Great brain hacks to im­prove your mem­ory

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Northeast Jobs - WITH CHRIS FEBVRE,

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.

Quiet time

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.

Smarter sup­ple­ments

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?

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