Rescuing your Memory

One of the most surprising things I have learnt over the past few years studying brain health is how complex and amazing your brain is yet how delicate and how easy it is to hurt or damage it.

For me the part of my brain that concerns me the most is my memory. I can honestly say my memory has never been my strong point. In school I excelled at assignments and creative work but ask me to sit down and remember a whole lot of facts for an exam and I would go into panic mode. Numbers in particular are not my strong point.

When I travel overseas I have no problem remembering how to navigate big cities like Rome or London and find my way back to my hotel but ask me to remember the name of my hotel or the number of my room and I am cactus. This is where my husband is handy because numbers are his thing yet direction is not. If I followed him there is a big chance we would both end up lost.

While we all have different brains with different strengths and weaknesses there are some fundamental risk factors for memory loss or general brain health that affect everyone whether you consider yourself to have a good memory or not.

One of the brain specialists I have studied with over the past two years is Dr Daniel Amen, a double board certified psychiatrist from the US who specialises in brain health.

Dr Amen has developed the mnemonic, BRIGHT MINDS to outline the 11 risk factors he believes are critical for memory health which I also use in my Memory Rescue coaching program.

I have outlined these 11 risks factors below and I encourage you to consider each of them and evaluate where you might need to make some changes to keep your brain and memory healthy.

The good news is when you address these risk factors you are helping the rest of your body stay healthy as well.

BRIGHT MINDS

Blood Flow

Your brain absolutely needs oxygen to survive and thrive and uses about 25% of the oxygen your body produces. Getting enough oxygen to the brain relies on good blood flow and nitric oxide production.

If you suffer from hypertension, stroke, transient ischemic attacks, heart disease, erectil dysfunction or a sedentary lifestyle there is a risk you are not getting enough oxygen to your brain.

Retirement/Ageing

Many people stop learning and become socially isolated when they retire from the workforce.

This is terrible for the brain. Your brain needs to be active and challenged every day. It also needs to be socially active and connecting with others.

Inflammation

If you are suffering from brain fog or memory loss than there is a good chance parts of your brain are inflamed. This may be due to a virus or infection, an injury, leaky gut, gum disease or a poor diet and low intake of Omega 3.

We now know how important gut health is to our general health and the fact that the gut and brain are directly connected via the Vagus nerve. If your gut is not healthy it will affect your brain.

Studies over the past few years have also shown a direct link between gum disease and brain health. Just like the microbiome of the gut is important so is the microbiome of the mouth.

If you have digestion or gut issues or suffer from gum disease you need to be proactive about addressing them.

Genetics

There is no doubt genetics can play a role in your brain health. If you have family members with dementia or mental health issues you may be more at risk of having issues yourself.

Epigenetics shows us however that it is your lifestyle and environment that will determine how your genes influence your health in over 95% of cases.

If you have a strong family history of dementia you could consider testing to find out if you are APOE 4 gene which is linked to Alzheimer’s Disease so that you can take a more proactive role in living a brain healthy life.

Head Trauma

Your brain is the consistency of soft butter or custard which is ensconced inside a sharp skull. Any injury to the head is going to affect your brain and concussion indicates inflammation and potentially damage to the brain.

One of more head injuries or a loss of smell is a sign your brain needs some help.

Toxins

Alcohol, drugs, smoking, air pollution, pesticides, mould, carbon monoxide, BPA’s, personal product toxins such as phthalates and parabens all hurt the brain.

Look at how many toxins you have in your life and start reducing the toxic load on your brain.

Mental Health

Suffering from depression, PTSD, Bipolar disease, or other mental health issues indicates the brain is struggling. Getting appropriate treatment and looking at your lifestyle and environment is important.

Chronic stress also has a big effect on your brain and mental health and it is important that you find ways to reduce and manage stress.

Immunity/Infections

If you have an auto immune disease or infections or viruses such as Lime disease, EBV or Herpes Simplex it is important to get treatment.

You can start by building up your immune system through boosting vitamin D and zinc levels and feeding your body the nutritious foods and vitamins and minerals it needs to heal and stay healthy.

Neurohormone Issues

The brain needs optimal levels of hormones to work well and stay well. As we age our hormones change, particularly for women as they move into menopause.

Regularly test your Thyroid, cortisol, testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and insulin levels and work with a doctor or health practitioner who understands what your optimal levels should be and how best to reach them.

Diabesity

Did you know Alzheimer’s Disease if often referred to as Type 3 diabetes? This is because your brain requires glucose for energy. If you have pre-diabetes or suffer from type 2 diabetes, your brain just like the rest of your body has become or is becoming insulin resistant and is struggling to get the energy it requires to work well from glucose.

While ketones are an alternative energy source diabetes is a complex metabolic disease and requires the right medications, diet and nutrients to reduce insulin resistance and give your brain the energy it needs to function well.

The same can be said for obesity. The amount of fat you have on your body directly affects how healthy your brain is. Unfortunately, as the size of your body goes up the size of your brain goes down. Excess body fat is not good for your brain.

Sleep

7 – 8 hours of good quality sleep a night is critical for brain health. When you sleep your brain cleans and heals itself and studies show a lack of sleep affects our performance, our ability to make good decisions and respond quickly and think clearly.

Research also shows us that ongoing issues with getting a good night’s sleep are directly linked to Alzheimer’s Disease.

If you suffer from sleep apnea don’t ignore it, treat it and if you suffer from poor sleep it is important that you find ways to address it and get a good night’s sleep every night.

If you would like to test your memory you can undertake Dr Amen’s memory rescue quiz for free at memoryrescue.com or check in to see how your brain is going at brainhealthassessment.com.

If you would like some more personalised help in improving your memory or your brain health, I offer 1:1 coaching and have two brain health coaching programs Brain Fit for Life and Memory Rescue both which incorporate strategies to address the risk factors in BRIGHT MINDS.

You can find out more about my Brain Health coaching programs here

You can organise a 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.