Your mind will change as you age, and unfortunately there is no real way to avoid it. Over the years your brain will start to shrink, and along with that will come some shifts in cognition and memory as well.
While you can’t prevent this from happening, there are things you can do like exercise, eat healthy, and take some supplements that can help slow this naturally occurring process.
If you are trying to choose foods that are healthy for your memory, things like fish, berries and some nuts can serve as effective brain-boosting snacks.
But just as there are foods that are good for your brain, there are plenty of foods and drinks that can harm your cognitive health over time, too. And by far, one of the The worst drink for your brain and memory is alcohol.
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How does alcohol affect memory loss?
If you’ve heard the term “blackout” before, you’re probably aware that there is a link between drinking alcohol and memory retention. But short-term memory loss due to unconsciousness isn’t the only side effect of drinking alcohol on your memory and brain health. Countless studies have linked drinking at moderate levels to an increased risk of dementia, worse memory performance, and lower cognitive scores.
A recent observational study published in 2021 found that there is no “safe” level of drinking when it comes to brain health. Oxford University researchers have found that increased alcohol consumption is linked to poorer brain health, as evidenced by lower amounts of gray matter with higher levels of alcohol intake. Gray matter is responsible for processing information and releasing new information.
“Brain size decreases with age and is more severe with dementia. Smaller brain size also predicts worse performance on a memory test,” lead author Anya Topiwala, a senior clinical researcher at the University of Oxford, explained in an email to CNN.
The effect of alcohol on the brain as you age
As you age, the effects of alcohol on your brain can decrease your performance on memory tests as well as increase your risk of developing brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
One JAMA Network is open A study of older adults without dementia found that drinking more than 14 drinks per week (or an average of two drinks per day) was associated with lower cognitive scores among participants 72 and older compared to those who drank less than one alcoholic drink. week.
A large body of research has identified a link between heavy drinkers and a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia than those who drink moderately.
You don’t have to completely abstain from alcohol if you want to preserve your memory performance. the JAMA Network is open The study found that complete abstinence from alcohol was also associated with lower cognitive performance in the same way as heavy drinking, and that lower alcohol intake was actually associated with lower risk of dementia.
However, the Alzheimer’s Association notes that “the link between alcohol and dementia in non-alcoholic drinkers is still not fully understood, and individuals who do not currently drink alcohol should not start out as a way to prevent dementia.”
Current evidence suggests that a healthy lifestyle – including drinking in moderation – is the best way to reduce memory loss and the risk of cognitive-related diseases.
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