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Memory and Aging - Strategies and Foods That Improve and Increase Memory

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Some Healthy Foods To Increase Memory Like Carrots, Turnips, Fish, Whole Grain Bread, Asparagus, Chicken

Some Healthy Foods To Increase Memory Like Carrots, Turnips, Fish, Whole Grain Bread, Asparagus, Chicken

Memory And Aging

Memory is the power of the mind to remember things or in other words, it is a person's power to remember things. Memory involves the retaining of information and the retrieval of this information when needed.

As one gets older in age, one experiences age-related memory loss or more appropriately forgetfulness which is the non-ability to sometimes recollect certain information and also retention of information. It is this memory loss or forgetfulness, related to ageing, that is the focus of this article.

It is to be understood here that normal ageing is not responsible for causing memory disorders like dementia etc, but is associated with a general decline in all faculties including that of the memory.

It has been found that as a person reaches the 20s, he starts losing brain cells (the white matter), and with increasing age, the number of brain cells lost keeps increasing, along with the decrease in the production of the chemical messengers (the neurotransmitters) needed by the brain cells to work optimally.

This contributes to the normal decline in memory that is a combination of our reduced thinking capacity as well as performing memory-related tasks.

There are a number of causes for this memory decline some of which are listed below.

Some Causes Of Memory Decline Or Forgetfulness

Apart from age-related memory loss or decline, there are some other causes that hasten or deepen this memory decline and it is important that these issues are also tackled so as to reduce and possibly avert this memory decline.

Physical and psychological issues like dehydration, infections, medication side effects, poor and deficient nutrition, substance abuse, chronic alcoholism, thyroid issues are some of them.

Some other reasons are that the hippocampus region of the brain, the area where the memories are formed and retrieved from deteriorates with age. Again, as we age, the blood flow to the brain decreases and the older a person gets, the less efficient his body gets at absorbing brain-enhancing nutrients.

However, the brain is capable of producing new brain cells at any age, so a significant memory loss is not related to ageing. But as is the case with muscles which degenerate and lose strength and function if not used, the brain loses its ability of storage and retrieval of information if it is not exercised regularly. Who has not heard of the adage "use it" or "lose it", so very relevant to the brain as well?

More Foods That Increase Memory Like Grapefrui, Kiwi, Bell Peppers, Grapes,

More Foods That Increase Memory Like Grapefrui, Kiwi, Bell Peppers, Grapes,

Strategies To Prevent Memory Decline

Research has suggested some strategies that can help retain memory and prevent memory decline and forgetfulness. These are described below.

Indulge In Regular Exercise - Physical and Mental

It has been found that physical exercise leads to improved blood circulation, reduces the risk of diabetes, high BP, cholesterol and stroke. All these factors can lead to memory loss as well as other serious memory disorders.

Also, regular exercise increases the levels of neurotrophins. These are a family of proteins that nourish brain cells, boost brain growth and help produce new brain cells.

So make a habit of walking, using the stairs rather than the elevator, gardening, swimming etc to help with the physical aspect of exercise.

Mental exercise stimulates the brain and it has been found to restore the impaired neurons within the brain and even help in reversing memory loss or forgetfulness and improve memory.

A game of chess, sudoku or learning a new language or skill will give the needed mental exercise.

Get Enough Sleep At Night

Sleep helps to rest the brain, keep it fresh and consolidates the memory. It leads to a reduction in stress due to tiredness, both physical and mental, bring more mental clarity. Thus after a good night's sleep, one feels refreshed. mentally and physically.

Sleep also helps in the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus and helps maintain its function and leads to the proper functioning of the memory process.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking has been found to cause a loss in memory. It not only impairs lung function but also increases the risk of vascular disorders which can lead to stroke and constrict arteries. These lead to a reduction in oxygen available to the brain and cause issues like faster memory decline.

Socialize Regularly

It has been found in research, in the Mac Arthur study, that social interaction with relatives, friends or people in general, improves the mental performance of older people.

Socializing wards off stress and depression and keeps the brain sharp and alert.

Avoid Alcohol

It is a well-established fact that alcohol damages the brain cells and is one of the factors in causing memory loss.

Reduce Stress

Stress releases cortisol, the stress hormone, which over a period of time damages the brain and leads to memory lapses and memory loss.

Eat A Healthy Diet

I saved this for the last, not because it is the least important but because this is the main focus of the hub as the title suggests and I needed to elaborate on foods pertaining to this aspect.

Fruits, Milk, Yogurt And Vegetables

Fruits, Milk, Yogurt And Vegetables

Foods That Increase Memory

A healthy diet has to have specific nutrients that affect memory in a positive way, hence the requirements of such nutrients. Here is a list of nutrients and foods that increase memory.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants help to protect brain cells from age-related damage by attacking and eliminating free radicals.

Some antioxidant-rich foods are :

Broccoli, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, mustard greens, soybeans, whole grains, garlic, red grapes, green tea etc.

  • Flavonoids

Flavonoids are phytochemicals for their antioxidant activity and are found to improve memory. Flavonoids include the flavonols, flavones, isoflavones, flavanones, flavonols and anthocyanidins.

Flavonoids enhance neuronal function, stimulate neuronal regeneration and protect existing neurons against oxidative and metabolic stress.

Some flavonoid-rich foods are :

Onions, leeks, broccoli, leeks, parsley, celery, soybeans, citrus fruits, tomatoes, green tea, red wine, cocoa, berries etc.

  • Fibre Rich Foods

Fibre is important to brain health since it regulates the absorption of sugar. The brain works on sugar and needs a steady supply for its smooth functioning (This aspect is elaborated in the following head). Fibre helps regulate sugar and thus is a very important nutrient for brain health.

Some fibre rich foods are ;

Apricots, dates, prunes, broccoli, spinach, green peas, almonds, flaxseeds, avocados, kiwi, pears, barley, brown rice, kidney beans, lima beans etc.

  • Glucose

Glucose is very important since it is a major source of energy used by the central nervous system and is transported from the blood to the brain. It enhances memory by aiding the synthesis of an essential neurotransmitter in the brain.

As a person ages, the ability to utilize glucose decreases. Hence, a moderate increase in glucose levels is needed to enhance memory.

Therefore, eat meals frequently through the day to maintain moderate glucose levels.

  • Omega-3 Fats, Mono and Poly Unsaturated Fats

Omega-3 fats, the EPA and DHA, and the unsaturated fats prevent age-related memory decline.

Some foods rich in these fats are :

Tuna, salmon, trout, mackerels, herring, sardines etc among the fish sources and flaxseed oil, soyabean oil, olive oil, canola oil etc among the vegetable oils.

  • Vitamins C, E, B12, B6 and Folate, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc Rich Foods

Some of these nutrients reduce homocysteine levels, some are building blocks for the brain and they keep the brain active, prevent memory decline and brain shrinkage.

Some foods rich in these nutrients are :

Flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, blueberries, blackcurrants, acai berries, raspberries, eggs, milk, yoghurt, liver, colourful fruits like cantaloupes, watermelon, avocados, plums, oranges, apples, grapes, cherries etc.

  • Water

Though strictly not a nutrient, the importance of water for brain health can be judged from the fact that the brain is almost 75% water. When the body is dehydrated, the brain releases cortisol that shrinks the dendrites, the branches in the brain that store information. Cortisol also produces adrenaline. both cortisol and adrenaline affect the mental functions of the brain.

Therefore it is important to keep the body properly hydrated always to keep the memory sharp.

  • Saturated Fats

Studies have shown that diets rich in saturated fats, trans fats and/or cholesterol impairs memory and cognition functions.

Consume less of saturated fats.

  • Calories

Intake of fewer calories reduces the neuronal dysfunction and degeneration while high-calorie diets also increase the risk of Alzheimer's.

Do not consume excess calories.

Gingko biloba and Ginseng are believed to improve memory in ageing adults.

Be sure to eat foods containing ample amounts of these nutrients every day to increase memory

To Summarize

To summarize the above, memory and ageing are directly linked and normal memory loss called forgetfulness occurs as we age.

However, there are certain factors within our control that if taken care of can not only slow down this memory decline but help to improve and increase memory.

Take care of them and you will be certainly rewarded.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.


References

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20434658_last,00.html

http://www.onlineuniversityrankings.com/2007/08/20-foods-that-w.html

http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/6-foods-to-help-improve-your-brain-memory-power/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_and_aging

http://www.human-memory.net/disorders_age.html

http://www.apa.org/pi/aging/memory-and-aging.pdf

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Preventing_memory_loss.htm

http://www.helpguide.org/life/prevent_memory_loss.htm

http://www.cornellcares.org/pdf/handouts/cei_memory.pdf

Some Of My Other Hubs On Health

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly

Comments

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 16, 2013:

Thanks Girish, glad you liked the info.

Girish puri from NCR , INDIA on August 16, 2013:

Some very useful tips here, Rajan thank you so much for the useful hub, God bless.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 16, 2013:

You are right, LKMore. Lack of sleep is one of the many factors affecting memory Thanks for stopping by.

LKMore01 on August 15, 2013:

Thank you Rajan. Excellent HUB. Voted up and useful. Lack of sleep is my biggest health issue. It definitely hurts affects memory.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 15, 2013:

@rebecca-glad you like the information. Thank you.

@truthfornow-every bit counts and water is a very important nutrient. Thanks for stopping by.

@ladydeonne-glad you found things you could relate to in this hub.Thanks for the votes and sharing.

Deonne Anderson from Florence, SC on August 15, 2013:

Rajan,

You did a great job in writing this hub. You presented lots of useful information that we all can use and benefit from. Maintaining a healthy and well functioning brain is important. What I need to improve upon is drinking more water. Thanks for the reminder. Voted up, useful, and shared.

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on August 14, 2013:

Very detailed, good information here. It is amazing how beneficial simple things like exercise and drinking water can help you, even with something like memory. It is good to stay active to keep the mind going. Thanks for putting all this information in one place for easy reference.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on August 14, 2013:

Thanks, Rajan, for helping us learn to preserve the gray matter. Great list of good foods for the brain's function. Keep giving us great nutritional advice. You're the best!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 12, 2013:

@Peggy-exercising the brain is as important a stimulation as it is to the body's muscles and keeps it working like a well oiled machine. Glad you find the information useful and interesting. Thanks for the read and sharing.

@Careermommy-I'm glad the emphasis on enough sleep is realized as one of the important factors in maintaining good memory. I appreciate your comments and read. Thanks.

@vertualit-Thanks.

@Jo-thanks for the appreciation and visit.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on May 10, 2013:

Rajan, another class act; one more to add to my collection.

Excellent!

Abdus Salam from Bangladesh on May 10, 2013:

:) A shirt without button does not called shirt and a man without memory does not called man. Very informative and Useful hub. Thanks for sharing..

Tirralan Watkins from Los Angeles, CA on May 10, 2013:

rajan jolly, you offer very valuable information. I know that I need to get more sleep. I do find myself being forgetful at times and I see how lack of sleep can contribute to this. Thank you for listing foods that will boost the memory. This is an excellent hub.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 10, 2013:

Excellent hub Rajan! You have covered this topic very well and this might just be a wake up call for people reading it if they are not doing everything possible to retain their memory. Voting this UUI and sharing and pinning. Here is to good mental health!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 22, 2013:

That's the best thing to do-growing one's own produce. Nothing could be fresher and healthier than this. Thanks for the visit, comments and votes

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on April 22, 2013:

We try to grown all our own vegetables in our garden and I freeze or can many vegetables to last us until the next summer. Eating home grown vegetables and fruit is so much better for us. Exercise and "using " your brain is very important as well. I do not dring enough water, I will have to do better on that. Very good hub, as always! Voted up, useful and interesting! :)

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 14, 2013:

Paul, I haven't taken ginseng but we have Brahmi in Ayurveda which is good for memory. I haven't taken that either.

I believe eating a lot of naturally healthy foods along with exercising the mind and body should keep one's mental faculties good for a long long time.

Thanks for reading, commenting and all the sharing.

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on April 13, 2013:

rajanjolly,

This is a well-written very useful and interesting hub. As I have grown older, at times I have experienced instances of forgetfulness in not readily remembering a name. Being physically and mentally active teaching at school has really helped me retain memory. I don't take any special supplements, but my wife makes sure that I eat well. A lot of Chinese and Orientals have taken gingseng for brain health. Have you ever taken it? Voted up as useful and sharing. Also Pinning and tweeting.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 12, 2013:

Thanks for commenting, roc!

Rosemary Cole from Cape Town, South Africa on April 11, 2013:

Thanks quite useful, got to get back to learning a language to get the brain cells going.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 09, 2013:

@Aurelio-good to know you appreciate the info. Thanks.

@Sueswan-lol, thanks.

Sueswan on April 09, 2013:

Hi Rajan,

Great information and videos . I am bookmarking this hub. I am forgetful when it comes to remembering where I put something.

Voted up and awesome

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on April 09, 2013:

Since I'm getting to the age of forgetting more and more things, I'm going to have to make an effort to eat some of these recommended foods. Voting this Up and Useful.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 06, 2013:

@ moonlake - thanks. Regular intake of these foods will help.

@ Mahaveer - If we eat these foods we need not worry about our memory. Thanks for visiting.

Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on April 06, 2013:

Great hub.... Hope I remember all these things :) :) :)

moonlake from America on April 06, 2013:

I need anything that will help my memory. I shared this. I always hate it when I tell a story again to someone because my memory is so bad. Interesting hub and with lots of information. Voted up.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 05, 2013:

Rasma, we all that those extra hours in a day. However, good sleep will make us more productive and that in a way could be thought of as having gotten extra time.

Thanks for stopping by.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on April 05, 2013:

Thanks for sharing this interesting and informative hub. I agree with everything however that need for sleep is rather difficult because sometimes I have so much to do there just isn't enough time for too much sleep. Passing this on.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 05, 2013:

@ Nithya - thanks for stopping by and commenting.

@ beingwell - good to hear that. Thanks for visiting.

@ Girish - Thanks for appreciating.

@ Devika - appreciate your visit and comments.

@ lisa - I hope you will regularly consume these foods. Thanks.

Lisa Chronister from Florida on April 05, 2013:

This is a great Hub! I have a terrible problem with memory, so I will definitely be trying these tips! Thanks so much for sharing, I voted up.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 05, 2013:

Loss of memory goes with age and you did this hub so well with the many valuable points mentioned and the correct foods that one should be focused on. A healthy lifestyle surely will keep us fit and with a good memory.

Girish puri from NCR , INDIA on April 04, 2013:

Very useful hub for many, and i find the problem is rising day by day, thank you Rajan, for sharing this beautiful hub.

beingwell from Bangkok on April 04, 2013:

That's a great list, rajan! I think I'm eating most of the foods mentioned here. Voting up.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on April 04, 2013:

Great hub. Exercising the brain is very important to keep it working in top gear. Thank you for sharing useful and important information.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 04, 2013:

@ sweetie - thanks for sharing this information here. And thanks for visiting.

@ Carol - thanks for all the votes and sharing.

@ Joe - thanks buddy.

@ Margaret - thanks and the importance of water cannot be ignored. Thirsty or not we must drink water.

@ Kathryn - thanks for the compliments. Appreciate the vote and sharing.

@ Bill - thanks my friend. Glad this is of help.

@ Heidi - thank you.

@ Eddy - good to see you as always. Thanks.

@ Jaye - thanks for the visit and vote up.

@ wetnosedogs - thanks, my friend.

wetnosedogs from Alabama on April 04, 2013:

Appreciate this interesting and useful hub. I need to eat more of the good stuff.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on April 04, 2013:

Very good hub with excellent information for a health mind, healthy life.

Voted Up++

Jaye

Eiddwen from Wales on April 04, 2013:

Another brilliant share rajan ;what anamazing series and your hard work so obviously paid off.

Enjoy your day.

Eddy.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on April 04, 2013:

Always enjoy your very informative hubs! You're definitely a go-to health resource here on HP. Voted up!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 04, 2013:

Very helpful and useful, Rajan! I do need this hub and its information. Thank you!

blessings always,

bill

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on April 04, 2013:

This was a very informative, useful and enjoyable article for me to read. I like living a healthy lifestyle, and it is nice to know what to consume and to do or to avoid doing to help retain memory as I age. Well done, and I am sure I will be coming back to this in the future. Voted up and sharing.

Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on April 04, 2013:

You covered this topic so thoroughly. One of the things I never thought about was the importance of water to brain function. Although I follow almost all of the things you outlined, I don't think I drink enough water, and will have to start doing so. Excellent hub - voted up, interesting, useful and sharing.

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on April 04, 2013:

Ah, Rajan Jolly! I seem to have misplaced my car keys. Can you help me? Ha-ha! An amazing phenomenon, isn't it? That one can remember vividly details from 40-50 years ago yet have no clue as to where he or she put an object just 5 minutes ago. This is an amazing article, my friend, and one that both my wife and I can benefit greatly from. Thank you so very much for the hard work and time you invested in putting it together so well. Have a wonderful day, my friend! Joe

carol stanley from Arizona on April 04, 2013:

You did a super job on this hub and covered all the bases. We do most of these things..maybe all. I think these suggestions are the key to ahealthier brain..Eating well, exercise, social, challenging the brain. Not only do these things help the brain but help you feel better. Voting up, sharing, pinning and tweeting...

sweetie1 from India on April 04, 2013:

My grandfather died at age of 96. He never had any health problem but memory loss after he was 93. Only thing he did in his life was he walked a lot because he had no vehicle and had regular meals two times a day and ate before sunset. He was vegetarian so I guess he remained healthy till 93 including mental health because of his regular exercise and regular high fiber vegetarian meals.

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