That tip of the tongue inability to instantly remember celebrity names can be very frustrating and even unsettling. Names of famous people that we could recall at will which suddenly become submerged in a murky haze of foggy inaccessible information can be dispiriting. I was so unnerved that I immediately completed a memory test found online at located at https://cft.foodforthebrain.org/. Without giving myself to many kudos I’m happy to announce that I passed. It’s actually normal to become forgetful as we age and tip of the tongue inaccessibility is something that we’re all going to experience more frequently as we get older. What we do need to be concerned about is when we start to forget much more than our peers and those around us of a similar age. By the time significant forgetting is derailing our capacity to execute in the work place and our mental processes have become scrambled and unclear it might be too late to reverse those processes that have contributed to this form of cognitive decline.
It might be difficult to appreciate but brain ageing actually starts in our twenties and accelerates with each decade. As brain circulation becomes less fluid and our brain cells becomes less efficient at using sugar or glucose to make energy, the batteries that are responsible for churning out this energy become dysfunctional and brain cells start to shrink. This is going to happen to all of us but when this process goes into overdrive we could arrive at a place where substantial structural and functional decline leads to memory deficits that are hard to reverse. Medically this is termed mild cognitive impairment, a state we end up in when these degenerative processes are accentuated, and tragically for some this can lead to dementia within the short time frame of three years.
The good news is that we there is a whole lot we can do to optimise our brain circulation, ensure that our brain cells are using glucose efficiently and prevent our brain batteries from becoming defective. Not long ago I penned ‘The Wellness Guide to Preventing the Diseases of Ageing’ which outlines strategies for preventing brain ageing. The brain wellness programme measures key biochemical events that contribute to neurodegeneration targeting them before they contribute to significant cognitive decline.
The Mediterranean diet, characterized by a high intake of vegetables, fruits, cereals, nuts and olive oil, a moderate intake of fish and alcohol (mostly wine), and a low intake of dairy products, red meat and meat products, optimal levels of B vitamins, vitamins C, D and E, the minerals selenium and zinc together with cinnamon, cherries and berries offer a baseline nutritional blueprint for preventing brain ageing.
We might all become forgetful but we don’t have to sit back and submit to those processes that age our brains without doing our level best to limit their destructive capacities.