Top tips for memory from Efamol
How much time do you spend wondering if your forgetfulness is something you should be worrying about? Or is it that you’re just experiencing normal mid-life overload?
Try Efamol’s fun quiz and see how you get on.
As we age, mental and cognitive abilities change. In earlier years, the brain changes and matures. In later years, our mental abilities start to deteriorate as a result of ageing within the brain. From our 30s to 40s, the volume of the brain begins to shrink and the rate of this accelerates around the age of 60.
The hippocampus – the part of the brain involved in emotions, learning and memory – shrinks in late adulthood, leading to natural age-related memory decline. Some small changes in cognition are considered a normal part of the ageing process, with slower brain processing is the most consistent difference in mental abilities between young and elderly people.
Studies have demonstrated that slow decline starts as early as age 30. One of the most common cognitive concerns among older adults is memory changes. In some cases, women report forgetfulness and brain fog around the time of the menopause. A study showed that 60% of middle-aged women suffer with cognition issues and loss of concentration. These problems can be amplified for women going through perimenopause. Scientists believe that this is related to the hormonal changes in the body.
Here, the team at Efamol share their top tips for coping with memory changes as we age.
Eat more fish
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is the most abundant omega-3 fat found in the brain. It’s part of the omega-3 essential fatty acids family and contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function. It’s found in oily fish such as mackerel and salmon. Eating oily fish two to three times a week is a great insurance policy to ensure your brain has all the omega-3 it needs.
It has long been understood that lower levels of omega-3 DHA are associated with a person being more likely to record age-related cognitive decline. In one study of 246 healthy older people, aged between 63 and 74, it was demonstrated that those with higher blood levels of DHA and EPA had a 40% lower risk of declining cognitive function over a four year period. Similarly, a larger study in 2016 of 720 people aged between 68 and 92 measured blood levels of omega-3 and categorised the group into low, medium and high status. A robust association was found between low omega-3 levels and lower cognitive ability in the elderly population.
If you feel you’d like a little extra support, try a food supplement such as Efamol Active Memory. From the Essential Fatty Acid experts, Efamol Active Memory contains a carefully selected high-strength fish oil that is especially rich in DHA, the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in the brain. Each capsule contains a full 250mg of omega 3 DHA, the level that contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function, plus Vitamin B12, Folic Acid and Phosphatidylserine. This unique formulation also includes Ginkgo biloba, which may help maintain working memory.
There are many studies showing the benefits of exercise on memory function. A 2011 study showed that aerobic exercise training increases the size of the anterior hippocampus, leading to improvements in spatial memory. Government guidelines advise adults to exercise daily. Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more. One way to approach this is to do 30 minutes on at least five days a week. Finding something you enjoy with others makes exercise a joy and will ensure you’re likely to continue. Jogging, dancing, cycling are all easily accessible and can be done with friends to make it sociable.
A messy workplace or home may be contributing to your inability to concentrate or find anything. Decluttering your environment can be therapeutic. The Japanese author Marie Kondo advocates the benefits of tidying up and how it can spark joy. She has some useful techniques that may help you start the process. Keeping an efficient diary, calendars and routines will make recollection a lot easier and infinitely less stressful.
Learn something new
There are many actors, scientists, authors and academics working well into their 80’s and 90’s. One thing they have in common is they are constantly learning. Keeping your brain active has been shown to delay memory decline. One study suggests doing crossword puzzles delayed onset of memory decline by 2.54 years! Challenging your brain is hugely beneficial. If crosswords aren’t your thing, try a new hobby. Play chess, learn a new language, try out a musical instrument, join a book club – anything to get the grey cells stimulated.
Having an active social life, volunteering for a local charity or being part of something can help us avoid feelings of loneliness and depression. These challenges are especially prevalent for those who live on their own and/or are elderly. Combining learning something new with socialising with friends is an amazing brain tonic. Some studies have shown a potential link between loneliness and late onset memory decline.
Food supplements should not replace a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.