Do You Suffer From an Aging Memory?
First, the good news. Chances are in your favor that you keep your wits well enough as you get older. The bad news is you will likely witness some decline in your mental sharpness and some degree of aging memory. But, more good news – there are plenty of steps you can take now to minimize the cognitive decline associated with aging and preserve brain function.
Brain Metabolism and Causes of an Aging Memory
The brain represents about 2% of our body weight yet uses around 20% to 25% of the oxygen we consume and glucose we burn for energy. Accelerated brain aging and aging memory can be explained by chronic silent inflammation. Much of this inflammation is a result of poor nutrition that leads to excessive elevations in blood sugar and insulin. Being overweight is linked to poor memory. Smoking also causes inflammation and introduces other toxins into the brain that cause it harm. Nutritional deficiencies like vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to an aging memory.
Head trauma – even one minor concussion can lead to long-term brain dysfunction. This is an area of intense research in the field of sports medicine. So don’t use your head as a battering ram. Inactivity – both physical and mental – can contribute to an aging memory.
Preventing an Aging Memory
Eat well. That means getting adequate proteins and fats, yes fats. Fats make up about 60% of the brain. Too little cholesterol can lead to brain impairment, too. Eat low-glycemic carbs. These include nearly all vegetables and most fruits. These foods also contain anti-oxidants and other healthy phytochemicals that protect brain function.
Stay active. Physical and mental activity are essential to protect against an aging memory. Physical exercise will improve blood flow and the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Mental activity keeps the brain supple and plastic. Learning new skills stimulates new neural connections.
Avoid brain toxins. This includes smoking and excess alcohol consumption. Avoid other recreational drugs which can deplete neurotransmitter production.
Maintain optimal sex hormone levels. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are linked to lower sex hormone levels. Numerous receptors for these hormones are present in the brain. Sex hormones decline with aging and contribute to aging memory.
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