered. While it may seem counter intuitive, focussing on one thing at a time is much more productive, as well as improving working memory capacity.
Learn a new skill. Not only does it stimulate the Brain, but the single focus reduces stress and gives a goal to aim for. And it doesn’t matter how “good” or not you are – or the end result (!) – it’s the doing something single mindedly and new that’s important. Nor does it matter what it is, so long as it holds your attention and is enjoyable to do. The end result is improved brain function, concentration and memory, all of which enhance health and wellbeing.
Similarly, word and other brain games also help stimulate the Brain. Not only challenging the Brain, but by learning new information and skills. Even 20 minutes a day on a Brain game of your choice can make a huge difference. However, as with the previous suggestion, the key is that it’s something you enjoy doing. If not, look at other games or new skills instead.
Finally – and “yes” we appreciate it can be a slightly more contentious suggestion – if you’re on conventional medication have it regularly reviewed AND read the data sheet for side effects if you haven’t already done so. They may surprise you. And here we’re particularly thinking of the ongoing war against cholesterol. If you want a quick reminder why this may be causing more problems than it solves click here.
In addition to these – and not instead of (!) – supplements can help. Vitamin D, particularly as many people spend very little time outside in natural daylight, is closely linked with Brain function and activity.
Coming from a slightly different angle, it’s becoming increasingly clear that gut health and Brain activity are linked – and that’s aside from the traditional view of digestion as providing the necessary nutrients for good health. An imbalance in the gut has been linked to abnormal Brain development and function, so making a good quality Probiotic very useful in this respect.
So now it’s over to you!
These are all simple things you can easily make part of your daily routine AND, even better, will also help improve your overall health and wellbeing.
As always, the choice is yours.
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