Keep the brain healthy: How to stay sharp and have better memory

Learn to take care of your brain health and cognitive functions with these tips from Dr Jack Wong (PhD), research director at Brand’s Suntory Asia

Take charge of your own brain health and help your loved ones lead healthier lives by adopting good lifestyle and dietary habits. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Concerned about the episodes of forgetfulness that you or your loved ones have been experiencing lately? Don’t brush it off and think how to do to address them.

After all, early prevention of potential deterioration of brain health as people age is crucial to living life to the fullest, especially in the golden years.

Dr Jack Wong (PhD), research director at Brand’s Suntory Asia, shares some tips on how everyone can maintain excellent cognitive function.

Q: Why is it important to take care of our brain health?

Our brain controls our body’s various functions and reactions, enabling us to understand our surroundings and interact with other people.

Brain health decline due to ageing is normal and can start as early as 30 years old for some people. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

The biggest risk of brain health decline is ageing, and the decline could start as early as 30 years old for some.

Research shows that about 30 to 35 per cent of people aged 65 and above would have some form of cognitive decline as a consequence of normal ageing.*

Q: What are some tell-tale signs of cognitive decline due to normal ageing?

As we age, it is normal to exhibit signs of cognitive decline that can be present in simple acts of forgetfulness like misplacing keys at home. We may also experience difficulty in recalling names, dates or events, and take a longer time to learn new things.

Instances of what are deemed as abnormal would be the inability to identify close friends or family members, the sense of feeling disoriented even in familiar places and the struggle to carry out routine tasks like driving or showering.

Cognitive decline due to ageing, however, is not to be confused with neurodegenerative disease, in which cells of the central nervous system cease to function. Also, neurodegenerative disease is incurable.

Having social interaction is a simple way of keeping the brain healthy and hence maintaining cognitive function. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Q: What are some lifestyle and dietary habits that help support brain health and cognitive functions?

Maintaining a regular exercise routine, as well as quitting bad habits like smoking, can help keep our brain healthy.

Try picking up a new hobby, planning for a holiday or engaging in active interactions with people – these could help to maintain one’s cognitive functions.

In addition, pay attention to what you eat. Keep to a healthy and balanced diet that includes fatty fish for omega-3 fatty acids, berries for flavonoids and green, leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach for vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta carotene.

Consider taking a suitable supplement to support brain health too. An example is Brand’s Memo+ which contains ProBeptigen that has been clinically proven by researchers to help improve cognitive function.

Besides a healthy and balanced diet, consider including a health supplement to boost your brain health. PHOTO: BRAND'S SUNTORY

Q: What is ProBeptigen and how does it help to support brain health?

ProBeptigen, or hydrolysed chicken extract, is a proprietary ingredient from Brand’s. It is derived from Brand’s Essence of Chicken technology with over 10 years of research.

In the company’s most recent randomised, double-blind and controlled clinical study on the effects of ProBeptigen on cognitive function in healthy middle-aged people, results showed that the ingredient can help improve the verbal and spatial working memory of the participants. Currently, ProBeptigen can only be found in Memo+.

A proprietary ingredient from Brand’s, ProBeptigen, which is hydrolysed chicken extract, helps to enhance memory performance. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Q: What is the difference between ProBeptigen and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which help to nourish the brain?

Omega-3 fatty acids are important building blocks of our brain cells. Having sufficient levels of it can help to promote brain health and aid in the proper functioning of the brain.

As for ProBeptigen, research has shown that it can help reduce inflammation and provide high antioxidative capacity in the body, which in turn lends support to improving cognitive function.

Q: How should Memo+ be taken to reap maximum benefits?

It would be ideal to take the supplement regularly – four tablets per day. You can make it a daily routine to take two tablets in the morning and another two in the evening. It does not, however, matter what time of the day you consume them.

* Source: Harada, C. N., Natelson Love, M. C., & Triebel, K. L. (2013). Normal cognitive aging. Clinics in geriatric medicine, 29(4), 737–752.

** Based on a pilot placebo-controlled, double-blind and randomised study on the cognition-enhancing benefits of a proprietary chicken meat ingredient in healthy subjects.

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