Midlife and Memory

I never thought it would happen to me. I was always the one in the family who had a memory like a steel trap. I could recall dates, places, names, anything. Family members often turned to me when there was a debate over a fact that no one recalled exactly. Everyone knew that not only would I remember whatever it was they couldn’t, but I could probably recall what people were wearing, etc. To be honest, my memory was almost freaky.

I turned 50 this year, and although I honestly believe age is just a number, I must reluctantly admit that “things” change as we age.

Along with the rest of our body, the brain changes as we age. The result can be a gradual decline in episodic memory (responsible for such day-to-day details as the location of that missing phone or set of keys) and learning ability.

As we grow older, we experience physiological changes. It takes longer to learn and recall information. We’re not as quick as we used to be. In fact, we often mistake this slowing of our mental processes for true memory loss. But in most cases, if we give ourselves time, the information will come to mind.

There are things we can do to help us remember and to keep our minds sharp, which will decrease and delay memory loss.

Try these tips for improving memory:

  • Take a daily dose of 1st Step Pro-Wellness B12 Complex everyday to help nourish the brain and possibly aid in memory loss.
  • Additionally, take the 1st Step Pro-Wellness Multi-Vitamin for help in overall mind and body wellness.
  • Avoid distractions when trying to learn something new.
  • Exercise regularly to keep your body and your brain healthy.

  • Use a weekly calendar and daily “to-do” list to help you stay on track.

  • Try not to deviate from your normal routine for taking medication or leaving for work.

  • Use associations by relating it to something that you already know

  • Put your phone, wallet, keys, and other items in the same place every time

  • Do crossword puzzles to keep your mind moving.

  • Play games that require use of the brain like Sudoku.

Keeping a healthy mind is just as important as keeping a healthy body. Research shows that we can increase our chances of maintaining a healthy brain well into old age by adding the following "smart" foods to our diets.

Blueberries. Blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's or dementia.

Wild salmon. Deep-water fish, such as salmon, are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for brain function. Omega-3s also contain anti-inflammatory substances.

Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are good sources of Vitamin E and higher levels of Vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline as we age.

Avocados. Avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health. The avocado is a fatty fruit, but, it's a monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow.  Healthy blood flow means a healthy brain.

Whole grains. Whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-grain breads, and brown rice can reduce the risk for heart disease. Every organ in the body is dependent on blood flow. If you promote cardiovascular health, you're promoting good flow to the organ system, which includes the brain.

Beans. Beans stabilize glucose levels. The brain is dependent on glucose for fuel and since it can't store the glucose, it relies on a steady stream of energy, which beans can provide.

Pomegranate juice. Pomegranate juice offers potent antioxidant benefits which protect the brain from the damage of free radicals.

Freshly brewed tea. Two to three cups a day of freshly brewed tea -- hot or iced -- contains a modest amount of caffeine which, can boost brain power by enhancing memory, focus, and mood. Tea also has potent antioxidants, which promotes healthy blood flow.

Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has powerful antioxidant properties, contains several natural stimulants, including caffeine, which enhance focus and concentration, and stimulates the production of endorphins, which helps improve mood.

As I get older, I don’t mind trying these suggestions to help my brain power, memory, concentration, etc. Let’s just hope I can “remember” to do them.