As our loved ones age, there are strategies they can implement to nurture a stronger memory. Lifestyle and daily habits have a huge impact on brain health and cognitive well-being as well as memory. A lack of sleep, poor diet, stress, lack of exercise can all hinder the functioning of a healthy brain.
Nutrition & Diet
The foods your loved one eats can play a crucial role in memory health. An ideal diet includes mostly fresh, non-processed foods low in trans fats and sugar and high in healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids and fish oils. Extra-virgin olive oils, coconut oil, antioxidants and fresh veggies can help fuel memory power. The Mediterranean diet is linked to helping prevent cognitive decline and improves memory. A Ketogenic diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats has also been proven to improve memory and preserve brain function.
Some food items in particular have been identified as memory boosters. Walnuts and blueberries have been proven to increase brain memory, function and concentration. Lutein is found in kale, avocados, spinach and eggs and counters cognitive aging and memory loss. Broccoli, celery and cauliflower contain antioxidants that protect brain health and may actually stimulate production of new brain cells.
If you want your loved one’s memory to stay strong, you will need them to stay active and keep their body fit. Exercise increases oxygen levels to the brain and could trigger helpful brain chemicals. It also decreases stress and promotes great sleep.
Exercise improves blood flow to the brain and facilitates the neuroplasticity of certain structures in the brain which enhance cognitive function. A great workout encourages your brain to work at optimum capacity by stimulating nerve cells to multiply and strengthens their interconnections while protecting them from damage.
Sleep has long been identified by scientists as the state in which the body optimizes and consolidates newly acquired information and stores it as memory. It is said that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night to maintain physical and mental health. A good night’s sleep is one of the simplest and easiest ways we can do to improve information retention and memory power. One single night of sleeping only four to six hours could impact your ability to think clearly the next day. Two to three consecutive nights of interrupted sleep and your brain is mush!
In the same way that muscles get stronger with use, memory and cognitive skills do as well. If we do not stimulate and challenge our brains with new information, this vital organ will eventually deteriorate. Research on brain plasticity shows that neurons are stimulated by events and information so by providing your brain with the appropriate stimulus you can counter degeneration and loss of memory. Entire websites are devoted to senior brain games. Your loved one can also read newspapers and books, do a crossword puzzle every day or play bridge.
Do you have a question about improving your loved one’s memory? Click here to contact Colonial Home Care Services today!