Many of us worry about our memory after a particularly moment of forgetting.
And now an expert has revealed the 4 everyday habits that can harm your brain health, and make your memory worse.
Miriam Ferrer of Cambridge explained, “Mind-wandering is so common that it’s the fastest-growing area of cognitive science research.”
She explained that bad habits can range from not brushing your teeth to eating processed foods.
Here, she reveals the bad habits that affect brain health, along with 10 quick and easy-to-follow tips for changing the pattern…
1. Consuming “junk foods”
We all know that a diet high in fats and carbohydrates is bad for our bodies, but many people probably don’t realize that this is really bad for our brain health.
“Aside from being high in calories and low in vitamins and minerals, fried foods tend to have a high amount of oxidized fat,” explained Dr. Ferrer.
Oxidized fats are a source of free radicals – molecules that, in large amounts, can lead to oxidative stress and inflammation.
Oxidative stress and inflammation have been linked to several neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
“Because the brain has fewer defenses against free radicals, it makes it more sensitive to oxidative stress than other organs that can handle it better.”
Fitness and wellness expert and nutrition expert Penny Weston breaks down how processed food affects the brain.
Penny, who runs the Made Wellness Center in Staffordshire, said: ‘There are many studies of how processed food affects our brains.
Diets high in processed foods increase insulin levels and cause inflammation throughout our body including our brains.
Diets high in sugar can lead to poor mental health by affecting your mood, memory, and behaviour.
Penny described how high sugar levels can make us “fatigue, irritable, and tired.”
“Processed meats such as bacon and sausage are full of sodium, preservatives and sodium nitrate, which have been shown to cause problems in the body and can lead to dizziness and brain fog,” she said.
Penny recommends eating a well-balanced diet rich in all the essential nutrients that come from plant-based benefits, such as plenty of fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, and plant-based proteins.
Keep checking portion sizes, limit high-fat, high-salt, and high-sugar foods, and find snacks you enjoy that also fuel your body.
Penny insists that there are many foods that are good for the brain and help prevent diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
“It’s a good idea to eat a diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants,” she said.
“Foods like blueberries, which are great antioxidants, are beneficial for cognitive function.”
Broccoli also helps reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s because it contains glucosinolates which when broken down by the body produce isothiocyanate, a molecule that neutralizes cancer-causing toxins in the body.
“Leafy greens are really good for you, especially kale, spinach, and watercress, because they’re full of vitamins B, E, and K, which all help with brain health and improve memory and focus,” Benny added.
“It’s also great to add plenty of pumpkin and sunflower seeds to your diet, as they’re packed with minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron, and copper, which help with nerve signal transmission.”
Fatty fish is also good for the brain because it is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which your brain needs to build brain and nerve cells.
Finally, she said, “If you’re looking for a tasty spice, turmeric has a lot of benefits for the brain.”
It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. Research has shown that it may reduce symptoms of depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Not getting enough sunlight
Sunlight makes us happy, and ensures that the body makes vitamin D, which is not actually a vitamin but a hormone.
Vitamin D was initially discovered for its role in bone health, but we now know that it also plays an important role in many bodily functions, including the brain.
Data from epidemiological studies suggest a link between low vitamin D levels and various neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Ferrer: Although it’s not clear how vitamin D protects the brain, researchers think it may be in part by protecting brain cells from free radicals (thereby preventing oxidative stress and inflammation) and through the opposite effect of cortisol (the “stress” hormone)-related High levels of cortisol and stress increase the risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders.
3. Being a French Fries
Not only is being a couch potato bad for your physical health — but it can also affect your memory, Dr. Ferrer explained.
She said it’s good for your brain to get up and take a walk in the park or garden.
Exercising, even if it’s just a 30-minute walk, improves blood circulation in the body, including the brain.
She added: “Good blood circulation in the brain means brain cells will get more oxygen and nutrients, making sure they remove the ‘bad stuff’, such as free radicals, that can be harmful to your brain in excess.
4. Drinking soft drinks or alcohol
Penny explained that sugary and alcoholic beverages also harm brain health,
She explained, “Sugary drinks, including juices and soft drinks, contain huge amounts of sugar, which is harmful to brain health, as it causes encephalitis and can contribute to memory loss.”
Alcohol can cause many problems too, including brain fog, due to sulfites, and foods high in trans fats and synthetic ingredients can cause inflammation in the body and brain, which studies have shown can increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
10 quick tips to improve your brain health
1. Eat well
Dr. Ferrer recommends eating a diet rich in antioxidants, with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
She explained, “Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals are compounds that can cause damage if their levels are elevated.
They are linked to multiple diseases, including cognitive decline as well as diabetes and heart disease.
2. Try a new activity
A mentally stimulating activity can help build brain and cognitive function.
It could be learning to play a musical instrument, learning a language, or a new hobby that stimulates the brain.
By learning something new, you can improve your memory, concentration, and daily functions.
3. Stay connected
Evidence suggests that social activity helps maintain thinking skills and slows cognitive decline later in life.
In addition, those who remain socially active and interact with others report being happier and healthier overall.
Socializing can stimulate attention and memory, as well as help strengthen cognitive function; You may just be laughing and talking, but your mind is very hard.
4. Move over
Physical activity is good for your body and mind, as exercise increases blood flow and oxygen delivery to your brain.
“Just taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make a difference,” said Dr. Ferrer.
5. Get enough sleep
Sleep is important to a number of brain functions, including how neurons communicate with each other
While you sleep, your brain is repairing itself, so try to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.
Sleep is important to our overall health and thus our brains can’t escape.
It has been proven that excessive anxiety and stress lead to lower performance on cognitive tests.
Dr. Ferrer suggests trying yoga, meditation, walking or listening to music to relax and clear your mind.
Stress management may reduce stress-related health problems, which include cognitive problems and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
7. Check your blood pressure
High blood pressure can lead to cognitive decline as well as heart problems. Monitor your blood pressure regularly.
Blood carries oxygen, glucose and other nutrients to the brain, which it needs for energy and to function optimally.
High blood pressure can also cause blood clots to form in the arteries leading to the brain, blocking blood flow and potentially causing a stroke.
8. Cut down on sugar
High blood sugar over time damages the blood vessels in the brain that carry oxygen-rich blood.
Brain cells can die if they don’t get enough oxygen-rich blood, which can lead to dementia.
Dr. Ferrer recommends cutting out our sugary drinks and beverages, as well as following your doctor’s recommendations to control spikes in blood sugar.
9. Cut back on alcohol
Heavy drinking is a high risk factor for cognitive decline because it interferes with communication pathways in the brain and can affect the way the brain looks and functions.
Not only can alcohol make it harder for the brain to control balance, memory, and speech, but it also impairs judgment.