We all have those moments, whether it’s forgetting the name of the movie we saw last month (‘You know, the one with that guy, from… ooh, what was he called again?’), or where we put the car keys – aaaargh! Mostly, it’s because we have busy lives and so many things to juggle. There’s also the fact that the brain changes gradually as we get older – it shrinks slightly in size, for example(1), and communication between the nerve cells slows down; changes in the vessels that supply the brain(2) can also mean blood flow is reduced. While these changes are part of the natural ageing process, there’s still plenty you can do to help protect your brain and feel younger for longer. After all, ageing well isn’t just about looking great, it’s about feeling it, too, and so much of that is in the mind. Staying physically active is one way to keep your mind sharp, for example ; in fact it could even help boost your memory by increasing blood flow to the brain . Plus, there’s nothing more rejuvenating than a bracing walk or a dip in the pool. Remaining mentally active is important, too, – learning a new skill, reading the newspaper every day and regularly socialising can all protect the brain from the effects of ageing(3). Never underestimate the power of sleep, either – lack of it is associated with a decline in cognitive performance(4), so aim to get around eight hours’ a night. A healthy balanced diet rich in omega-3 oils is also vital to ensure your brain receives all the nutrients it needs to be on top form. In fact omega-3s can help you stay physically and mentally active as you get older, thanks to the protective benefits these essential fatty acids have when it comes to your heart, brain and vision.* Just three ways taking a supplement could help you stay sharp and keep up with the younger generation, whether that’s your kids or your colleagues. In fact, at this rate they’ll be lucky if they can keep up with YOU!
*The benefecial effect is obtained with intakes of 250mg of EPA/DHA per day.
(1) Ageing, fitness and neurocognitive function. Kramer A, Hahn S, Cohen N. et al Nature 1999. 400418–419.419
(2) Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory
Kirk I. Erickson,a Michelle W. Voss Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Feb 15, 2011; 108(7): 3017–3022.
(3) Ageing And The Brain. R Peters. Postgrad Med J. Feb 2006; 82(964): 84-88
(4) Sleep Duration and Age-Related Changes in Brain Structure and Cognitive Performance. June C. Lo, PhD; Kep Kee Loh, MSc; Hui Zheng, MEng; Sam K.Y. Sim, BSc; Michael W.L. Chee, MBBS. Sleep. Vol 37, issue 07
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