Tips for boosting memory

Tips for boosting memory

Memory is essential in the lives of people. Not having the ability to remember or do so to a limited extent affects the quality of life. Having a good or bad memory depends on many factors: the level of stress, substance abuse, concentration ability, age, the usual diet or intellectual activity, among others. However, following a healthy lifestyle and making a few simple exercises help keep memory fit. This article explains how to do it.

Memory is a very necessary mental capacity as it makes a person knows who he is, who has lived, who has been linked … Old age does not have to be linked to their loss because the decline of aging itself is associated with its operation, not memory itself. Degeneration of basic cognitive processes such as attention, learning and memory, is one of the factors that give a greater sense of loss of autonomy for the elderly. Hence halt their advance has been become one of the key issues of concern today.

Memory enemies

To keep the memory in good shape, it is essential to follow a pattern of healthy lifestyles. There are certain substances and conditions that are real enemies for memory:

  • Alcohol: in high doses causes, long – term changes in the nervous system and causes cognitive impairment, such as Wernicke encephalopathy (brain damage in the thalamus and hypothalamus) and Korsakoff syndrome (permanent damage of areas of the brain involved with memory), diffuse brain damage and alcoholic dementia.
  • Smoking: its harmful effects go beyond cardio-pulmonary disorders and are associated with an increased risk of impaired memory in middle age, since nicotine affects blood flow and decreased attention span and retention of information.
  • Cannabis: produces alterations in short – term memory.
  • Drugs: benzodiazepines (such as alprazolam and diazepam) may act on memorizing new information on semantic memory (general knowledge that are learned throughout life) or autobiographical events.
  • Stress: has adverse effects on memory, even in small doses, can affect short – term memory of young people, with frequent lapses and forgetfulness.
  • Poor night ‘s sleep: the brain needs adequate sleep and rest time to select and sort the memories and knowledge gained during the day. If the rest time is decreased, this consolidation is altered.
  • Inadequate food: the shortcomings of omega-3 and some vitamins, such as B-12, are associated with cognitive impairment. Also have high levels of harmful cholesterol causes poor blood flow to the brain.

By avoiding this list of modifiable risk factors which depend on the lifestyle of a person – while it may not prevent memory loss, you can minimize your risk and slow their appearance.

Memory training in six steps

It is important to train memory every day, no matter how old you are, but, above all, from age 65, age at which the brain loses plasticity and flexibility, aspects that influence memory storage. To keep the memory as long as possible, here are some simple tips:

1. Play board, strategy or mental arithmetic games, or crossword puzzles, it helps keep your mind fit, as intellectual work (read, write, understand …) stimulates and preserves the memory. Even older people benefit from learning to use a computer for the first time since the learning process which has to be at least 15 minutes a day – despite being slower than in youth, is very positive to keep the mind active and to work memory.

2. Change routines prevents the brain automation processes that restrict its effectiveness. It’s as easy as going by changing usual routes used to go to work, to see children or grandchildren or to the market.

3. Train both cerebral hemispheres. This is achieved by trying to perform some tasks with the non-dominant hand, which can be as simple as cleaning or using the mouse. Older people may try to change the wristwatch or vary any site object to look after.

4. Socialize, better outdoors and in groups. An active and sociable life is a great workout because it allows you to receive stimuli constantly and try and contrast information on various topics that comes from others. Civic centers for group activities or hikers or travel groups, is very good choice for seniors.

5. Get enough sleep and enough hours. The brain uses the hours of sleep to store and classify the information obtained during the day. Helps maintain a sleep schedule and routines for getting in and out, no bed without dinner or after a heavy dinner, and exciting drinks. Although aging produces sleep disturbances, it would be sleeping around seven hours per day. In addition to sleep, it is good to practice relaxation if immersed in a time of stress, because it is the greatest enemy of memory.

6. Practice exercise three times a week, it improves blood flow in the brain and also improves cognitive functions. Walking, cycling or swimming are very beneficial cardiovascular activities, low impact, adaptable to the conditions of everybody and recommended for old people. Also Pilates classes, yoga or fitness training for seniors are a good choice.

The close relationship between obesity and depression

The close relationship between obesity and depression

Obesity has become an epidemic in today ‘s society. Over 78 million adults in USA are obese. In addition, its relationship with depression is dangerous: obesity would be associated with an increased risk of depression and in turn, this would relate to a higher likelihood of developing obesity.

The depression can be a cause of some cases of obesity [1]. Ingesting food awakens our parasympathetic system, which makes us feel calm, placid and at ease, improving to some extent the feeling of helplessness that has a depressed person. Depressed people usually do not have the strength or desire to engage in any activity, whether physical or social. Usually they reclusive indoors with nothing to do for hours, having to face days and nights are made ​​eternal. Eating for them can be an automatic activity to fill part of that time.

The fact besides not having energy to perform any activity makes lifestyle very passive. For them it is unthinkable to do some sport. Even to take a simple walk can seem a challenge not seen the strength to cope. In fact, many suffer depression and weariness excessive sleep and can sleep more than twelve hours a day. That makes calorie expenditure very low, so the tendency to gain weight increase. If we add that some of psychiatric medications used to treat depression that cause considerable weight gain, we find that the chances of getting morbid obesity [2] are very high.

Depression, besides being able to cause obesity, may also be a result. The obese people suffer social rejection, self – esteem is often low because of their physical appearance, have more difficulty finding partner or work and often harshly criticized and punished themselves with negative and destructive thoughts. All these problems arising from morbid obesity may be sapping the people to make him fall into a depression.

The way a person can get out of this situation is forcing himself to go out of dormancy gradually. This is going to increase the activity to the extent that can be tolerated. Sleep patterns must start being regulated, sleeping up to eight hours a day. Should also be regulated meals, personal hygiene, household chores … Slowly you must go including trips away from home to exercise, visit someone, do some management …
All this may seem unattainable to a person with depression but should be aware that he is stuck in a vicious circle of inactivity and self-pity that only leads to more inactivity and self-pity. The only way out of this situation is to break the circle.

Psychotherapy in obesity and depression

Cognitive behavioral therapy is indicated for obese people suffering from depression. The focus is on learning dietary guidelines, improve self-esteem, develop social skills, encourage the motivation to lose weight and get guidelines for exercise. Apart from reducing the weight on an ongoing basis, we also learn to resolve conflicts without resorting to evasion and immediate gratification that provides food.

It is necessary that psychotherapy work many aspects of the life of the person as irrational ideas that end up devaluing many affected. An example is the technique of cognitive restructuring, modifying negative thoughts with more adaptive. Similarly, it is usually a component of anxiety that can become an impulse to overeat, so also insists on relaxation techniques.

Psychotherapy is structured in three stages to ensure that the patient does not fail. In a first step, it tries to lose weight but also work motivation. In a second stage, body image is made, you learn to spend free time in a healthy way and are encouraged to practice more exercise. Finally, it continues to work and psycho-educational focus is on improving social skills, as well as the relationship with food.


1- What causes obesity – the risk factors –

2- Obesity definition: what is considered obese or overweight

Too Low Cholesterol and Mental Health

Too Low Cholesterol and Mental Health

While a too low cholesterol levels is not as common as elevated levels, it may be an indicator of a number of diseases (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, bowel cancer, hyperthyroidism, hepatic damage) and trigger symptoms such as depression, lower memory and attention. A too low total cholesterol is present approximately at a value below 100 mg / dl. This corresponds to the equivalent of 2.6 mmol / l, a further conventional unit (SI unit). Get information on the normal cholesterol levels here.

Effects of low cholesterol on mental health

Data sets have shown that patients with low blood cholesterol levels often suffer particularly of nightmares. This applies to both subjects, which naturally have a low cholesterol level as well as for patients who are being treated with cholesterol-lowering drugs. Therefore nightmares are among the potential side effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs. Also shown is a relationship between cholesterol levels and memory performance. Patients present during treatment with cholesterol-lowering drugs had a significantly lower memory and attention than untreated subjects. The link seems directly related to the LDL levels. The reduction in cognitive abilities through to memory loss are also among the potential side effects of cholesterol-lowering drug today.

Depression and Aggression – amplified by low cholesterol?

As memory function and nightmares seem to stand as associated with low cholesterol levels, there is an increased incidence of depression and aggression as well. Various studies have shown that low cholesterol levels of less than 160 mg / dl doubles the risk for the onset of depression. There are differences between men and women: in men, the risk of depression increases when the LDL level is too low, while in women, the risk of suffering from depression, is increasing at too low HDL levels. The result was confirmed in a study in elderly, depressed patients. Those of them who have been treated with a cholesterol-lowering drug, had an increased by nearly 80 percent relative risk of suffering from depression. The surveys of patients show that the cholesterol lowering went with a negative change of mood. The picture is completed by a study that could make a direct correlation between the total cholesterol level and the potential for aggression. Teenage girl with a very low cholesterol levels had increased risk by three times to be expelled from school.

The lack of certain vitamins can cause or exacerbate depression

The lack of certain vitamins can cause or exacerbate depression

All organs and cells in our body need nutrients that provides daily food to carry out their functions properly. An unbalanced diet can produce widely specific deficiencies of certain vitamins or minerals that are manifested by a series of symptoms such as apathy or reluctance, irritability, fatigue and inattention. Among these, we will highlight the followings:

– Iron deficiency is associated with alterations in brain functioning, decreased concentration, memory lapses;
– Lack of magnesium makes us susceptible to stress;
– Shortage of thiamine (B1) is a cause of depression, irritability, poor concentration and poor memory;
– A slight deficiency niacin (B3) can cause depression;
– The lack of pyridoxine (B6) can cause irritability and depression and low B12 alterations in the nervous system.

To correct these deficiencies, supplements can be taken, however it is important to obtain them naturally from foods. Below are the good sources of these crucial viamins and minerals our brains need.

– Iron: meat, liver, egg yolk, legumes, nuts, whole grains and fortified;
– Magnesium: cereals, vegetables and fruits, nuts, chocolate, water;
– Thiamine: whole grains, vegetables and meats;
– Niacin: viscera, meat, fish, legumes and whole grains;
– Pyridoxine: whole grains, liver, nuts, brewer ‘s yeast;
– Vitamin B12: meat, eggs, fish, dairy products, certain algae and fermented soy.

A healthy breakfast is essential to optimal mental activity

A healthy breakfast is essential to optimal mental activity

If you want your brain perform at its best, a healthy breakfast is essential. The most reliable findings today indicate that what we eat at breakfast influences the processes related to the formation and retrieval of memories and in managing complex information.

Scientists engaged in research on topics related to children, have shown that children that skip the first meal of the day, make more mistakes in solving exercises than those who take their time for breakfast. They have also shown that young people who do not eat breakfast perform worse on academic tests than those who eat something before their test.

It seems that the beneficial effects of breakfast are due to increases in the rate of blood glucose, which in turn activates a brain transmitter called acetylcholine. Researchers working in this area, as Professor David Benton of the University of Wales, consider that this neurotransmitter is associated with memory, in particular, the ability to remember new information .

To produce acetylcholine, vitamin B1 is required; thus ensuring that the diet contains a great contribution of this nutrient can help optimize mental activity throughout the morning. Among cereal-based foods containing vitamin B1 include whole wheat or enriched bread and fortified cereals.

Our ability to think clearly does not depend solely on the quality of the last eaten meals. Brainpower is also affected by long-term nutritional quality of the diet in general. If not ingested, for example, enough iron for too long, both the capacity of concentration and IQ may decrease.

It is proven that iron deficiency has negative effects on memory in adults and children, and that in babies and toddlers, it creates learning and attention disabilities.

While women are more prone to iron deficiency, the lack of another micronutrient, iodine, affects both sexes. When the level is insufficient, impact particularly on the initiative and decision-making, and although this problem occurs only in certain European regions and developing country, it is good to consume iodized salt, fish, seafood, meat, milk and eggs to always maintain the necessary input.

Also, the lack of certain elements in the diet can cause deterioration of mental activity, a good combination of other helps to quickly activate the brain. Caffeine for example that has a mild stimulant effect, acts on the central nervous system and keeps us alert. Experiments indicate that caffeine can accelerate by ten percent rapid information processing in the brain, and that a coffee after helps counteract the usual drowsiness after filling the stomach with food and stay focused.

The important thing is not what you drink, but drink enough. A tiny reduction in hydration can affect intellectual ability. Remember that when you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated, so be sure to regularly take breaks during the day to drink, so that the brain is always kept clear.