Cognitive decline is a reality but not an inevitability. It can be delayed, and even reversed, by focusing on neuron plasticity. This is the ability of nerve tissue to rebuild and remodel itself over time. In other words, connections between brain cells can be stimulated, and even regenerated.
Here are some ways of stimulating and preserving your memory:
There are also products that can help stimulate cognitive ability. Some, such as the nootropic mushroom Hericium erinaceus, better known as Lion’s Mane Mushroom, have been used for centuries for their benefits on brain cell function.
The benefits of physical activity are many: it has been comprehensively shown to help combat cognitive decline. Engaging in daily exercise stimulates oxygenation of brain cells. Many forms of physical activity exercise the memory.
Take dancing, for example. It requires you to memorise then reproduce the movements and the sequence in which they happen. It’s the same for yoga, Pilates, gymnastics and water aerobics. And don’t forget that physical activity is not just about sport. Gardening is an excellent example of how physical activity can mobilise the memory. Combining physical and mental activity is without doubt one of the best ways of preserving memory.
The brain is a complex organ that uses huge amounts of energy: it requires, on average, 10 times as much energy as the body’s other organs. In itself, the brain monopolises up to 40% of the body’s carbohydrate intake. We are often advised to prioritise dietary carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index (GI) (pulses, wholegrains …) which gradually release glucose into the blood.
The brain also needs fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids. These are components of brain cell membranes. A lack of omega-3 has been shown to have an effect on brain function and to promote cognitive disorders. A good intake of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is especially important for the brain as research shows it contributes to normal cerebral function and preservation of memory.
Choline is a molecule that’s frequently overlooked. Often referred to as vitamin B4, it’s essential for maintaining good cerebral function. It is in fact required for synthesising acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory. Choline is found in certain foods such as eggs, and there are also dietary supplements available such as Choline Complex, a product that offers three bioavailable forms of the nutrient.
Free radicals are among the body’s key enemies. Accumulation of these oxidative elements causes significant cell damage, and brain cells are no exception. This is why we’re often advised to make use of the protective power of antioxidants, particularly curcumin in turmeric, anthocyanins in berries, epigallocatechin gallate in green tea and the famous resveratrol in grapes. These valuable antioxidants combat free radical attack and constitute natural allies for the brain.