Don’t you just hate walking into a room with a definite purpose in mind only to realize you forget why you are there? Me too, and the older I get the more it seems to happen. University of Illinois psychology research associate, Kirk Erickson, explains that this type of memory loss is age related and usually happens when we reach our 50’s and is common for people over 65. There are various theories to explain it such as a decrease in blood flow to the brain or brain cell loss, but whatever the cause it can be annoying at best and a sign of worse to come at worst. Things we forget such as what were you walking into a room to get or where we put the car keys are pretty normal and not cause for great alarm. However, if forgetfulness turns to not being able to recall a family member’s name or what the keys are for, there may be a bigger problem. The good news for common age related memory loss is that there are things we can do to improve it no matter how old we are.
Regular exercise is one way to stay mentally sharp. It helps prevent conditions that can lead to memory loss like stroke, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol. According to R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD, director of the Memory Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical Center, staying physically active and exercising is one of the best things you can do to preserve memory and mental function as you get older. Exercise can increase neurotrophins which nourish brain cells and give them protection and releases BDNF, a protein that helps keeps nerve cells in the brain healthy. One study at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine reported finding participants that got their exercise from walking or stayed active through hobbies such as gardening were at a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those that weren’t active. Aerobic exercise is good for getting more blood flowing to the brain and stimulates new neurons to develop. This doesn’t mean you have to join an aerobics class at age 80, unless you want to, but does mean to look for ways to work physical activity into your day. This might mean going for walks, avoiding elevators to take the stairs, swimming, or taking up a sport such as tennis or golf. The main thing with exercise to help mental function is to be regular with it. Even just taking a half hour walk each day can go a long way to improving brain health.
What you eat can also play a role in loss of memory due to age. The best diet to keep a healthy brain is the same as a good diet for a healthy body. This would include a diet with lots of veggies, fruits, healthy fats and whole grains. Foods with saturated and trans fats should be avoided as they can be artery clogging and affect cholesterol levels which affect brain function and can lead to stroke. Fruits and veggies also give you antioxidants which are important in protecting body cells and the damage free radicals can do to them that only increase as we age. There is research showing damage from free radicals appears in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s and therefore may play a role in memory loss due to age. Whereas antioxidants don’t seem to be a valid treatment for Alzheimer’s there have been studies showing they can help with some types of dementia and memory loss due to age. One study on people eating this type of diet reported they had a 20% reduced rate of developing thinking and memory problems.
Omega-3 fatty acid is one of the best foods for the brain. Good food sources for omega-3 include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, herring and mackerel as well as flaxseed, chia seeds, avocados, olive oil, walnuts and bluegreen algae. The type of bluegreen alage that is the heart of the algae with the cell wall removed is especially useful for enhancing activity in the brain. Since the brain is the most nutrient-demanding organ in the body, bluegreen algae provides whole food nutrition to help feed it. The 20 amino acids found in bluegreen algae feed and enhance brain activity. Bluegreen algae also provides essential omega-3 fatty acids, helps maintain normal, healthy blood chemistry of the blood that feeds the brain and has PEA (phenylethylamine) which act as a natural mental energy activator and helps biomoduate emotions and mood swings. PEA is a vital part of your brain function and not getting enough PEA can make it difficult to learn new things, make quick decisions, and form new memories. Another benefit of taking bluegreen algae is phycocyanin, the blue pigment in blue green algae as it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Gingko Biloba has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries in enhancing memory and works as an antioxidant and in promoting increased memory and mental concentration by increasing circulation and providing increased oxygenation of brain cells. Lion’s Mane mushrooms have been called “nature’s nutrient for the neurons” because of an agent found in the mushroom called nerve growth factor (NGF) that has been found to have benefits for age related memory function and mental clarity. You can get the benefits of Gingko Biloba, Lion’s Mane mushrooms and bluegreen algae together along with bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni in this algae based supplement which is also certified vegetarian, dairy free, and GMO free..
Stay Engaged and Use Tricks of the Trade
Experts also find that staying engaged socially and with learning has a positive effect on maintaining memory and concentration. This could mean engaging in formal education type classes or just staying informed on current events, taking up new hobbies, or playing games that stimulate the mind. There are also memory tricks you can learn to use to help in remembering. For example, if you know you have trouble remembering names, link a new name with someone else you know that has that name, or make a connection in your mind between the name and an image that goes with it. If you meet someone named Harry, picture Harry in a big hairy gorilla suit or just covered with hair all over. The more vivid the image you create, the more likely you are to be able to recall it later. Making lists and writing things down, visualizing putting an item in a particular place as you put it there, repeating information to yourself several times out loud, always storing important items in the same particular place, and setting alarms as reminders are all other strategies to employ in remembering events, tasks, people and where things are.
We all depend so much on our memories and remembering all the things we need to do or want to do each day. Starting to forget things is not only annoying, but also affects us emotionally. At some point we all have to face that our memories just aren’t as good as they used to be, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fight the good fight. Try out some of these lifestyle changes and help keep your memory, concentration and mental function stay as sharp as they can for as long as they can.
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Edible Microalgae, Jeffrey Bruno