Great brain hacks to improve your memory
LAST week I spoke about memory and the ways in which our brains forget or are unable to recall information.
This week I’d like to look at a few ways in which you can help boost your powers of recollection.
( This article contains information related to diet, exercise and supplements, and, as always, it’s best to consult a health professional before radically altering your day-today regimen).
A good night’s sleep
Perhaps the best way to boost your memory and other brain functions is a good night’s rest.
Sleep is key time for your brain to solidify the connections between neurons.
In one study published in the journal ‘Sleep Medicine’, researchers asked subjects to perform some memory related tasks and then either sleep or stay awake. Those who napped remembered more of the tasks they had performed than did those who stayed up.
Seven to nine hours of sleep each day is the general agreed upon amount.
Meditation improves your concentration and focus, and a still mind is better than a busy one when it comes to storing memories.
When under stress, our bodies release cortisol, adrenaline, and CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone).
In small doses, these chemicals are important in a ‘fight or flight’ scenario in which we are confronted with danger.
But if we are stressed over a long period of time, these chemicals can change the structure of our hippocampus, destroying nerve endings integral to information flow.
Jog your memory - literally
Exercise is a key way to increase blood flow throughout your body, including your brain, which in turn enlarges the size of your hippocampus (the key area of your brain for memory) and increases the amount of neurotrophic factor proteins which are necessary for long term memory.
Food for thought
It’s a fairly obvious one, but your brain can’t function correctly without the essential nutrients and chemicals that power it.
Blueberries are a key source of substances called anthocyanins, which are brain-boosting antioxidants.
Anthocyanins shield the brain against both inflammation and oxidation, which can damage neurons and make them less effective at communicating with one another.
Studies suggest that leafy vegetables rich in phytonutrients like vitamin C are also important in fighting against age-related memory loss and neurological conditions.
Fish oil is one of the best supplements you can take as it contains Docosahexaenoic Acid, an omega- 3 fatty acid that decreases the production of memoryinhibiting substances in the brain.
Good old vitamin D can help since it “stimulates the growth of new neurons and helps clear protein abnormalities associated with diseases that affect memory, such as dementia,” says David J. Llewellyn, a research fellow in epidemiology and public health at the University of Exeter, in England.
HEALTHY MINDS: We often focus on keeping other parts of our body healthy, but when was the last time you thought about looking after your thought-machine?