“Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us.” – Oscar Wilde
Memories are precious. In a single day, the human brain has approximately 6,000 thoughts. Not all thoughts will become memories. Memories are the result of experiences, events, and emotional connections. But they accompany our thoughts, pave the way to the future, offer a way back to the past, and teach us about who we are.
We are made of memories. Therefore, remembering is in human nature. But the mind, despite its powerful features and abilities, can get forgetful. Not all memories remain with us. Sometimes, they are erased to be replaced by new ones in a natural process of selection. They can dive deeper into our subconscious, where they will be available to those who embrace self-reflection and self-introspection.
More often than not, however, memories become unavailable when the mind struggles with health issues. Forgetting your memories is a terrifying process that makes you question who you are. So how can you protect your memories for longer?
The link between exercise and dementia
Being physically active has multiple benefits for the mind and the body. Physical activity can help clear your mind, reducing stress levels, and helping cope with challenging situations. Additionally, exercising regularly also supports your physical health, helping maintain your weight, boost your immune system, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
But what you may not know is that physical activity can also keep the risk of losing your memories at bay. Indeed, according to studies, exercising reduces the risk of dementia. Being physically active multiple times a week also increases the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory formation.
Additionally, practicing sports regularly keeps the blood flowing to the brain and increases the presence of protective chemicals. As a result, sports can not only have a protective impact on the brain, but it also can help counter the natural age-related reduction of brain connections.
Dementia and depression work together
While it doesn’t mean that struggling with depression is going to cause dementia, individuals who experience depressive disorders are more at risk of developing dementia in old age. According to studies, early-life depression tends to be associated with a greater increase in risk of dementia.
What causes depression? Depression can be triggered by a variety of events, such as chemical imbalance, going through a stressful and traumatic situation, etc. Individuals react differently to life triggers. But, doctors are the first to admit that positive thinking can be instrumental in preventing some depressive disorders. Indeed, a positive mental attitude can be healing as it helps regulate chemicals in the brain.
What can you do to nurture positive thinking? Positive thinking is not a gift. It is a skill that you can practice through meditation, exercises, and positive psychology programming.
Your food fuels your memory
Can food help preserve your memory? The answer is yes. A brain-friendly diet can support your cognitive health and prevent degeneration caused by deficiencies. Thankfully, selecting a mind diet is easier than it sounds. The Mediterranean diet is renowned for its benefits against neurodegenerative disorders. According to studies, the diet can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease thanks to its low levels of red meat, saturated fat, and sugar.
What should the ideal brain-friendly diet include the following:
- Ideally 3 servings of whole grains a day
- Green leafy vegetables 6 times a week
- Other vegetables once a week
- Berries twice a week
- Olive oil for cooking
- fish at least once a week
- Poultry twice a week
- Red meat less than 4 times a week
- Nuts 5 times a week
- Beans 3 or more times a week
- No more than one glass of alcoholic drink per day
Doctors agree that individuals do not need to follow the diet perfectly to reduce risks, and following it most of the time will have a positive impact already.
Understand dedicated dementia care
Dementia is not necessarily a genetic disorder, except in some rare cases. However, maintaining a close relationship with your loved ones when going through dementia care can help you identify potential triggers in your family. The Memory Care for Alzheimer’s, Dementia at the Catholic Care Center creates personalized care plans involving the family of the patient as well. So you not only get to ask questions and understand how to look after your loved ones, but you also gain more insights into essential memory health. If one of your relatives is in a care residence for memory degeneration, seize the opportunity to continue to make memories with them and learn how your own memory works.
In conclusion, preserving your memory in old age begins here and now. The brain is a complex machine that reacts to your mood, physical activity, diet, and other choices in your lifestyle, and it’s never too early to protect it.