by Dr. Sarah Brewer
A Nutritionist and Doctor
Memory - your ability to store, retain and retrieve information – is vital to function properly in your social life and at work. But when you're stressed, some memories can become harder to retrieve – especially those that were most recently laid down.
Following a healthy diet and lifestyle is just as important for your brain as it is for your heart. Keeping mentally active is also vital to maintain the connections between brain cells – those that are not used frequently are automatically pruned away.
Exercise is also protective by boosting blood flow to the brain. In one study, those who walked, on average, one mile per day, developed less shrinkage of their grey matter over a nine year period than those who were sedentary. They were also half as likely to experience muddled thinking.
B vitamins are needed for energy production in brain cells and to improve mood and clarity of thought.
Folic acid may slow the decline in memory and thinking power that often goes with age. Those taking supplements for 3 years had memory scores as good as those of people 5.5 years younger, and in tests of thinking speed performed as well as people almost 2 years younger.
Ginkgo biloba helps short-term working memory – probably by improving blood circulation to the brain.
Omega-3 fish oils – recent research shows that high intakes of DHA is associated with increased brain volume and memory in older men and women.