By Bunmi Sofola
Have you often walked into rooms and fail to remember why you were there? “We forget to turn off the iron or the cooker. We tell people we’ll call them straight back and don’t. We go to supermarkets checkouts, only to find we’ve left our purses at home.
We can’t remember where we parked the car at the shopping centre. So, what the heck is going on?” Asked Clara, a middle-aged PA to the MD of a bank. ‘’I’m at the computer. My fingers hover, waiting to type out details I’d done for years. But I can’t remember some passwords – let alone the whole details.”
Welcome to the ranks of those who are female and forgetful. The numbers of female scatterbrains are growing daily – and the members are getting younger. Dr. Lisa Lottor, in California, believes short-term memory loss is now so widespread among women that it’s become an epidemic.
According to her: “In fact, it’s a silent epidemic because women don’t really know where to turn.” She first became aware there was something amiss with the female mind when women brought up the subject at her lectures. “I kept getting questions on memory loss. Many older women said their doctors put them on HRT, but it didn’t help.
“And, it wasn’t only older women who were concerned. It went across the board. I started to see younger and younger women at lectures. I’m now convinced that forgetfulness is much more of an issue for women than it is for men. Although it can affect both sexes, women are more likely to notice memory loss in the first place as they pay more attention to their bodies. And, they’re much more likely to be bothered by it.
They’re at the mercy of their fluctuating hormone levels. They tend to be more mentally overloaded than their parents – earning a living, organising the home and children, being at every body’s beck and call with barely a moment to themselves and still under pressure to look good and be nice.”
Other factors that can make the female brains fog up,” according to her, include lifestyle, what they’re eating, tyroid and blood sugar problems, and even toxins in the environment. That is why young women, going between diets and fast foods, can be as scatty as older ones hitting the menopause. “There’s not just an answer like a magic bullet or a magic pill.” Dr. Lottor says although she always begins consultations by checking nutrition. She adds: “Woman are always dieting, cutting out one food group or another and this can take a terrible toll on brain function. What we all need is a balanced diet containing good proteins, fats and carbohydrates.”
She also criticises the amount of sugar many of us take in coffee and smoothies, just for starters. “People are now consuming tremendous amount of sugar.” Such a high intake can, she says, deplete the supply of vitamins in the body and cause free radicals to damage the brain. Lifestyle is next on the agenda. Are we getting enough sleep and taking enough exercise, for example? Do we smoke or drink too much? Are we taking medication? These factors could all affect our memories.
Then, there’s stress. According to Dr. Lottor:”I know it sounds selfish but, with all the demands on modern women, we need to take some time for ourselves everyday to keep sight of what’s important in life. We need to do something that really relaxes us – whether that be taking a long bath, going for a walk or doing some sort of meditation, whatever will empty our brains for a while. Take time to smell the flowers. It could really work wonders for your memory.”
How to beat being scatterbrained!
Elisa Lottor gives these six-step programme to help restore your memory and sharpen your mind:
Eat a balanced diet: High in fruit and vegetable and low in animal fats. Cut down on processed sugar, caffeine and fizzy drinks. Eat carbohydrates in the form of vegetables, fruits and whole grain rather than processed flour, pasta and bread. Eat high-quality fats such as fish oils and olive oil.
Look at your lifestyle. Go easy on the booze, don’t smoke and make sure you get enough sleep and daily exercise. Try to keep your weight sensible. The more fat a woman carries, the more oestrogen she produces, which isn’t good for memory.
Cut down on stress as far as you possibly can.
Exercise your mind. Do puzzles and the crosswords, or play a game of draughts, cards or chess.
Take brain boosting supplements on top of your healthy diet – B Vitamins including folic acid and B12, plus antioxidants such as Vitamins E and C and selenium. Or try the Chinese herbs ginseng and gink::go biloba
Watch your health. Memory loss could be a sign of problems with hormone levels, your blood sugar level or your thyroid gland.
Window shopping? (Humour)
A man and his girlfriend are about to have sex. He asks her to “go downtown.” With a sigh, his girlfriend gets onto her knees in front of him and starts peering at his genitals. She tips her head left and right, studying what she can see.
After five minutes of this, the man asks: “What on earth are you up to?” ‘’I’m doing what I always do when I go downtown with no money,” she says “I’m just looking.”
Show a little kindness? (Humour)
A man goes into a pub with a pet alligator. He puts it on the bar and turns to the patrons. “I’ll make you a deal,” he says. “I’ll open this gator’s mouth and place my manhood inside. The gator will close his mouth for exactly one minute. Then he’ll open it again and I’ll remove my parts unscathed. In return for witnessing this amazing spectacle, each one of you will buy me a drink. The crowd murmur their approval as the man drops his trousers and puts his penis inside the alligator’s closing mouth.
After a minute, the man grabs a beer bottle and smacks the alligator hard on the top of its head. The gator opens its mouth and the man removes his genitals, unscathed. The crowd cheers and the man receives the first of his free drinks. He then stands up again and says: “If anyone wants to try my trick, I’ll pay them N25,000.”
A hush falls over the room. Then a hand goes up at the back of the bar. “I’ll try it,” a sexily- dressed woman says. “Just don’t hit me so hard on the head with the bottle.”