Everyone can suffer from an occasional memory lapse. It is not only reserved for the elderly although memory loss is more common in older people than the younger generation. If you want to improve or retain cognitive function, there are simple ways that you can do to keep your memory and brain active and healthy.
It cannot be stressed enough that a well-balanced diet is key to good health. If you have the proper nutrition, you are in a good physical and mental condition. Make sure that you keep your calorie intake at healthy levels, consume less foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Studies show that a diet high in saturated fat puts you at high risk for chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
Consume Super Foods and Supplements
There is no magic formula to keep our brain powers intact, but some foods have demonstrated that they can improve cognitive functioning. For example, walnuts are good sources of alpha linolenic acid (ALA) for improved blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain. Berries are great antioxidants and a recent study shows that a diet rich in these fruits slows down mental decline (Devore et al, 2012). You can also take supplements to boost brain power (pterostilbene, B12, B6, C or magnesium), concentration and memory.
Exercise Physically and Mentally
Physical movement is not only important to keep you fit, it also helps in keeping the brain healthy. If you take regular exercise, this can help you maintain good weight, lower blood pressure, reduce the chances of heart disease and even prevent depression. In fact, a University of British Columbia study suggests that doing aerobic exercises can increase the size of the hippocampus which is the part of the brain where memory and learning take place. Mental exercises such as doing puzzles, games or math problems can also stimulate your brain. You can even challenge yourself and continue learning by studying something new whether taking up a new hobby or learning a language/skill.
Keep Away from Tobacco and Control Alcohol Intake
If you are a smoker, do your best to give it up. Tobacco smoking may cause a stroke which can, in turn, lead to brain damage. There are several support groups and smoke-cessation aids that can help you overcome tobacco addiction. You should also watch your alcohol consumption as excessive drinking has been identified as a risk factor for alcoholic dementia and brain damage.
By following good health habits, you can keep your brain active and sharp and in the process, prevent early cognitive decline. Without memory problems or loss to hamper day-to-day activities, your quality of life is maintained or improved.