Our memory is something we tap into on a regular basis for recent information like grocery lists or deep-seated information like an old friend. When our short- or long-term memory fails, it can be concerning, particularly as we age. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to enhance your memory and mind, and protect yourself from memory decline. The question you need to ask yourself is: are you optimally nourished for brain health?
GETTING TO GRIPS WITH MEMORY
The ability to store a memory relies on a complex system that “solidifies” the memory into the brain. Firstly, a memory is made up of three components – visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. The more components that make up the memory, the more brain cells are used – which is why remembering things is often easier when repeated aloud and written down a few times. The hippocampus region of the brain then decides whether it is worth storing.
BRAIN DRAIN VS MORE SERIOUS PROBLEMS
Just because you forget a few things doesn’t mean that you are developing Alzheimer’s disease; it is common for us to forget smaller things every now and then. It could be a case of “brain drain” or a biochemical imbalance which you can test yourself for and read more about in Patrick’s book, Optimum Nutrition for the Mind. Alzheimer’s disease, often thought to only begin in in old age, actually begins to take shape from the age of 40 and is when the hippocampus loses its ability to file new memories.
ESSENTIAL MEMORY ENHANCERS
“The good news is that mental decline is not inevitable and you can boost your memory and mental alertness at any age,” says Patrick.
The best way to safeguard your mind from problems is to ensure you get an optimal intake of the key vitamins, minerals, fats and nutrients. Your body uses this nutrition to make important brain chemicals. Patrick shares his list of natural “brain boosters” with you:
- Your body’s ability to keep thousands of neurotransmitters, hormones and other biochemicals in balance is through a process called methylation. Poor or faulty methylation has been shown to predict memory loss, depression, and even a loss of touch with reality. It is important to include plenty of methylators like Vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid and Trimethylglycine (TMG) in your diet with beans, nuts, seeds and greens.
- Egg yolks and fish are essential for the production of a healthy memory chemical called acetylcholine.
- Proteins play an important role in the communication between the brain’s neurotransmitters. Some of the top proteins are fish, cottage cheese and yoghurt, eggs, broccoli and spinach, tofu, lentils, pumpkin seeds, beans and peas.
- The brain is dependent on fats and the only fats we can’t make are omega-3 and 6, found in fish and seeds.
- Phospholipids are the core component of the brain’s receptors enabling it to receive messages and are found in eggs and organ meats.
- Complex carbohydrates are turned into glucose which fuel the brain and the nervous system.
- Believe it or not, your brain likes spicy food. Recent studies have shown that the active ingredient in turmeric reduced plaque deposits in the brain.
While diet is an important part of keeping the mind in great shape, ensuring that you are getting the right amounts of these nutrient is hard to determine. There are also other essential nutrients like glutamine, gingko biloba and ginseng that can’t be included in your diet. It’s worth incorporating a supplement like Patrick Holford’s Advanced Brain Food into your daily routine.