Do you often find yourself forgetting things every day? Do you enter a room only to forget why you came in? Or suddenly forget your best friend’s name? Are you worried that these frustrating memory lapses could be a sign of Alzheimer’s? The good news is that they probably aren’t.
Memory loss can result from various factors, with age being the most common. Hormonal changes, diet, stress, and multitasking can all impact your memory. Lynn Jaffee, a registered acupuncturist and author of Simple Steps: A Chinese Medicine Approach to Better Health, suggests the following tips to maintain your memory:
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1. Simplify your life
If you feel overwhelmed, your brain might be at capacity. At some point, you may struggle to remember more details and start forgetting things.
2. Reduce stress
Stress can preoccupy your mind, causing you to remember stress-inducing details but forget everything else. Find ways to lower your stress levels, whether it’s through yoga, meditation, hobbies, or taking time for yourself to relax.
3. Eat a healthy diet
Plan your meals in advance and bring them with you if needed. Consume more whole, unprocessed grains, vegetables, lean protein, and little to no red meat. Avoid excessive sugar intake, as it can lead to foggy thinking.
4. Take time to digest
Sit down and savor your meal. Sit up straight, chew slowly, and give your food time to digest. Cooked foods are generally easier to digest, while cold foods and drinks may interfere with digestion.
5. Protect your kidneys
Slow down and avoid overexertion. From a Chinese medical perspective, overworking can directly cause disease and depletion. Additionally, excessive partying can weaken your kidney system and accelerate aging.
6. Get regular exercise
Data from a study that began in the 1930s shows that moderate exercise (even if only twice a week) can reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
7. Stop smoking
If you smoke, it’s a good idea to quit. Although there is no way to completely eliminate the degenerative brain damage caused by smoking, the sooner you quit, the better.
8. Drink green tea
A 2006 study showed that drinking just one or two cups of antioxidant-rich green tea a day can reduce the risk of cognitive problems by 50 percent.
9. Make a to-do list
Memory lapses can be a byproduct of trying to do too many things at once. At some point, your brain can’t hold more details. Make a list of things you want to do or remember to help your brain get rid of the confusion.
10. Play brain-boosting games
Crossword puzzles, sudoku, trivia quizzes, and learning new skills or languages can all stimulate the brain and slow down memory loss.
Persistence and perseverance are key. Drinking green tea, using acupuncture to relieve stress, exercising a few days a week, and making moderate dietary changes can reduce the risk of memory problems as we age.
The following 7 kinds of “brain foods” may slow down brain aging and reduce the risk of dementia. You may want to eat more of them:
1. Whole grains and cereals
Include whole grains in at least one of your three main meals every day.
Consume more green and colorful vegetables for essential brain-boosting nutrients like vitamin C, folic acid, flavonoids, and anthocyanins.
Nuts are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E, which can slow brain aging. Eat a daily serving of sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews, or walnuts.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and mulberries are high in vitamin C and anthocyanins, which help reduce brain inflammation. Including these antioxidant-rich fruits in your diet can support cognitive health.
Prioritize high-quality protein sources like beans, fish, eggs, white meat, and red meat. Beans and soy products contain plant-based protein and lecithin without cholesterol. Fish, especially sardines, salmon, mackerel, and saury, are rich in Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that benefit the brain.
6. Vegetable oil
Choose unsaturated vegetable oils for cooking to promote healthy blood vessels and circulation. Olive oil, avocado oil, safflower oil, and canola oil are good options. Avoid using coconut oil and palm oil, which are high in saturated fatty acids. Note that palm oil is a common ingredient in many cookies. By selecting healthier oils, you can support overall brain health and cognitive function.
7. Red wine
Red wine is mainly made from grapes with purple and black skins. The skins of grapes contain antioxidants such as flavonoids, which are good for the body when consumed in moderation. It is recommended to drink no more than 120 ml a day.
By incorporating the tips and brain foods mentioned above, you can reduce the risk of memory problems and promote cognitive well-being. Small changes can make a significant difference in preserving memory and cognitive function as you grow older. Remember, the key to success is persistence and perseverance.
Translated by Audrey Wang