Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Healthy Aging: Ways to Boost Memory

Maintaining the mental faculties is of great concern to many people as they get older, so when we look at healthy aging are there ways to boost memory and stay mentally alert in our senior years? There are many natural solutions we can employ that will help us stay mentally sharp as we age. We all have lapses in memory from time to time, no matter what age we are, but just thinking about growing old and having more than the normal lapses is scary to most of us. Whereas occasionally being forgetful or confused may not be so bad, Alzheimer's and dementia are paths that no one wants to go down. Between those two extremes there is a vast area that any of us could fall in. Here are some healthy aging tips that can help boost memory and help us maintain brain health.

Feed Your Brain
One of the most important things we can each do to reduce our risk of memory loss is to support a healthy brain. Many things in our environment today, such as pollution and pesticides, increase our exposure to toxins. The blood brain barrier works to protect the brain from toxins and allow in the nutrients it needs. Oxygen, water and glucose are able to pass through the blood brain barrier, whereas other molecules can be accepted or rejected. 

The human brain requires oxygen and a high concentration of nutrients. The brain's main source of energy is glucose. It also needs protein however and proteins are not able to pass through the blood brain barrier until they break down into amino acids. Research has shown that poly unsaturated fatty acid and especially DHA are vital for brain development. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, important nutrients for a healthy brain, are also able to permeate the blood brain barrier. AFA bluegreen algae has the amino acids that are the building blocks of healthy nerve cells and neurotransmitters needed for the brain to function properly. It also provides a perfect balance of essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and helps maintain normal, healthy blood chemistry that feeds the brain.

According to Tiffany Hughes, PhD, research assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, eating a diet that is heart healthy is also a healthy brain diet. Your heart needs to be healthy in order to pump blood and oxygen to your brain. This type of diet would include lean protein sources, lots of veggies and fruits, whole grains, and only the healthy fats like monounsaturated fats. Fruits and veggies loaded with antioxidants are especially important for brain health to protect brain cells from damage.

Keep Moving
Part of healthy aging is to stay active. Keeping involved in activities such as hobbies, community projects or organizations, and social engagements all help keep us moving forward, keep our brains working and staying sharp. Research studies have shown that seniors that have less involvement with other people have greater risk of memory loss than those that have strong social networks. Keeping your brain and mental processes working goes a long way towards maintaining your healthy aging quality of life. Exercise your brain with mind puzzles, games that involve thinking strategies, learning new skills or whatever you enjoy that will give your brain a work-out.

Physical exercise is another important component. Aerobic exercise can keep the mind sharp and has also been shown to increase brain tissue. Exercise is also good for increasing blood flow to the brain and supports nerve cells that control memory in the brain. Your health care provider should be consulted before starting any type of exercise routine or program to make sure there are no limitations you should be observing, and then get moving. Whether you go for walks, join an exercise class, take up yoga or Tai Chi, or swim, find the type of body movement that you enjoy, is physically easy for you to do and that you will do regularly and keep your body moving.

Coping With Memory Loss
If you find yourself dealing with some occasional memory lapses, there are strategies you can put into place now that will help you into the future. Using index cards with key phrases as reminders during meetings or social functions, getting in the habit of writing notes to yourself as soon as you think of something you need to do or when making an appointment, using alarms as reminders, emailing yourself reminders, beginning a habit of not agreeing to anything until you are near your calendar and can check for conflicts and can write a reminder on the calendar, and starting to establish particular places for important items to be kept and making sure you ALWAYS put them back there are all ways of coping. Having coping techniques in place can help reduce the stress that comes with those times of forgetfulness. When we are under stress, our bodies produce stress hormones which can be detrimental to memory. If you find yourself dealing with chronic stress, find a release that works for you to relax and keep your stress under control.

Supplements to Support Memory
One supplement we find useful for healthy aging combines bluegreen algae, eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba, Lion's Mane, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni. The blue green algae is a good source of whole food nutrition, bee pollen is reported to have a high amino acid content useful for stimulating memory and concentration, wheatgrass juice has been found to provide nutrients that support brain health and clearer thinking, and Gingko biloba has been used for a long time to promote increased memory and mental concentration by increasing circulation and providing increased oxygenation of brain cells. With all these combined, you can see how this combination is perfect for the support of brain health in healthy aging.

Another supplement we find helpful uses the power of three mushrooms, Lion's Mane, agarikon, and cordyceps, along with standardized American ginseng (Cereboost®), resveratrol, and AFA bluegreen algae. Cereboost®, Standardized American Ginseng, has long been used in improving cognitive function, preventing fatigue and increasing energy. Resveratrol is a polyphenol with antioxidant properties found in the skin of red grapes, some berries like blueberries, some Chinese herbs, cocoa and peanuts and has been found helpful in increasing blood flow to the brain. Lion's Mane, a mushroom that has been called "nature's nutrient for the neurons" due to NGF (nerve growth factor) being found in it, has been found to have benefits for age related memory function and mental clarity. Agarikon, a rare polypore or tree-based conk mushroom commonly found in the old growth forests of Oregon and Washington, has also shown benefits with age related memory function. Cordyceps mushrooms are rich in proteins, plant sterols, polysaccharides, antioxidants, and nucleoside derivatives for a variety of benefits for brain health.

Instead of sitting around dreading old age, get proactive now and start using some of these healthy aging tips to boost memory and pave the way to have an active and enjoyable time in your retirement years.


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Image courtesy of federico stevanin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Source:
http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/7-brain-boosters-to-prevent-memory-loss

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