KEEPING THE MEMORIES ALIVE
Memories are important. They teach us lessons, give us perspective, and make sense of our lives. Memories are all we have for times past. But how can we ensure we will retain those memories and keep the ability to make more?
- Nutrition. Avoid pro-inflammatory foods. Inflammation is toxic to the body and the brain. Reducing inflammation leads to less metabolic effort and more energy conserved for the health of the cells of our brains. Minimize or eliminate sugar, processed foods, and dairy. Increase consumption of foods with healthy forms of fat – important for the neurons – such as avocados, nuts, nut oils, and seeds. Include anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric, cinnamon, and cilantro.
- Avoid centrally acting medications. The very common use of sleep medications, analgesics, and anti-depressants can affect our mental clarity. Chronic use can contribute to cognitive impairment.
- Sleep. Studies have shown poor sleep can contribute to cognitive difficulties, depression, lack of attention and focus, and other chronic health conditions.
- Aerobic exercise. The brain loves its oxygen and the only way it can get that oxygen is from the blood that supplies it. So get that blood pumping to ensure a consistent, regular, and oxygenated blood flow through the cerebral vasculature.
- Intermittent fasting. Avoiding food for brief periods of time allows metabolic energy to be allocated to functions of the brain, such as thinking and processing, instead of functions of the gastrointestinal tract, such as digestion and absorption. Speak to an integrative medicine provider for safe intermittent fasting practices.
- Meditate. Research has demonstrated that regular meditation increases the volume and improves the function of our hippocampi – the regions most important for memory.
- Have fun. To feel joy, happiness, and contentment is so important for our overall brain health. So laugh, socialize, and surround yourself with people that make you feel good.
- Supplements and herbal formulations. There are plants and vitamins that are important for neuronal function and neurotransmitter balance, even more so as we age. Please see an integrative neurologist or an integrative medicine provider for guidance.
It is never too early or too late to start caring for our brain. We can always reap some benefit. You’ll feel your brain smiling in no time!