A good memory is essential to performing daily activities. While most parts of the brain serve memory function, it is the hippocampus
, located in your temporal lobe near your ear, which is essential to recalling information previously stored by your brain.
Causes of poor memory function
Memory function typically declines with age but a number of causes may also contribute to poor memory function. These include:
Reduced blood flow to the brain
Your brain needs a steady supply of oxygen in order to function. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the brain. When blood flow is hampered by high blood pressure, stroke, high levels of LDL cholesterol, anemia, cardiovascular disease or other health factors, the brain may be deprived of much needed oxygen causing reduced memory and cognitive function, and even death.
Exposure to toxic substances
Harmful substances like carbon monoxide, aluminum, mercury and lead may damage brain cells causing a decline in memory function.
Hormonal changes that accompany ageing such as the sudden drop of progesterone in women that leads to menopause may also affect memory function. Hormonal changes may also cause forgetfulness in pregnant women.
, anxiety and grief as well as viral, bacterial and fungal infections may also cause memory loss.
Prevent poor memory function
While ageing is inevitable, you can take steps to support your brain’s ability to retain its memory with a healthy diet, lifestyle changes, and adequate supplementation.
A combination of high-fat diet and chronic stress has been closely linked to reduced brain size. While studies show that a high-fat diet alone may not be the immediate cause of poor memory function, it does contribute to memory loss when accompanied by high levels of stress. Fruits and vegetables should be staples of your diet as these contain rich amounts of vitamins and antioxidants that prevent free radical damage to your brain cells. Furthermore, a study by the Oxford University clearly establishes a link between brain shrinkage in elderly people and Vitamin-B-12 deficiency, bolstering previous findings that the B-vitamins are essential to proper function of the nervous system. Lean meat, non-fat milk and vegetables are good sources of Vitamin-B-12.
Physical activity helps maintain good oxygen flow to the brain and has been confirmed in many studies as a major factor in increasing brain size. On the other hand, alcohol and cigarette smoke affect brain size and reduce memory function. Keep your brain functioning properly and reduce your risk of brain shrinkage by exercising regularly, at least 3 or 4 times a week, and avoiding cigarettes and alcoholic drinks. Mental exercise is as important to your brain as is physical exercise. Mental activity that comes with learning new things, solving word and number puzzles, and reading help stimulate renewal of cells although most people simply believe that to maintain brain activity, you need to challenge your mind everyday.
If you are unable to obtain enough nutrients from the food you eat, it is best to ask your health professional for a good multivitamin or health supplement for your body’s needs. Aside from Vitamin-B-12, Vitamin-E and L-Carnitine are also known to improve memory function.
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