When it comes to preventing memory loss in seniors, it seems like a tough battle. Millions of memories are affected across the globe every year. While this problem may be temporary for some elderly people, types of memory loss caused by diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s are often permanent. Although, there exists a wide range of remedies to try and deal with memory loss, the best prevention may be with nutrition.
Preventing Memory Loss in Seniors Through Good Nutrition
Ever heard of the saying, “you are what you eat?” This might have direct meaning for seniors and cognitive loss. Available medical evidence suggests that the build up of dead cells in the brain (which leads to lack of communication between cells) is a major cause of memory loss in seniors. For instance, Alzheimer’s causes a build-up of plaque in the brain, causing oxidation and inflammation that destroys brain cells.
In addition, old age also diminishes communication between brain cells, leading to difficulties with processing thoughts and retention of short-term memory. Consuming more antioxidants in foods can help reduce the oxidation and inflammation that worsens communication between brain cells. Foods rich in antioxidants include russet potatoes, beans, artichoke hearts, as well as spices like cinnamon and oregano.
Memory loss in seniors has also been linked to a reduction in their brains’ cognitive function. Vegetables and purple fruits can help improve this condition. Blueberries, cranberries and Concord grapes are some of the most effective foods in enhancing both memory and motor skills.
Curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric), the natural food dye that gives curry its characteristic bright yellow color, is another potential fighter of memory loss in seniors. Perhaps it is time the rest of the world adopted the Indian habit of using tumeric as a spice in many of their foods.
The Chinese Medical Journal also identifies curcumin as a food additive capable of enhancing both learning and memory ability in humans. Evidence by the Curcumin Research Organization also shows that curcumin helps people with disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as diseases such as epilepsy and brain tumors.
Research at UCLA also suggested that if we combine curcumin with vitamin D, it helps stimulates our immune systems to better deal with Alzheimer’s disease. The deficiency of certain nutrition can also cause the problem of memory loss in seniors. For instance, a recent Tufts University study shows that people who lacked carbohydrates in their diets not only lost calories but also became forgetful and fuzzy-headed. Reintroducing carbohydrates in the diet therefore greatly helps memory and mental functions in the elderly.
Supported by evidence from research, Fox News also recently recommended sunflower seeds to boost memory. They are rich in vitamin E and help reduce the worsening of memory with age, as well as enhancing spatial working memory.
Recently, the decades-old assumption that Ginkgo enhances memory has also been debated. Although there could be some biological plausibility with Ginkgo being able to fight memory loss in seniors, scientists do not yet have the full facts.
Apart from diet, other methods of keeping memory loss at bay and enhancing cognitive skills include routine exercise, sufficient sleep and better stress management. Factors like prescription medications, alcohol and substance abuse and exposure to certain environmental toxins also contribute to memory loss in seniors and should be avoided.
Exercising our brains through life-long learning can also be the key to reducing the risk of memory loss. Some brain exercises like playing games that involve strategy such as bridge and chess or reading newspapers, challenging books and doing puzzles also greatly help. Even as scientists strive to gain a better understanding of what really leads to memory loss in seniors, one useful method to prevent and deal with the problem is through better nutrition habits. While a healthy diet has many benefits, one of the key bonuses is the ability to improve our memories.
Preventing Memory Loss in Seniors – Conclusion
As you can see, if seniors give their bodies the proper fuel through nutrition, it might help slow down or even prevent later cognitive issues. As 2017 is set to begin, we should set out to provide our senior loved ones with the best nutrition they can get. If we monitor the success of this approach, we can continue to provide the same types of food.
If the types of food we are giving doesn’t improve their memory or make them feel any better, then we should change what they eat.
Have a Happy New Year, and best wishes for your health and that of your senior loved ones.
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