Common lifestyle mistakes that are damaging your memory. Neurologist offers tips
Experts say that our daily habits from eating, exercising, working style could be affecting our memory in a negative or a positive way.
Is your life feeling like a mess of late as you struggle to follow your to-do list just because you keep forgetting things? Do you often fail to locate your house keys or worse, lock your keys inside the car? You may be telling your friends your memory isn't working the same way it used to before. It may or may not be due to post Covid syndrome. There is no need to panic as there is still a lot that you can do or avoid to get your memory back on track and gain back control over your life.
Experts say that our daily habits from eating, exercising, working style could be affecting our memory in a negative or a positive way. According to a ULCA (University of California, Los Angeles) research, depression, low levels of education, physical inactivity and high blood pressure increased the likelihood of memory complaints in younger adults (aged 18–39), middle-aged adults (40–59) and older adults (60–99).
If you’re depressed, not getting exercise or have high blood pressure, you may find yourself complaining more about memory problems, even if you’re a young adult, according to a study.
It is possible to improve your brain health and even utilize our brain better by making healthy changes to our lifestyle and keeping it more active.
"More than a hundred million neurons with billions of connections are found in our brain. However, more than 90% of the brain is not utilized by us. We use only 10% of the brain. Therefore, by using your brain by exercising your brain, you can decrease the 90% and make sure a healthy young person utilizes more than 10% of the brain," says Dr. P. P. Ashok, Consultant Neurologist and Head, Division of Neurology at P.D Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mahim, Mumbai.
Avoid consuming sugary drinks, processed food
Consumption of sugary drinks can increase the risk of dementia in even people without diabetes says a study while another one says a high-fructose diet led to worse blood sugar control and a higher risk of metabolic disorders and memory impairments. Refined carbs, saturated fats and highly processed foods to have a negative impact on memory.
Experts say there are certain foods like turmeric, coffee, freshwater salmon are some of the foods that improve brain functioning.
"There is nothing like brain food; however, turmeric is supposed to increase brain memory. Again, using coffee can also help in improving memory. Coffee reduces the neurotransmitter adenosine, which increases attention, alertness, and sleep. Also, this diminished adenosine leads to increased transmitters like dopamine and glutamate, which indirectly improves mental performance and slows off brain ageing. Certain foods like freshwater Salmon, which have a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, are supposed to improve brain function," says Dr Ashok.
How increased screen time is worsening our memory
Excessive screen time can hinder alertness of brain and our capacity to think and imagine which could be affecting our memory. Lack of sleep could also be a culprit behind your fading memory as when you are sleep deprived, you may be at risk of getting chronic diseases like hypertension, obesity, and diabetes, which in turn could lead to cognitive impairment.
"A good sleep of eight hours helps replace the dead cells and allows the development of fresh new cells," says Dr Ashok.
Read a book, solve a puzzle
The expert also advises one to do activities that help in keeping one alert like reading a book, doing a physical activity, and doing brain exercises like solving crosswords.
"Modern-day living consists of too much TV viewing, video games and lots of computer screen time - all these things can shut down the mental alertness it does not allow you to think. So, what you do while watching TV is just passively watch what is happening without alerting the brain to imagine or think, significantly in contrast to when reading a book, where you imagine and allow your brain to activate," says the neurologist.
A balanced diet, avoiding stress, regular physical activity, good sleep, avoiding TV watching, inculcating the habit of reading, doing brain exercises could be a few things one can do to improve brain function and memory.
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