Growing forgetful? Finding it hard to keep your focus and concentration? You can blame it on age, but here’s the good news: recent research shows that your brain can repair and renew itself. Even those who have suffered from major trauma form new neural connections and ‘retrain the brain.’ So can you!
Here are some simple tips on what you can do to improve memory and concentration as you grow older. Little things like diet (or exercises that take little more than half an hour a day) can keep your mind sharp for many years.
Learn something new
Your brain is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. But the thinking we do in the office doesn’t exactly keep us sharp, since the problems we encounter are often repetitive. Stretch those brain muscles with completely new activities. Learn a new language. Read books on anything except work, parenting or your field of expertise. Sign up for a fun online class. Visit museums and look at artwork. Join discussion forums where you can exchange ideas with other people on politics, religion, social issues.
Eat brain food
Nutrients can help fire up neurotransmitters and strengthen the connections between brain cells. They can also stimulate the proteins that protect the neurons. Some examples are fish that are high in omega 3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA. You need to increase your intake of DHA as you grow older, and possibly take supplements. Studies show that brain tissue of 60 year olds contain 22% DHA than the brain tissue in 20 year olds, so a high DHA diet can help build your reserves.
Spices like rosemary, cinnamon, turmeric, oregano, basil and thyme can also prevent brain inflammation. Try adding 3 teaspoons of these spices into your daily diet, by sprinkling them into your food as you cook. Cinnamon is great with coffee, and oregano and basil can be included in your sandwich spreads.
Sugar and saturated fat, on the other hand, can weaken your brain because they make your brain more vulnerable to damage from free radicals.
Make time for yourself
Work life balance can help you stay smart and alert! Studies show that working 55 hours a week can affect your logic and reasoning. Too much work and lack of sleep, plus the stress and pressure, can drain your brain as well as your body. Experts recommend taking 20 minute breaks just to let your mind rest between tasks, and getting a good night’s sleep. (Read our tips on how to find work life balance on really busy days.)
Photo from journeyofawoman.wordpress.com