Everyone forgets things now and then, but memory loss is not to be taken lightly and many middle-aged adults are concerned about developing memory loss later in life.
Memory lapses can occur at any age, but we tend to be more affected by them as we get older because we fear they may be a sign of dementia or loss of intellectual function. The biggest fear though is Alzheimer’s disease. However, the fact is, when significant memory loss occurs among older people, it is not due to ageing but to organic disorders, brain injury, or neurological illness.
Studies have shown that you can help prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia by maintaining good general health habits. Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent memory loss, researchers are trying to find out more about how the brain works and how we can keep it healthy. “Memory is just a tiny part of brain functioning, and there’s a lot you can do to protect your brain health,” says Johns Hopkins neurologist Barry Gordon, M.D., PhD.
Here are a few simple steps you can start taking to help keep your brain sharp.
A higher level of education is associated with better mental functioning in old age. Experts think that advanced education may help keep our memories strong by getting us into the habit of being mentally active. Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them.
The more senses you use in learning something, the more of your brain will be involved in retaining the memory. Challenge all your senses as you venture into the unfamiliar.
Eating too much added sugar has been linked to many health issues and chronic diseases, including cognitive decline.
Research has shown that a sugar-laden diet can lead to poor memory and reduced brain volume, particularly in the area of the brain that stores short-term memory.
Maintaining a healthy body weight is essential for well-being and is one of the best ways to keep your body and mind in good condition.
Several studies have established obesity as a risk factor for cognitive decline. Interestingly, being obese can cause changes to memory-associated genes in the brain and negatively affect memory. Obesity can also lead to insulin resistance and inflammation, both of which can negatively impact the brain.
Exercise is vital for your overall physical and mental health.
Research has established that it’s beneficial for the brain and may even help improve memory in people of all ages, from children to older adults.
Studies have shown exercise may increase the secretion of neuroprotective proteins and improve the growth and development of neurons, leading to improved brain health. Regular exercise in midlife is also associated with a decreased risk of developing dementia later on.
Lack of proper sleep has been associated with poor memory for quite some time. Sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation, a process in which short-term memories are strengthened and transformed into long-lasting memories. Research shows that if you are sleep deprived, you could be negatively impacting your memory.
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