We have all had those moments when we cannot seem to remember where we put our keys or had a hard time recalling the names of people we know.
But according to a troubling new study, our brain power starts to decline as soon as we reach our 40s and not in our 60s as previously thought.
Fortunately, most scientists agree that we do not have to accept these age-related problems as unavoidable. According to memory expert Dr. Majid Fotuhi, a lot of people, young and old, are worried that their mild forgetfulness must be an early sign of dementia, but research has shown that over 80% of people will never get Alzheimer’s.
Below are some factors that contribute to memory loss and the things you can do to counter it.
Hard to believe, but a new study proposes that your post-holiday diet could benefit not only your waistline but your grey matter as well. The Italian research has found that consuming fewer calories boosts a type of protein that is vital to memory function. Dr. Giovambattista Pani, the lead researcher, states that cutting 25-30% of daily calorie intake is enough to make a difference.
The memory fix: Desert the desserts. Cutting calories by 25% can be as easy as saying no to that slice of cake after dinner. If you are planning to drop below 1,300 calories per day, make sure you talk to your doctor first.
4) Cut out carbs.
Although high-protein, low-carb diets are all the rage right now, cutting off foods like potatoes, rice and bread can leave you forgetful and fuzzy-headed, a UK study suggests.
Nutrition scientist Bridget Benelam of the British Nutrition Foundation explains that since your brain basically runs on it, avoiding carbs means you’re depriving it of its main fuel.
The memory fix: Include fiber-rich carbs like wholemeal bread, brown rice or jacket potatoes in your diet to ensure a steady supply of glucose throughout the day.
3) Too little chicken.
Choline, a nutrient found in chicken, has been found to help keep the brain in top shape, a recent study says. According to researchers, people who consume plenty of choline-rich foods like eggs, beans and fish performed better on memory tests and were less likely to exhibit brain changes that are linked to dementia.
The memory fix: For a choline-rich, healthy meal, tuck slices of hard-boiled egg into grilled chicken Caesar salad.
2) Binge drinking.
Aside from killing brain cells, latest research have shown that booze may also cripple our ability to retain long-term memories.
A study done at Spain’s Santiago de Compostela University has found that binge drinking hinders the hippocampus, that part of the brain that plays a major role in memory function. Additionally, the study found that students who regularly consume four or more drinks during a night out were not as adept in learning new information on tests as those who abstained.
The memory fix: If you have to drink, stick to a maximum of 14 alcohol units per week and spread them out by consuming not more than two units per day. The equivalent of one alcohol unit is one 125ml glass of wine.
1) Stressful situations.
Stressful situations like relationship fights, traffic jams and deadlines have been found to cause the body to release massive amounts of the stress hormones cortisol and corticotropin, which are enemies of good recall, as they hinder the communication between memory-forming brain cells.
A research done at the University of California has found that dealing with high-pressure situations damages people’s ability to recall events afterwards.
The memory fix: Keep your cool in a crisis. If you are in a stressful situation, try walking away from it and go sit or lie down in a quiet place and take deep, slow breaths for five minutes. The goal is to reduce your heart rate and give your mind and body a breather.