Memory lapses and brain disorders do not occur suddenly. The brain health depends on many factors and is being ruined or cultivated throughout the lifespan of a person. Also, the memory decline isn't inevitable, and not every senior experiences it. Contrary to the belief of many elderly people, memory lapses are not always the early signs of Alzheimer's disease - many other reasons can explain the memory deterioration as well. Sluggish blood circulation, dehydration, malnutrition, intoxication, the side effects of certain prescription drugs and hormones, lack of mental exercise, depression, stress, sleep disorders, negative affirmations all add to the memory loss. Brain cells depend heavily on oxygen, water, and nutrients supply. Those who learn to maintain a healthy lifestyle, mental activity, interest in exploring new things, and joyful atmosphere at home and at work have all chances of enjoying their brain vitality at the old age. Brain as the Body's Control Center Brain performs activities needed for communicating different types of information with the outer world. It is responsible for receiving, organizing, storing, retrieving, and distributing messages to guide our actions. The brain also obtains and interprets nerve signals from every part of the body and controls the other organs' functions. Along with the spinal cord, it makes up the Central Nervous System and can be compared with the main switching unit of the body. In addition to memory, language and thought, the brain is involved in processing emotions, sensory messages, and handling physical coordination and the well-being of the whole organism. That is why it is so important that the brain is maintained in good shape as long as possible. Blood Circulation Brain vitality is dependent upon abundant blood flow and requires about 25 percent of all blood pumped by the heart. Blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Any disruption of blood circulation or oxygen supply has a negative effect upon the brain: brain cells (neurons) can be irreparably damaged. Insufficient physical activity translates into slow blood flow and lack of supply of nutrients and oxygen to neurons. Walking, jogging, yoga and other physical exercises promote blood circulation in the whole body and consequently in the brain. Some mental nutrients have a similar effect. For example, you might have experienced an enhanced brain performance when taking Ginkgo Biloba extract. This was mostly due to the increased blood circulation to the brain. Dehydration Like other body cells neurons depend on water supply. When water intake is not enough, brain cells express their "thirst" by headaches, fatigue, poor concentration and unsatisfactory functioning. Also, water is needed for the removal of toxins from the body. When not eliminated properly, toxins accumulate and are delivered by blood to the brain. Many people are accustomed to suppressing their need for water by taking coffee in the morning. Does it help the brain health? Coffee and tea contain caffeine that is highly addictive; heavy use of caffeine results in restlessness, nervousness, insomnia, and memory impairment. Though coffee "uplifts" the mood and helps to concentrate better, the feel of a "lift" is shortly replaced by fatigue and headaches. In a long run coffee does even more harm as it promotes degradation of the memory. Dr. Norman Walker wrote in his book The Natural Way to Vibrant Health: "If all false stimulants such as tobacco, alcohol beverages, soft drinks, coffee, drugs, etc, were suddenly unavailable, I have often wondered how many people would collapse!" Take a closer look at other beverages you may drink during a day. Soft drinks contain artificial dyes such as amaranth (red), ponceau (scarlet), guinea green (dark green), naphthol (yellow), tartrazine (yellow), and artificial flavours, such as, caramel and citric acid. Artificially colored and flavoured drinks lead to cerebral lesions. Commercial juices and concentrates may contain artificial dyes and flavours as well. Alcohol present in beer and wine has a long-range degenerative effect on the brain. Do these beverages provide your neurons with the moisture they require? What liquids will maintain the natural vitality of your brain? Try distilled water and raw juices. Distilled water supplies the brain cells with the water similar to the content of the cells; raw juices bring in organic minerals and vitamins. Visit our page Air and Water for more information about water. In our Online Magazine you will learn how juices can change your life. Brain Nutrient Nourishment Like dehydration, nutritional deficiency makes the brain cells more vulnerable to the harmful attacks of free radicals; the "thirsty" and "hungry" brain gets tired fast and is unable to perform well. How do we feed our brains? A standard American diet includes an abundance of processed foods, refined sugars, and fat. Cherie Calbom, the author of Juicing for Life, began her other book The Juice Lady's Juicing for High-Level Wellness and Vibrant Good Looks with the words: "Our culture teaches us that processed foods, filled with preservatives and synthetic additives, are somehow "natural" and much better for us than fruits and vegetables!" What "nutrients" can processed food, pizza, and fast food deliver to the brain? Processed food contains artificial flavors and colors, chemicals and preservatives, bleaching agents, hydrogenated fats and other harmful ingredients. In addition, food with 5-10 years of shelf life is "dead" from the point of view of nutritional value and cannot nourish your brain. Pizza and fast food are known for containing a high amount of saturated fats. Cured meat holds chemicals added during processing to disable parasites in the meat. Along with other negative effects these chemicals can cause headaches. Fats are essential components of all cells and tissues of the body. The brain depends on the supply of the right fat most of all because it is 60 percent composed of fat. It is also reasonable to assume that the brain can be damaged easily by the wrong kind of fat. Jean Carper in the Your Miracle Brain explains how the chemistry of fat affects the brain longevity. Unrefined vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish oil contain the essential fatty acids some of which are not produced by the body and you need to take them with the products that supply the acids. To maintain the healthy brain you will have to learn how to keep the balance of the fatty acids. By contrast, excessive saturated fats increase free radical production and cause the death of neurons. Margarine is a transfat produced at very high temperatures with addition of chemical ingredients; it is especially detrimental to the brain health. Think about the variety of foods that the nature offers and that can extend the healthy years of your brain! Organically grown fruits and vegetables, unrefined oils and sea products, nuts, seeds, and raw honey will nourish your brain with important vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates. Read more about foods for brain in our Magazine! Mental Activity According to recent studies, memory loss and other mental disorders are mostly due to the death of dendrites, the branches on nerve cells responsible for communication between cells. The dendrites are lost when the brain is not stimulated regularly by mental activities. As a result, like any other organ of the body which is not used, the brain atrophies. Even an old brain can grow new dendrites if the overall mental fitness is maintained. The brain vitality can be saved if you take full responsibility for the health of your brain. Do not get dependent on "magic pills" developed or still in the process of probation. There are a lot of examples of brain longevity in those who led healthy lifestyles and made their brains work. You may want to learn how to naturally empower your brain by stimulating it with memory exercises, such as puzzles, crosswords, logic games. Use the method of forming associations between senses when remembering new information. This is how children get to know the world, and this is what adults miss out. Think of the other side of predictability and routines we enjoy so much. Can they turn the brain on like unexpected events, emotions, and discoveries coming with the exploration of new things? Activate your brain by introducing the novelty into your life! To find out more about the methods of brain motivation please read our recommendations in the Online Magazine. Depression, Stress, and Sleep Disorders Depression and stress worsen concentration and are common reasons of memory decline. They stimulate production of cortisol, which can temporarily block different regions of the brain. Everyone can recall a situation when under a stress they lost clarity of mind or could not retrieve the necessary information from the memory. Stress especially affects the short-term memory and a person can experience a feeling of a sudden "blankness." In addition, excessive cortisol results in more free radicals. Chronic depression and stress kill neurons and precipitate memory disorders. An atmosphere of joy, happiness and relaxation have an opposite effect and promote good memory. Insomnia is another reason that may lead to inability to memorize and recall. During sleep, the brain revises and stores the memory in the brain and recharges itself. Bad sleep habits interfere with this important night function and result in memory lapses and poor concentration during waking hours. It is more common for elderly people to have difficulties in sleeping. However, young people may have similar problems as well. Do you remember Patricia, a heroine in the movie "You've got mail"? She took half of an OTC Ultra Dorm pill against insomnia before bedtime and coffee in the morning - a classic example of killing the brain potential - a sedative drug in the night and a stimulant in the morning to awaken the "numb" brain! Improving sleep patterns will assist achieving better memory at any age.