Louise Hallinan

Mind

How can your lifestyle affect your memory?

How can your lifestyle affect your memory?

Did you know that dementia is now the second leading cause of death in Australia? The numbers of people being diagnosed with dementia are increasing every year, instead of decreasing. Many families are now affected by dementia with having either a parent, family member or friend being diagnosed.

Did you know that memory problems are one of the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease/dementia?

So it makes sense that if memory problems are one of the earliest symptoms of dementia, you should not be ignoring those memory problems when they occur. They are signals for you to be proactive, find out why they are happening, and not wait till they get worse, because time is of the utmost importance.

Our modern lifestyle plays a huge role as to why dementia numbers are increasing. I have found in my research so many causes of memory problems that I have put them into two categories – medical causes and lifestyle causes. Some of these causes may be able to be treated which may help to improve your memory.

Here are two examples of lifestyle causes of memory problems that you should be aware of:

1. Stress

Stress is one of the major causes of memory problems. When we are stressed and produce the stress hormone cortisol, thousands of neurons (brain cells) can die off. When we are highly stressed, we seem to think less clearly and tend to forget even simple things.

Too much cortisol causes a decline in the daily function of your brain. It also robs your brain of glucose, which is its only source of fuel. Excessive cortisol also affects your brain’s chemical messengers – your neurotransmitters – which carry your thoughts from one brain cell to the next. Many scientists now believe that too much exposure to stress can actually shrink your brain.

2. Foods to Avoid

These are the ingredients found in packaged food products. These particular ingredients have been added to many packaged food products and ‘diet’ drinks found on the supermarket shelves.

One main ingredient to look out for and avoid as much as possible is aspartame, an artificial sweetener. Aspartame is an excito-toxin which may cause brain cells to become over-stimulated.  If they become too over-stimulated this may cause brain cells to die. Check out the packaged food products and drinks in your pantry and look at the ingredient list for Aspartame (950) or (951) and avoid them.

Have you been getting a bit forgetful occasionally and wondered why this may be happening? You may be consuming ‘diet’ drinks as part of your lifestyle because you want to cut back on your sugar intake or are watching your weight. But these ‘diet’ drinks may be the cause of your memory problems. Try to reduce the amount of ‘diet’ drinks you consume. As a result, you may notice an improvement in your memory.

Louise Hallinan is the international award-winning author of Smart Brain, Healthy Brain, a natural medicine practitioner and founder of the Smart Brain Health Centre which specialises in helping Baby Boomers and Generation X mothers avoid the risk of dementia.