Six Steps to Improve Your Middle Aged Memory
I bet everyone, no matter your age, has forgotten where they put something, or can’t remember someone’s name or birthday, but a new study in Nursing Times has those of us in midlife a little concerned.
This study claims that our brain power starts to decline in our 40’s instead of our 60’s as previously thought.
On a positive note, most scientists agree we don’t have to accept these midlife memory problems as inevitable.
“Many people, young or old, worry that mild forgetfulness must be a sign of dementia, but research shows that over 80% of people will never get Alzheimer’s,” states leading memory expert Dr Majid Fotuhi. He also states that “most memory loss is due to other factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, lack of exercise, certain medications, stress or poor diet.”
As you can see, many of these factors are caused by a person’s lifestyle, therefore a healthy midlife can help you fight those memory stealers. Let’s take a look at the top 6 memory busters and ways you can fight back.
A study found that eating fewer overall calories could help us remember more by boosting a type of protein in the brain vital to memory function. If you are overweight, start out by cutting calories by up to 25%. You can try skipping dessert, eliminating sugary sodas, having just one glass of wine, or even sharing meals. Make sure not to drop below 1300 calories a day without consulting your general practitioner.
#2 Cutting the Carbs
These days, high protein, low-carb diets are getting all the attention, however eliminating bread, rice and potatoes can increase forgetfulness and leave you light headed.
Bridget Benelam, nutritional scientist from the British Nutrition Foundation explains: “Your brain basically runs on carbs, so if you avoid them you’re depriving this vital organ of its main fuel.”
Therefore, include good carbs in your diet like whole grains which consist of brown rice, oats, corn, quinoa, and risotto. These grains provide a steady supply of glucose throughout the day.
#3 Not Enough Chicken (Really?)
You know the cows that hold up signs that way “eat more chicken”? They may be on to something.
Believe it or not, there is a nutrient in chicken called choline, which in a recent study by Boston University revealed helps keep the brain on top form.
Research showed that people who got good amounts of choline (also in eggs, fish and beans) in their diets had better results on memory tests and were less likely to show brain changes associated with memory loss.
#4 Stressful Situations
Midlife brings with it many high stress situations such as teenagers, career challenges, retirement concerns and aging parents, even the little things like deadlines and traffic jams have been found to prompt the release of large amounts of the stress hormones cortisol and corticotrophin.
These hormones are enemies of good recall, as they tend to prevent communication between our memory forming brain cells.
One good stress relieving exercise is to walk away from the situation for a few minutes, go to a quiet place and close your eyes and breathe slowly to maintain calm and reduce your heart rate. Then once you’ve cleared your head, go back to handle the situation.
#5 Untreated High Blood Pressure
Untreated high blood pressure can cause problems with memory due to the narrowing of the arteries, reducing blood flow to the brain and triggering periods of forgetfulness. The higher your blood pressure the greater the loss of memory.
If you are over 40 or have a family history of high blood pressure, find out your numbers. Losing weight and regular exercise can help control BP, but in some cases medication may be necessary.
Note: many medications used to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma and arthritis can have negative effects on your memory. If you think your memory difficulties coincided with starting a particular medication, ask your doctor to try an alternative.
#6 Lack of Exercise
“Lack of exercise can speed up the rate of age-related memory-problems,” says Elia Siaperas, celebrity personal trainer at The Laboratory Spa & Health Club (www.labspa.co.uk). “The brain shrinks naturally as we get older, resulting in fewer brain cells and poorer memory, but as little as three 40-minute workouts a week could reverse this shrinkage in the over-50 crowd and even encourage the brain to grow.”
Start by taking a brisk 15 minute walk. Studies have shown that a short stroll provides a rush of blood to the brain and increases recall.
Forget what you just read? Maybe it’s time to cut calories, eat good carbs and chicken, learn how to better deal with stress and lower your blood pressure and last but certainly not least, get moving. Now, you can remember that!