Ways to Prevent Memory Loss in Old Age
- BRAIN HEALTH
- Content Team
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One of the most dreaded side effects of aging is memory loss and forgetfulness. However, most researchers now believe that memory loss isn’t a regular side effect of aging and can actually be reversed or prevented if action is taken. Here are some things you should know about memory loss and how you can go about preventing it.
What Causes Memory Loss and Forgetfulness?
It was once believed that memory loss, forgetfulness, and cognitive declines were simply just a part of the aging process. Fortunately, as research has advanced in the field in recent years, the vast majority of researchers no longer believe that this is the case. When we think of memory loss, our minds immediately go to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and while this is a possibility, there are other reasons for memory loss. Here are some of those causes:
- Lack of sleep - During sleep, our brain is hard at work processing memories. Without that sleep, you will have a difficult time remembering small details. Little sleep can also lead to mood changes and anxiety which also negatively affect memory.
- Medications - Tranquilizers, antidepressants, and other medications can impact our memory and cognitive function. Some of these medications include paroxetine, cimetidine, oxybutynin, and amitriptyline.
- Thyroid issues - An underactive thyroid can affect our memory and disturb our sleep, cause depression, and anxiety.
- Alcohol abuse - While drinking moderately can be healthy, drinking in excess can have a major negative impact on our memory and overall cognitive function. It’s best to stick to one drink per day, which is defined as 1.5 ounces.
If you are having memory issues, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor as quickly as possible. If your memory lapses are caused by something that is reversible, you may just need a simple lifestyle change. However, there may be underlying issues that need to be addressed by professionals.
What is the Number One Food That Fights Dementia?
While researchers still aren’t quite sure what exactly causes memory loss and if there’s any guaranteed way to fight it off, many do believe that a healthy diet can help. In fact, the Mediterranean diet is believed to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 35%. The key is to eat certain quantities of all of these foods as often as possible while limiting your intake of red meat, processed products, and baked goods. Here are some of the foods to reverse dementia:
- Raw leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and romaine
- Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts
- Unsalted nuts
- Whole grains
This isn’t to say that you can never enjoy a cheat meal. You can treat yourself every now and then, but it’s recommended that you greatly limit the amount of processed foods you consume. Instead of eating these foods every other day, try to limit your intake to once a week or even once per month.
Does Exercise Improve Memory and Concentration?
Regular exercise can have a major positive impact on our brain both by direct and indirect means. Directly, exercise reduces insulin resistance, inflammation, and stimulates the release of growth factors. Indirectly, exercise can improve our mood and sleep habits while also reducing stress and anxiety. But what are the exact exercises to improve memory that you need to practice?
Well, there is no definitive exercise that directly impacts your brain health and the ability to retain memories. Doctors recommend getting 120 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week (1). These exercises can be anything from walking the dog to playing basketball at the park with your friends. It’s important to not overextend yourself, however, as this can quickly wear down your body.
How to prevent memory loss in old age
It can be difficult to reduce memory loss, something we’ll go more in-depth on later in the article. The best defense against memory loss is to do everything you can to prevent it from taking place. While there are diseases and disorders that are out of our control, there are things we can do to avoid memory loss. Here are some lifestyle changes you can implement to prevent unwanted memory loss symptoms:
- Exercise - As mentioned earlier, 120 minutes of exercise is recommended per week. Other experts recommend 30-minutes of moderate exercise per day
- Keep your brain active - One of the best ways to keep your brain active is to learn a new instrument, learn a new language, write, solve a puzzle, or teach something
- Stay social - Remaining social, especially as you age, is a very important part of keeping your brain healthy
- Avoid cigarettes - Smoking will rapidly speed up your memory loss. It can also cause small strokes which will greatly reduce your cognitive function
- Get regular checks - It’s best to check with your doctor every now and then, even if you’re not experiencing any memory loss symptoms. Your doctor will be able to diagnose any underlying issues
You can also use memory tricks such as posting sticky notes around the home and office or set reminders on your phone so you'll know when it's time to take your medicine or head to an important meeting.
Can memory loss be reversed?
As of right now, there is no known cure for dementia. Treatment options simply hope to manage the symptom, making life easier to live for the dementia patient. However, recent research has led researchers to believe that it’s possible to reverse memory loss if dementia is caught soon enough. Here are some of the strategies researchers believe may help patients reverse dementia:
- Balance your blood sugar (2)
- Supplement wisely
- Detox from mercury
- Control stress levels
- Get eight hours of sleep per night
Even if you aren’t suffering from cognitive decline, you should take these steps because they can help you prevent the aging of your brain and help you achieve lifelong health.
What is the best supplement to improve memory?
Nootropics are natural supplements or drugs that have a beneficial effect on brain function in healthy people. Many of these can boost memory, motivation, creativity, alertness, and general cognitive function. Nootropics may also reduce age-related declines in brain function. Here are some of the best nootropic supplements:
- Fish oils
- Ginkgo biloba
Some of these supplements show real promise for improving and protecting brain health. However, note that many brain-boosting supplements are only effective for people who have a mental condition or are deficient in the supplemented nutrient.
Supplements Can Help
One substance that can help prevent cognitive dissonance, as well as other aging side-effects, is spermidine. This is because spermidine helps induce something called autophagy. This is the body’s process of replacing old and potentially damaged cell parts with newer, healthier ones, resulting in healthier cells. Autophagy literally means ‘self-eat.’
This process helps keep you feeling and looking young while also dramatically lowering your chances of developing aging diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. While it is possible to get your recommended daily intake of spermidine through your diet, it’s recommended to take supplements so you ensure you get the right dose. Simply taking your supplements with your dinner is a great way to remember to take spermidine supplements every night.