In the West today, it is a universal consensus that once we hit a certain age we will start struggling with remembering names, where we put our keys, why we walked into that room… for what? And a myriad of other unfortunate examples.
As one comedian described it, “First you forget names, then you forget faces, then you forget to pull your zipper up, then you forget to pull your zipper down.”
The good news? Science has clearly demonstrated that we can live well into old age with our memories intact, clear thinking without struggle. There are amazing examples of cultures around the world that do not have a lack of clear thinking or forgetfulness – these cultures are the world’s healthiest and the longest-lived.
6 Steps to maintain optimal memory health well into your older years:
- Eat a diet that focuses on whole foods. The less we humans mess with these foods, the fewer ingredients your dishes contain, the healthier the meal/foods. Heap your plate high with fresh veggies, legumes, fruits, seeds and nuts. Add more protein and reduce the excess carbohydrate intake. This is a diet that provides plenty of antioxidant protection, fiber and allows for clear arteries that allow for a free-flowing blood supply to the brain.
- Avoid Sugar. Sugar literally shrinks the brain and in particular the hippocampus – the area for learning and memory.
- Avoid trans fats. Trans fats shrink your brain just like sugar does. Trans fats such as fried food, fast food, vegetable shortening, and margarine, Packaged foods, like cookies, crackers, and potato chips can all be a toxic source. Trans fats are oils that have been infused with hydrogen to prolong their shelf life. If you see the word, “hydrogenated” on the package, put it back on the shelf.
- Consume B vitamins to keep the low-level inflammation away, while helping to create a focused, clear mind. Ensure you have an adequate intake of vitamin B-12, folic acid and vitamin B-6 or ideally, consume a B vitamin complex supplement.
- Make sure you consume plenty of omega 3 fatty acids, such as cold water fish (salmon, sardines tuna), flax oil, walnuts, pasture raised meat, omega-enriched eggs , wild rice and/or fish oil supplements. Omega 3 fats reduce all over inflammation and Omega-3 fatty acids help with brain development and cognitive skills.
- Exercise (including strength training) and its impact on overall cognitive function are substantial.
It is important that we now know, through the example of the longest-lived cultures and science, that by taking the above steps, we can live a long, healthy, vibrant life, strong and with our memory intact.
It’s well worth remembering…