Rebooting Your Memory After Covid

In September 2022 I got Covid. My husband Craig and I were about half way through our six month trip around Europe when I got laid low with the virus in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

While I felt pretty average for three days with a fever and bad throat once I recovered I had enough energy to walk the walls of Dubrovnik and celebrate with a cocktail overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

Not surprisingly as I started to get over it my husband Craig went down with it as we headed to our next stop, Korcula. It was a similar story with him. He felt pretty unwell for a couple of days but recovered quite quickly.

Like most people we continued to get headaches for a few weeks and experienced bouts of lethargy but all in all I think we were blessed to have such mild cases and not have it affect our travels too much.

There was one surprising side effect however that I wasn’t expecting and that didn’t go away after a few weeks.

That was short term memory loss.

Initially I thought it was just me but when Craig told me he was having problems as well I knew it must have been linked to Covid and the annoying thing was it seemed to be getting worse not better with time.

It was as if our Brains had lost their ability to connect to certain information.

Simple information like what we had for dinner the night before, the name of the town we had just stayed in or the name of someone we loved from home.

Our working memories, the ones that help us run our day to day lives and have every day conversations were just not working properly. We would start conversations about recent events and find out we just couldn’t finish them because there were too many gaps.

In November 2022, three months after having Covid we returned to Australia and our short term memories had not improved.

While we had been living a healthy lifestyle learning new things, seeing new places, eating great food and walking 10 kms a day while we travelled, I realised that if our Brains were going to recover from Covid we needed to supercharge our diet with Brain healthy foods and really challenge our Brains to form new connections and get our short term memories working again.

One of the things I have also realised over the past few months is that we are not alone with this issue and on-going short term memory loss is quite a common side effect among many Covid sufferers.

A recent study of 5,400 people by researchers in the medical school at the University of Hull in the UK has shown that short-term memory scores for people who had experienced Covid were significantly lower than a non-Covid group in every age group from 18 – 85 except for the youngest group of 18 – 24 year olds.

The good news is for sufferers that this study also showed a correlation between the number of months (less than 1 month – 17 months) since having Covid and memory scores suggesting for most people, excluding those diagnosed with long Covid, memory function can recover over time after a Covid infection.

For Craig and I, it is now 8 months since we had Covid and I would say our working memories are sitting at about 90%. Three months ago I would have scored them at 70%.

The important thing to recognise is that while time does heal, there is so much more you can do.

Let’s start with how you are feeding your Brain

The old adage, you are what you eat not only applies to the body but also your Brain. Your Brain is an energy hungry organ and it consumes 20% of the calories you consume.

So what you eat makes a big difference to how well your Brain functions and how quickly it will heal.

FATS – One food the Brain absolutely needs is healthy FATS

Did you know 60% of a healthy Brain is comprised of FAT?

The sort of FAT you eat is what is important so fill your diet with the following foods:

  • Wild caught salmon – at least once or twice a week
  • Seafood including prawns – once a week
  • Olive oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil – add it to your meals
  •  Avocados – 1 or 2 a week
  • Nuts – a handful of walnuts and almonds every day

HINT: Omega 3 fatty acids are really important for the Brain so consider taking a good quality Omega 3 supplement high in DHA to give your Brain that added help it needs.

Superboost your Diet with Polyphenols

These plant nutrients are wonderful for your overall health including your Brain where they have a positive effect on your Brain’s ability to rewire and create new connections.

  • Colourful fruits and vegetables – the more colourful the better. Aim for 5 – 7 serves a day including leafy greens like Kale and Spinach and a handful of Berries
  • Coffee or Tea – Make sure it is good quality and no more that 2 cups per day
  • Cocoa – Try to acquire a taste for dark chocolate and aim for 1 – 2 squares of 70% or stronger every day or add cocoa to a smoothie
  • Seeds – Add them to salads, put them on cereal and in smoothies and mix it up with Sunflower, Pumpkin, Sesame and Hemp seeds
  • Herbs and Spices – I aim to add herbs and spices to all my meals as they are a powerhouse of goodness. Rosemary is particularly great for memory and turmeric and ginger help with inflammation.

HINT: Why not start the day with a green smoothie and include all the polyphenols and healthy FATS your Brain and your body need in a day. Create your own personalised nutrition bomb full of greens, coconut milk, nuts, seeds, avocados, berries, ginger or turmeric and coconut yoghurt. Your Brain will love you!

Exercise your Body and your Mind

More and more research is showing the more active you are the less your risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of Dementia.

Why?

Because for your Brain to work well it needs a good supply of blood flow and oxygen and when you exercise you send fuel, nutrients and neuroprotective chemicals to your Brain.

Finding 30 mins every day to get active and move your body will help your Brain heal and stay more engaged and alert.

Hand in hand with exercising your body comes the need to exercise your mind.

Your Brain thrives best when it is learning something new every day. Learning helps to create new neurological pathways and keep your Brain agile and flexible.

HINT: Don’t just accept you can’t remember something. Exercise your mind by continuing to focus on what you are trying to remember until you find that connection again. Eventually it will come, and it gets easier over time as your Brain gets healthier and used to being challenged.

Sleep Glorious Sleep

Why is sleep so important to the health of our Brains?

Because when we sleep our Brains clean house and heal.

When the sun goes down the pineal gland in our Brain releases the sleep-inducing hormone Melatonin. Melatonin helps us to wind down at the end of a busy day and prepare our bodies to sleep.

Melatonin also regulates something called autophagy whereby old and damaged cells get recycled and DNA that has been damaged through too much oxidative stress can be repaired.

A good restful night sleep is vital to our cellular health and longevity and to help us recover from illnesses such as Covid while reducing our risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of Dementia.

HINT: Consider taking a daily magnesium supplement to help you relax your body and sleep better. One great way to get a restful night’s sleep is to apply magnesium cream, oil or spray on the bottom of your feet before you go to bed.

Want to get serious about rebooting your memory?

Recovering from Covid and changing old habits and transforming your health can be challenging.

My Memory Rescue Coaching program is designed to help you identify what you need to change and help you make that change and transform your Brain health.

Find out more about my Brain Health programs here

Organise a time to chat here

 

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Embrace Menopause & Thrive

Every woman experiences menopause differently. Together we will find out what will work best for you to help you manage your symptoms, feel well and set yourself up for good health during your 40’s and 50’s.

The right food, exercise and lifestyle changes will help you to:

  • Sleep better
  • Wake up with more energy
  • Have a clearer mind and a better memory
  • Lose some unwanted kilos
  • Have less headaches, hot flushes and mood swings
  • Feel confident in your body and who you are as a woman

Be Well – Age with Confidence

Why is this program designed for women only?

Because researchers have now discovered that not only do women’s bodies age differently to men’s bodies, so to do their Brains and it has all got to do with hormones.

This is one of the reasons why two thirds of Alzheimer’s patients are women and Dementia is the number one cause of death for women in Australia.

This program will take a woman’s perspective on health and wellness and incorporate elements of the Brain Fit, Memory Rescue and Embracing Menopause program.

Taking a bio-individual approach that looks specifically at your health and lifestyle needs you will discover how to:

  • Keep your mind and memory sharp
  • Successfully keep your weight at a healthy level
  • Nurture your body, Brain and hormones with the right foods and supplements to keep them healthy and balanced
  • Slow down ageing through the right exercise and lifestyle changes
  • Have the energy to live the life you want to live
  • Be confident in your body and who you are as a woman

Brain Fit for Life

Did you know that when your Brain works right, you work right and when your Brain is troubled, you have trouble in your life.

When your Brain is Fit you make better decisions, you are healthier, happier, have better relationships and are more purposeful and successful in life.

What we will do to make you Brain Fit!

  • Take a deep dive into how the Brain functions and how problems in different parts of the Brain can affect behaviour and your health
  • Assess your Brain and your Brain health via Dr Amen’s online Brain assessment tool
  • Look at the four circles of Brain health and how to balance your work and home life
  • Fuel up your Brain for high performance through nutrition, supplements and gut health
  • Give you tools and techniques to challenge ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts)
  • Develop a Brain optimisation plan that will protect your Brain for the future

Memory Rescue

Are you noticing that your memory is not as good as it used to be?

Has Covid affected your short term memory?

Is your Brain a little foggy or not as sharp as it used to be?

It is not until our memories start to slip that we realise how essential they are for working and living well.

The exciting news is the Hippocampus which is the memory centre of the Brain makes up to 700 new cells every day. If you put these cells in a growth environment they will thrive, keep them in a toxic environment and they will die.

This program starts with a review of your Brain health using the Dr Amen on line Brain health assessment tool which will give you a personal report of your current Brain health.

Then using the BRIGHT MINDS pneumonic as a guide we will look at each of the 11 major risk factors that steal your mind and what you can do to manage these risks, sharpen your memory, boost cognitive function, reverse brain ageing and decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.