Cure Memory Loss

Jun 14, 2012 by

Cure Memory LossAll of us tend to forget things along the way as we get older, prompting some people to look for ways to cure memory loss. You might be wondering if it’s possible to cure something that’s a natural part of getting older; isn’t memory loss an unavoidable part of life? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer is yes and no: you can’t cure memory loss in the sense of finding a way to never forget anything again; in fact, selective forgetting is part of how our brains organize information and make sense of the world. However, there are good habits and practices you can develop to improve your ability to remember the things that matter and delay age-related declines in memory.

If you’re interested in curing your memory loss, first you have to zero in on the likely causes of your memory loss. A poor memory can be the result of chronic stress (emotional or physical), psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety, inadequate sleep, poor nutrition, and even hormonal imbalances. Women sometimes experience marked memory loss after giving birth or during menopause due to changes in their estrogen levels, a hormone that helps regulate memory. Furthermore, drugs to control cholesterol, such as statins, can cause mild memory loss as a side effect. Our memory depends on a brain that is in good working condition: ensuring that you’re the healthiest you can be by eating a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep and regular exercise is one of the quickest ways to cure memory loss. Many vitamins and minerals in the diet, especially the antioxidants found in dark greens and fruits, fish oils, and vitamin E all have a bolstering effect on memory.

In some cases, memory loss can be a sign of serious age-related degenerative conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. There are multiple risk factors for dementia, including high blood pressure and heart rate, vascular stroke, and high levels of the hormone homocysteine, which has been correlated with increased risk of cardiovascular problems. Memory loss as a warning sign of incipient dementia or Alzheimer’s is accompanied by a deficit in at least one other area of cognitive function, such as frequently losing track of time, getting lost in a familiar area (walking or driving), and becoming unable to do hobbies or activities you once enjoyed.

If you experience persistent memory loss in combination with any of these cognitive deficits, it’s important to consult a physician to determine whether they could be the warning signs of dementia. Serious cognitive impairments that mimic the signs of dementia can also result from chronic stress, anxiety and depression, and other medical conditions, and you can often cure such memory loss by treating the underlying condition. However, it’s important to mention that the conditions above can also be risk factors for developing dementia or Alzheimer’s, especially in combination with a lack of social and intellectual stimulation.

The majority of frustrating memory blips can be cured, or at least improved, by tending to your overall physical and emotional health. One basic memory loss cure is just to eat regularly: our brains consume about 20%, or 1/5, of the energy produced by the foods we eat; if you don’t keep the calories coming every three to four hours or so, the effects will quickly make themselves felt in disordered thinking and impaired memory. Your memory will also benefit if you eat good foods with a balanced amount of fiber, fat and protein for a longer-lasting burn.

Then there are the super-foods like dark berries, orange vegetables like squash, spinach, and other leafy greens, so named because they have been shown to contain antioxidants that may have a protective effect on brain structures. Curry is also getting attention in the neuroscience community: a recent study in the Journal of Epidemiology suggested that older people who ate curry even as infrequently as once every 6 months demonstrated sharper mental functions than those who didn’t.

And don’t forget the liquid diet! Both coffee and tea (green or black) contain polyphenols that have also been shown to have a helpful antioxidant effect on brain cells, which you can take advantage of by drinking about 1-3 cups per day. Studies have also suggested that cutting back on the post-lunch martinis can help reverse annoying memory loss: while one drink or so per day can be relaxing, a British study found that consuming more than that (an average of 10+ drinks a week) resulted in a 25% increase in memory problems in those surveyed. Luckily, you can cure memory loss of this type simply by drinking less, which quickly reverses the deficits.

Finally, you can help cure memory loss by addressing the mental side of your health. Chronic stress is often accompanied by losses in recall and the ability to form new memories, and has actually been shown to cause brain tissues to shrink. To combat chronic stress, work fun and relaxing activities into your day, such as taking a walk, reading a novel for fun, watching movies, painting, etc. The form isn’t important as long as it’s an activity you enjoy.

Exercise both mental and physical can help cure and reverse memory loss by encouraging your brain to form new neural connections and by strengthening old ones. Stretch your mind with puzzles, word games, and new activities that make you expand your skills into new areas: for instance, if you’re a very verbal person, try taking a painting or sculpting class to develop your visuo-spatial abilities. Playing music or singing, learning a new sport, or exploring any untapped interest you have are all good ways to build on your brain’s ability to remember and learn. Exercise of the physical kind also has been scientifically shown to spur the formation of new connections between neurons and preserve existing connections. Also, you don’t have to spend hours at the gym to get this benefit: as little as a half hour of aerobic activity like walking can reverse age-related decline in older adults, and improves your ability to concentrate and make decisions afterwards. By following these tips, you’ll not only keep your mind and body in tip-top shape, your memory will see the benefits as well!

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