August 25, 2022
Our body decays with age, and so does our brain. Under modern medicine’s watch, human life expectancy has significantly increased. But quality of life in the later years of life continues to be lower, and one of the biggest reasons for that is memory-related problems like memory loss in old age.
Degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia are increasingly common features of old age, and they can make your life a living hell as every little bit of your memory storage slowly and inevitably slips out of your control.
How great would it be if there were some way to protect your brain from such crippling levels of degeneration?
Total prevention of memory degeneration is still not possible. But there are ways you can actually protect your brain for longer and to a much greater extent, just by introducing a few lifestyle changes.
Daily exercise has time and again been linked to a healthier brain, and it has the most evidence in terms of preventing memory loss in old age. Particularly, cardio-vascular exercises like walking, jogging, cycling, etc. are considered to be the most beneficial for your brain.
The link between memory preservation and exercise is not crystal-clear still, but it is generally thought to be due to an increased level of blood circulation. Exercise increases blood flow throughout your body, including your brain, which helps in both the preservation of old brain cells and the generation of new ones.
A daily 30 minute walk at least five days a week is recommended.
Eating a healthy diet is always good, but it can have a particularly profound effect on brain health. Trans-fatty food, sugar, processed food, etc. contribute to faster degeneration of brain cells. On the other hand, a diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, lean meat and fish, whole grains, etc. can boost your brain health.
Some experts prescribe the Mediterranean diet to be particularly beneficial in terms of preventing brain decay. Include more leafy greens, lentils, and fruits in your diet and switch to olive oil for daily fat consumption. For your protein needs, eat more fish and cut back on red meat.
Physical activity keeps your body fit, and mental activity keeps your brain up to shape. Mental agility and regular application of the brain have been correlated with better memory in old age. Keep challenging your brain to do new things and hard tasks.
Crosswords puzzles, Sudoku, brain teasers, etc. are good ways of keeping your brain flexible in a playful way. Learning new skills and reading on diverse topics are also great ways of keeping your brain busy and agile.
Loneliness and stress are at the root of many of our modern day problems, including memory diseases. Isolation and chronic stress can lead to Clinical Depression, one of the biggest causes of Dementia onset. Forming and maintaining social bonds can help us prevent that.
Social interactions, bonding with loved ones, even just chatting with friends can help our mood significantly by releasing important mood hormones like Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Dopamine. It also creates a social safety net so that you feel less isolated, and provides more opportunities for engaging your mind in new ways. All of this is great for your brain health.
High blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol are all chronic problems that many of us suffer from. If left unchecked, over time they can lead to memory-degenerative diseases.
Keep your eyes open for symptoms, do regular check-ups, take proper medication and management measures under your doctor’s guidance, and lead a healthier lifestyle. Putting a check on these chronic problems can significantly delay or reduce the chances of Dementia onset.
Sleep is extremely important for your memory. A large part of memory consolidation takes place during deep sleep. On the other hand, sleep deprivation or restless sleep can lead to lower attention, causing memory loss in old age.
Over time, the negative effects of sleep deprivation can accrue to make your brain slower, heavier, and more prone to degeneration. So make sure to get enough good-quality sleep every day. Fixing a regular sleep schedule, avoiding alcohol and caffeine before bedtime, avoiding heavy meals just before bed – these are all simple changes you can introduce into your routine to improve the quality of your sleep.
Just as with growth, decay too is a part of life. Memory diseases can be debilitating when your body is already frail. But with a few changes today, you can ensure your tomorrow does not become unbearable. Why not make those changes now?