If you are over the age of 50, have you had moments when have you’ve forgotten where you put key files, or lost words just on the tip of your tongue at client meetings? If so, you’re not alone. According to statistics from the US Bureau of Labor, by 2024, the labor force will grow to about 164 million people, including about 41 million people who will be ages 55 and older. And of those, about 13 million are expected to be age 65+. If you fall into any of those buckets, it’s key to maintain your memory for as long as possible, so you can be your most successful.
Lynda Toth, PH.D, co-author with Pavel Yutsis, MD of Why Can’t I Remember? Reversing Memory Loss, says that stress—even from starting a second business or maintaining a side hustle— can definitely lead to memory loss.
“Cortisol, which is one of the stress hormones, can be harmful because it keeps calcium in the memory pathway too long and destroys the neurons, which is very damaging to the brain," notes Toth. Other reasons include normal aging—as we age we lose neurons and neuron connections that can lead to memory loss.
Dr. Toth suggests the following ways to make the most of what you've now got.
1) Power Up Your Smile. Remove dental fillings and replace them with porcelain or ceramic ones. The mercury in metal fillings may be harmful (some believe) and can affect the brain and nervous system, inflaming memory tissue and preventing the entry of nutrients into the cells.
2) Don't Be a TinPersonAvoid exposure to aluminum. Don't use aluminum pots to cook in. Aluminum accumulates in memory tissue, damaging cells. In fact, autopsies of Alzheimer’s patients show they have unusually huge amounts of aluminum in the brain. But no one knows where this aluminum comes from.
3) Eat Healthy. Eat organic and pesticide-free foods. Pesticides get into the cells and can damage DNA.
4) Get Some Taste. Avoid foods with artificial coloring, monosodium glutamate (MSG, often called "natural flavors" or "natural seasoning"). Also avoid processed foods with taste enhancers called exito toxins such as l-cysteine and aspartic acid.
5) Get Raw. Make sure that your diet consists of enzyme-rich 50% raw foods (fruits and vegetables) to feed the brain. Also, eat lots of fiber which helps remove toxins. And limit your
intake of processed sugar, caffeine and alcohol to lessen the load on the liver and pancreas.
6) Just Cut Bait. Lots of ocean and inland-caught fish are contaminated with mercury. Same with swordfish. Instead, go for deep, cold water fish such as cod.
7). Oil Up. Supplement your diet with omega-3 fatty acids, such as cod liver oil or flaxseed oil. These fats lubricate memory cells.
8) Keep Fit. Exercise helps oxygenate the body, reduces cholesterol, and builds and energizes new memory cells which reduces wear and tear on the brain function.
9) Mind Your Games. Do crossword puzzles and word games (many can be done on your phone) which can stretch your brain and give it a tough workout.
10) Be a Student of Life: Anything that stimulates the brain will help it to grow. That's why as you get older it's even more important to take classes, start a new hobby, or travel, or yes, start a side hustle or second career (as long as you keep at it, despite any frustrations).
11) Get Confident: Research shows that memory improves if you train people to have faith in themselves. Apparently, a confident perspective about your business or side hustle can encourage the brain to improve to the point where its abilities may increase exponentially.
Bottom line: The brain is adaptable, and you are always building new neurons, which means that there is no limit to how long it can develop with the right attention