Everyone probably knows these situations, where one‘s memory or attention span is obviously playing tricks on them. This happens again and again to both young and old. This is because mental performance is not constant and is partly subject to large fluctuations. Nevertheless, such situations can be disconcerting, particularly if they become more frequent. The elderly often ask themselves whether this has something to do with their age.
Mental performance in old age
As with many other bodily functions, mental performance can also be adversely affected by age. Without reminders, like a diary, appointments - for example a check-up at the doctor’s - can be forgotten. Or the information received a few days ago can no longer be recalled as easily. The ability to concentrate may also decrease. Learning is more difficult than before; it requires more effort and more time. Such age-related changes vary widely from person to person.
How do I maintain or encourage my mental performance?
The brain is a “high-performance organ”. Therefore it needs continuous training and stimulation. A constant supply of oxygen and the nutrients that reach the brain via the bloodstream is also key.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet so that you get the necessary energy sources, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. For example, a Mediterranean diet, enough fruits and vegetables, dairy products and fish contain the essential ingredients to support mental performance.
Good circulation is one of the basic conditions for healthy brain function. A healthy and balanced diet is also important in this regard. Avoid risk factors that can lead to circulatory disorders. These include smoking and being overweight. Diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol attack the vascular system. They should be avoided or if necessary treated consistently. Regular physical exercise and sport are valuable as this counteracts obesity as well as the aforementioned diseases.
Brain training and stimulation
Maintain your social contacts and lead an active social life. Varied interpersonal relationships work to stimulate and keep the brain active. The same holds true for lively mental activity. Creative activities like painting or making music have a positive influence on mental performance. Train and occupy your brain as well with thinking and memory tasks. Try a crossword, solve Sudokus or play memory games with family, friends or acquaintances. A challenged brain retains its efficiency.
With a marked decrease in mental performance an early medical clarification can make sense in order to distinguish normal age-related degradation from pathological changes. These include the various forms of dementia. An early diagnosis can ensure that the available treatment possibilities are exhausted and those people concerned and their surroundings maintain as optimal a support as possible.
Herbal support through Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo biloba is a tree species originating in China and Japan. In Asian and Western naturopathy its leaves are a symbol for the brain because of their shape. Extracts from Ginkgo leaves have brain cell-protecting properties, improve circulation in the small vessels and increase the oxygen supply to the cells. Thus they have a favourable effect on reduced mental performance with memory and concentration disorders.