As the largest resource of information specific to women's brain health, we are sure you will find what you are looking for, and promise that you will discover new information.
Published on: March 10, 2014
by Drs. Oz & Roisen for The Buffalo News:
Forgot something? You’re not alone. One in eight baby boomers has memory lapses, at least once in a while, a recent survey says. And whether you’ve forgotten where you put the car keys or the name of your favorite Olympic ice-skating move (toe loop? triple?), even small slips leave you wondering whether your gray cells still have what it takes.
There’s no health threat that scares people over age 55 more than dementia. One in five will experience brain drain from fuzzy thinking and memory lags to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. But a lot of it doesn’t have to happen. While some causes are genetic, it’s never too early or too late to build a bigger, more nimble brain and postpone memory loss by a decade or far more. Here’s how it works.
Brain scientists love to say that the brain is “plastic,” which means it’s flexible and capable of growing new cells and making strong new connections between them, at any age. That means brain-friendly lifestyle changes can help protect you from developing memory problems. And giving your gray matter a little extra love after you notice moments of less-than-perfect recall will help you, too. Start with these lifestyle upgrades:
1. Enjoy plenty of … produce, lean protein, good fats, 100 percent whole grains and a little fat-free dairy, while steering clear of added sugars, syrups, trans and saturated fats and any grain that’s not 100 percent whole.
2. Aim for … 30 minutes of exercise daily. According to new reports, you’ll build a bigger, sexier brain (the only organ in the body where size really does matter) in just three months. Exercise enlarges the hippocampus, the brain region responsible for memory, and an area called the anterior cingulate cortex, which helps regulate emotional intelligence — and nothing is smarter than mutually satisfying emotional intimacy.
3. Learn something new … such as a skill, hobby or game, or even find a new route to a place you visit regularly. It will create more connections that also help enlarge your hippocampus.
4. Learn to … manage stress. Stress is the greatest cause of hippocampal shrinkage. You can use meditation and behavioral modification to control your reaction to stressful events.
5. Get your … blood sugar levels normal. Slightly raised sugar levels — even if you don’t have diabetes or prediabetes — will mess with your memory. Excess blood glucose causes inflammation, which damages brain cells. In one new study, people had their sugar levels tested and were asked to memorize 15 words, then repeat them a half-hour later. Those with higher levels of blood sugar remembered, on average, two fewer words. Lower blood sugar is, like regular exercise, linked to a bigger hippocampus.
6. Take in enough … magnesium. This mineral ensures strong links between your brain cells, so you have a big network ready to solve problems (and remember where your car is parked at the mall). You need 420 milligrams daily, but most of us fall short. Turn to brown rice, almonds, hazelnuts, spinach, shredded wheat, lima beans and bananas to top off your tank.
7. Help vitamin D-3 … protect your DNA. Shortchanging yourself could leave your brain cells vulnerable to damage from free radicals (rogue oxygen molecules that attack DNA). Aim for 1,000 IU daily from a D-3 supplement.
8. Sleep well … for a nightly clean-up. While you snooze, your brain’s busy taking out the trash. A new lab report reveals that during sleep, the brain may turn on its “self-clean” function. This newly discovered process may help explain why most of us need eight hours of sleep nightly for optimal learning, problem-solving and recall.
9. Go for the yo. The beneficial effects of good bacteria in your gut reach all the way to your brain. You can get them from fermented foods like low-fat, no-sugar-added yogurt. One study showed that women who ate yogurt containing live cultures had more connections between an important part of the brain stem and a brain area involved with thinking skills.
Signs that both bodily aging and brain aging could be postponed by a high-fat diet are evident in a new study examining such a diet’s effects on Cockayne syndrome, wherein patients prematurely age as children...
Scientists have identified a protein that contributes to memory loss, presenting a possible means of slowing the effects of aging on the brain as well as combating the effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Studies conducted by...
Losing your cognitive powers could indicate heart problems, according to a new study, which claims that people who struggle with problem-solving and organising their time are 85 percent more likely to have a heart attack....
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.