What can you do in your 40s to prevent memory loss?
Hitting middle age can mean many people start to reassess their lifestyle and think about their future health. But how can the changes you make now help to keep your brain healthy and protect your memory in the long term?
Could this be you?
You may have started to notice the occasional memory slips which are a sign that your brain function is beginning to deteriorate. But don’t panic! A certain amount of brain slowing and forgetfulness happens to many people around this age. Those ‘Where did I put my keys?!’ or a “tip of the tongue” vocab slips, are often common occurrences.
So take these simple steps now to keep your brain healthy through your 40s…
Find your calm space
Stress is a major cause of memory loss. People who are anxious or depressed are more likely to have difficulty concentrating on things, which means they can’t remember them.
That’s why it’s so important to try and find time to de-stress and calm yourself. Yes, we realise it’s not always easy if you’ve got school runs and play dates, early morning meetings and client drinks, but all that’s needed is 10-20 minutes a day spent focusing on yourself.
Tip: Relaxation activities such as yoga, Pilates or mindfulness meditation are all very useful.
Overhaul your diet
Ideally, we’d be eating a healthy diet throughout our lives, but the reality is that often our teens, 20s and even 30s are spent opting for easy food that isn’t always that healthy. However, by the time you hit your 40s, you’ve often got the disposable income, the time and the inclination (often because you’re having to feed your family as well) to start eating healthily. The foods we eat can have a direct impact on our memory, as they contain the nutrients that help to maintain and improve brain health.
Tip: Look out for a wide-ranging diet that includes healthy proteins including oily fish, plenty of fruit and vegetables and vitamin-rich nuts and seeds.
Go out and meet people
As you grow up, you build and develop a wide circle of friends – through school, university, your job. As we get older, our friendship groups may become more select, but they are still extremely important. That’s because there is a link between being sociable and your brain health.
In a European study into the effects of sociability on brain performance, researchers separated a group of people into two separate groups. The first ‘social’ group spent time together having an active group discussion, while the second group watched television passively while sitting together. Not surprisingly, after testing for cognitive performance, it was the first ‘social’ group that performed better than the group that passively watched television together.
Tip: Make a point of going out and meeting new people, through classes, clubs or simply by saying hello and getting to know your next door neighbours.
Find out what you can do in your 50s to help slow down memory loss.