Have you found yourself having a “senior moment” lately? Some call it “brain fog,” or even comically refer to it as a “brain fart;” but regardless of what you call it, it is a lapse in access to memory that can frustrate us – especially if it's effecting our short-term memory.
If you're having these memory hiccups, rest assured that you're not alone. Many people who eat what is called the “Standard American Diet” are feeling the pains of forgetfulness. Unfortunately, this problem seems to worsen with age. According to a study by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center, which was published in the December 2008 issue of Annals of Neurology, the culprit seems to be blood-sugar levels that are impacting a part of the brain known as the dentate gyrus, a part of the hippocampus that acts as the brain's “save” button. So if you set your keys down a few hours ago and can't seem to find them, you likely have a decreased functioning in this region of your brain.
The bigger picture is that as you age, your body loses its ability to metabolize sugar as efficiently as you did when you were younger. But with the overabundance of carb/sugar-heavy foods as convenient options for our diets, even younger people are feeling the effects of sugar-intolerance.
One study found that regular exercise helped improve memory, likely resulting from the impact of exercise on decreasing sugar-intolerance, meaning that less sugar will remain in the bloodstream.
Aside from exercise, consciously reducing your daily sugar/carb intake is a sure way to make improvements. This is easily done by avoiding sweets, bread, and fruit juice – especially in the mornings – opting instead for protein, healthy fats, and moderate amounts of starchy carbohydrates from vegetables.
If you're interested in finding out more about making the right changes, contact Melva at ACC Adult Home Care at 440.320.3335 and ask to speak with our on-site Holistic Health Coach. As always, if you or a loved one may need extra help at home, give us a call and ask for a free consultation!
Melva Sherwood, RN