Do you misplace your keys often? Or forget a street name? Or walk into the kitchen and wonder why you came here in the first place? These types of forgetfulness are normal but forgetting a family member’s name or what certain keys are used for is an indication of a serious problem. This is called dementia which is a serious condition and can interfere with daily functioning.
Here are some differences between normal memory loss due to aging and dementia:
Age-related memory problems
|Occasional memory lapses. Can pursue normal activities.||Hard to perform simple tasks such as bathing, dressing up or paying bills.|
|Can’t recall the right word but have no trouble holding a conversation.||Words are forgotten or garbled. Repeats phrases or incidences.|
|Judgment & decision-making are normal.||Judgment & decision-making are impaired.|
Brain boosting initiatives
While there’s no magic pill to prevent memory lapses, but the food we eat and the activities we perform can have a huge impact on our brain health. Here are some things you can do to improve memory and concentration.
Cinnamon or dalchini is a wonder spice. Experts say that its consumption can increase attention, improve memory and enhance intellectual processing. Add dalchini while cooking food or include it in your morning oatmeal or poha. You can also sprinkle some into your tea or coffee as well. Cinnamon buns and rolls will work too (go easy on flour-based foods).
Everybody knows that ginger has some amazing healing properties. But do you know that it can help protect your brain cells from deterioration? A daily dose of 800 mg of the ginger extract can improve your attention and memory. Try including freshly grated ginger in your food (especially vegetables & lentils) and salad dressings. Add it in your tea and fruit smoothies to get that extra kick.
Fish are an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids. The role of omega-3s is to build a protective lining around each cell, including the brain cells. Thus, they can improve your brain cells. This chemical can also lower the levels of certain proteins that form damaging clumps in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s. Include fish in your diet at least once a week. If you aren’t a fish fan, ask your doctor about taking nuts, flaxseeds, and avocados.
Music can open doors to your memory vaults. Recent studies suggest that listening to or making music rejuvenates regions of the brain associated with speech, emotion, memory, and reasoning. Moreover, music not only helps in retrieving stored memories but also helps in laying down new ones. Listen to the music of your choice every day. Learning a musical instrument will also help improve memory.
Any physical activity increases the blood supply to the brain and triggers the development of neurons. Exercising 3 or more times a week has been associated with a lower risk of dementia. Take 30-45 minutes out of your day and engage in activities that make you break a sweat. Brisk walking, jogging, running, Zumba, aerobics, dancing—anything will work.
Other ways to engage & boost your brain:
- Play strategic games such as chess, scrabble, sudoku, crosswords or any puzzle games.
- Learn new things like driving, a musical instrument, a new language, etc.
- Read books and newspapers.
- Involve in a project that involves thinking, design and planning (a garden, a fish pond, a birdhouse and more).