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MEMORY LOSS

FOODS THAT HEAL

  • Lean meat
  • Whole grains
  • Beans
  • Oranges
  • Cantaloupes
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Spinach
  • Soybeans

    WHO’S AFFECTED

  • Elderly people
  • People who take certain medications, such as sleeping pills, antidepressants, antianxiety drugs, and drugs to treat schizophrenia
  • Those with head injuries
  • Alzheimer’s sufferers
  • People who have illnesses that affect the lining or the substance of the brain, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, syphilis, or herpes
    Mild lapses in memory are common with age, and simple forgetfulness such as losing objects is relatively benign
    Age-related memory loss may result from shrinkage of the brain’s nerves, diminished production of brain chemicals, or restricted blood flow to brain tissue
    Profound memory loss is a universal symptom of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
    Genetic factors, head injuries, viruses, and cardiovascular disease may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease

    Nutrition Connection

    Some dietary factors can play a role in preventing memory loss
    Consider these guidelines: Eat a balanced diet
    Protective brain nutrients include complex carbohydrates found in whole grains and breads, and B vitamins found in meat, which help ensure healthy nerve transmission and sufficient quantities of neurotransmitters

    QUICK TIP:

    Drink a cup of coffee in the afternoon A University of Arizona study showed that seniors who drank 12 oz
    (355-mL) of caffeinated coffee in the morning and afternoon, maintained their memory better than the group of seniors who drank decaffeinated coffee
    Get plenty of beta-carotene and vitamin C
    There is some evidence that high levels of beta- carotene and vitamin C found in oranges, cantaloupes, and many other fruits and vegetables, are associated with superior memory performance in people 65 or older
    These antioxidants may delay brain aging and enhance mental longevity and fitness by combating free radicals in the brain
    Consume lots of vitamin E
    In one large study, more than 4,000 people performed tests designed to assess their ability to remember facts
    Those classified as having poor memory were more likely than others to have low blood levels of vitamin E, found in eggs and nuts and seeds
    Other studies have found vitamin E helpful in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
    Get enough iron
    Studies have shown that children score better on tests of memory when their iron deficiency is corrected
    Lean meat, dark leafy greens like spinach, and soybeans are good sources of iron

    Beyond the Diet

    Consider these suggestions that support overall well-being and may play a hand in preserving memory: Exercise
    Exercise can help preserve brain longevity and sustain memory
    Keep learning
    Take up a new hobby or do crossword puzzles
    These tactics may help your mental function
    Consider supplements
    Supplements such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate, gingko, sage oil, and phosphatidylserine—also called PS, Soy-PS, or PtdSer—may help prevent or delay memory loss, but more studies are needed
    Speak to your doctor or dietitian before taking supplements
    Investigate other underlying conditions
    If you have persistent episodes of memory loss, your doctor may run tests to rule out any underlying health conditions
    If you’re taking medications that may be causing memory loss, your physician may be able to suggest an alternative