I talked about the causes of memory loss in my last article I Have Billions of Brain Cells But I Forget Why I'm at the Store. This week, we will continue our interview with Dr. Bruce Daggy, Adjunct Professor in the Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences Department of Florida State University.
Daggy talked with us about having busy lives, and answers the most important question: Is there anything we can do to improve our memory!
Does having a busy life make us more forgetful?
Dr. Bruce Daggy:
On the extreme side of “busy”, there are highly stressful situations that can lead to PTSD, where the brain can be wired to respond inappropriately to a situation. In less extreme circumstances, if a busy life is affecting things like sleep quality and stress levels, yes, that can impact memory.
Going through a divorce, losing a job or the death of a loved one ... events like these can temporarily affect memory and the thought process.
Is there anything we can do to help us remember better?
Dr. Bruce Daggy:
If you smoke, stop. If you don’t get regular physical activity, brisk walking for 30 minutes most days is a good place to start. And there are online programs like CogniFit that evaluate where you are and recommend games in areas you could improve.
Work with your doctor to know and manage any risks to your cardiovascular health. And although the brain is not a muscle, it shares with muscle the concept of “use it or lose it”.
Learn a foreign language, take up a musical instrument or improve your technique, take a class in something you’ve always wanted to understand.
Supplements can help fill in the nutritional gaps between what our food intake provides and optimal levels. There are nutrients that have been clinically tested in supplement form and found to support short-term or long-term cognitive function.
One example is omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil (especially the fatty acid DHA).