As we age we become more forgetful and concentration declines
Throughout the aging process blood flow to the brain starts to decrease and oxygenation of the brain diminishes. Hormones and proteins which protect, repair and stimulate growth, reduce in numbers. In addition, the Hippocampus often deteriorates with aging (the Hippocampus is a part of the brain that is important for memory formation and retrieval).
These processes may give rise to concentration problems, forgetfulness and deterioration in cognitive capacity. For instance, learning performance becomes less, it takes longer to learn a new skill or retrieve information. You are not as quick as you used to be. In the long term you could be faced with cognitive decline.
But, forgetfulness and reduced concentration are part of the normal aging process. It's not the same as dementia.
As we age, the brain is still capable of forming new cells. So, cognitive decline is not inevitable. Imagine your brain as a muscle; if you don't use the muscle it becomes thinner and function will deteriorate. Your lifestyle, daily activities and habits all influence the health of your brain. Also, smoking and the use of alcohol and insufficient fluid intake have an impact. Furthermore, certain medication can be of influence as well as a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Therefore, it is good to know that your lifestyle plays an important part in keeping your brain healthy, just as it is important for overall health:
- A healthy, varied diet is important. Eat enough fruit and vegetables; they are rich in antioxidants which are important voor brain cells.
- Pay attention to your fluid intake, stop smoking and moderate alcohol consumption.
- Excerise regularly. Frequent outdoor walks keep your brain healthy!
- Try to get enough sleep and avoid stress.
- Keep up with your social connections.
- Learn a new skill such as a language or follow a course.
- Keep reading, such as the newspaper, books or magazines. Also, games als Sudoku, Bridge or Scrabble are good for your brain.