Have you ever lost something, like the car keys, and found them in the fridge?? Or in a business meeting have temporarily forgot your colleagues name? (with whom you have worked with for 3 years!!). Sometimes funny, but more likely - embarrassing!
Most people are absent minded at some point in their lives especially when multi -tasking or under a significant amount of stress.
Also as we get older, our memories may not perform as well, but by no means is this inevitable. There are many ways to support your brain function.
Here are 5 top tips to help keep your brain and memory healthy….
There are many studies showing the benefits of exercise on memory function. The hippocampus found in the brain, shrinks in late adulthood, leading to impaired memory.
A study carried out in 2011 showed that aerobic exercise training increases the size of the anterior hippocampus, leading to improvements in spatial memory.
The UK Government guidelines advise Adults (19-64 yrs) should aim to be active daily. Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more – one way to approach this is to do 30 minutes on at least 5 days a week. Finding something you enjoy with others makes exercise a joy and will ensure you’re likely to continue. Jogging, dancing, cycling are all easily accessible. Try your local ‘Whats On’ board to find out more.
If your workplace is messy or your house looks like a bomb site this may be contributing to your inability to concentrate or find anything. Decluttering your environment can be therapeutic, Marie Kondo is a Japanese author who advocates the benefits of tidying up and how it can spark joy. She has some useful techniques which may help you start the process. Keeping an efficient diary, calendars and routines will make recollection a lot easier and infinitely less stressful.
Eat Oily Fish & Berries
DHA is the most abundant omega 3 fat found in the brain. It is part of the omega 3 essential fatty acids family which contributes to the maintenance of brain function and is found in oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, tuna. Eating these types of this fish 2-3 times a week is a great insurance policy for the longevity of your memory. If you are vegetarian, vegan or don’t like the taste of fish there are many plant sources of omega 3, in the form of linoleic acid which is converted to DHA in the body - such as walnuts, flaxseed oil, chia seeds and hemp oil. Adding nuts and seeds to your salads or using flaxseed or hemp oil mixed with lemon juice to drizzle over steamed veg is a great and easy way to improve your Omega 3 intake.
As DHA is a polyunsaturated fat, it is susceptible to oxidation within the body as a result of normal metabolic processes. To ensure fats remain healthy it is essential to eat foods rich in anti-oxidants like Vitamins A, C and E. These three nutrients are known to protect the cells in the body from the stress of oxidation. Foods rich in anthocyanins and polyphenols eg berries and cherries are delicious to snack on or for breakfast - and both are full of Vitamin C. So why not start your day with a berry feast rich in antioxidants. Other foods rich in brain nutrients include: berries, cherries, oranges, kale and onions.
Learn something new
There are many actors, scientists, authors and academics, practising still into their 80’s and 90’s. One thing they have in common is they are constantly learning. Keeping your brain active has been shown to delay memory decline. One study suggests doing crossword puzzles delayed onset of memory decline by 2.54 years. Challenging your brain is hugely beneficial. If crosswords aren’t your thing try: a new hobby, play chess, learn a new language, learn a musical instrument, join a book club anything to get the greys cells stimulated.
Having an active social life, volunteering for a local charity or being part of something can help stave off loneliness and depression which can occur at any time of life, but is especially prevalent for those who live on their own and/or are elderly. By combining learning something new with socialising with friends is an amazing brain tonic. Some studies have shown a potential link between loneliness and late onset memory decline.