How's Your Memory?
A great myth in the world of health is that memory and concentration diminish with age. Not true! If you are concerned about the deterioration of your mind and memory – try my 5-Step Optimum Brain Health Plan.
Step 1: What’s the cause?
There are numerous underlying causes of age-related metal deterioration the most common being: poor nutrition, digestive and detoxification problems, stress, toxic accumulation in the brain, inflammation and circulatory problems. Each can cause memory problems by interfering with information flow in the brain and nervous system. I would advise you to see your GP or nutritionist if you have concerns.
Step 2: Nourish
The health of your brain and the nerve cells it comprises depend upon a constant and balanced flow of high quality nutrients. Look at the following guidelines to see if you can improve your current diet:
To help stabilise blood sugar levels eat three main meals and two snacks every day, with a protein source (e.g. nuts, fish, egg, beans, and meat) in each.
Eat four or more daily servings of wholegrains (e.g. rice, millet, rye, bread, pasta and corn or quinoa). Eat at least five portions fruit and vegetables a day.
Drink at least 8 small glasses of water a day. Limit your coffee intake to one cup a day and tea to two. Consider switching to antioxidant-rich green tea, herbal teas or dandelion coffee.
Eat up to seven free-range or organic eggs a week – raw, poached or boiled is best. Limit fish intake to three times a week – the best being salmon, mackerel, haddock, cod.
Cook with natural cold-pressed oils such as extra virgin olive and coconut oil
Limit your intake of commercial salts, ketchup, fried/deep-fried food, artificial preservatives, colourings and sweeteners, fizzy drinks, margarine… (The list is endless!)
Step 3: Oxygenate
Supplying your brain with adequate amounts of unpolluted oxygen is simple yet neglected advice. Here’s what to do:
Firstly, if you smoke – try to quit!
Exercise at least five times a week – it improves memory, mood and well-being and reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease.
If you are a shallow breather, spend 5 minutes twice daily breathing in and out of your stomach area. When you breathe in allow your stomach to balloon out – it’s also a great relaxation exercise as well!
Step 4: Stimulate
Think of the brain as a muscle – the less you use it, the less efficient it becomes. Studies show that everyday intellectual stimulation can not only prevent mental deterioration but actually improve cognitive function.
Buy yourself a copy of the book Mind Gym – its got some great ideas for stimulating and training the mind.
It’s never too late to learn new skills and start new courses – there are some fascinating ones out there! Do the newspaper crosswords or take up a hobby – anything that is mentally challenging!
Step 5: Supplement
Everyone needs to take a high quality, high potency multivitamin and mineral – these help ensure your body and brain have the necessary nutrients to work optimally. You should also consider the following:
Ginkgo Biloba: is thought to improve blood flow to the brain by dilating blood vessels and thinning the blood. Medical research shows that Ginkgo may not only prevent age-related memory loss, but also improve short-term memory and some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. (If you take aspirin or warfarin, please consult your GP before taking it.)
Ginseng: has been shown to improve memory and mental well-being. Ginsenosides found in Ginseng are known to affect biochemical processes within the brain and protect against the adverse effects of stress.
Phosphatidylserine (my memory supplement of choice!):is essential for brain health and in trials has reduced memory loss and improved mood and brain power. Recent research suggests that it increases the output of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that is essential to memory.
Omega 3’s: can have a considerable effect on memory, mood, learning and behaviour. Omega 3 essential fatty acids (i.e. EPA and DHA) are important constituents of cell membranes and help information flow around the brain.
Lecithin: may support brain and memory function through the synthesis of neuro-transmitters.