Once it was believed that brain function reached its peak in adulthood and then began to deteriorate, which caused memory failures and difficulty concentrating in their golden years.
Currently, it is known that our modern lifestyle plays an extremely important role in the contribution to cognitive deterioration, which is why exposure to toxins, chemicals, poor diet, lack of sleep, stress and more factors can hinder the functioning of your brain.
A healthy lifestyle can strengthen your brain health and even cause your brain to produce new neurons, a process known as neurogenesis.
The hippocampus of your brain, that is, the center of memory, is especially capable of producing new cells and it is now known that your hippocampus regenerates throughout its life (even when it reaches 90 years), as long as give him the tools to do it.
These “tools” are based mainly on lifestyle, which is wonderful news. You do not need expensive medications or any medical procedure at all to give your brain and your memory the boost they need. You should simply try the following tricks to improve your memory.
1. Eat well
The foods you eat – and do not eat – play an extremely important role in your memory. Fresh vegetables are essential, as well as healthy fats and avoid the consumption of sugar grains and carbohydrates. You can find detailed information on the nine foods to strengthen your intellectual capacity, here.
For example, curry, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and nuts contain antioxidants and other compounds that protect your brain health and even stimulate the production of new brain cells.
Increase the consumption of omega-3 fats of animal origin and reduce the consumption of damaged omega-6 fats (from processed vegetable oils) in order to balance their ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fats, is also important. I prefer krill oil instead of fish oil, since krill oil also contains astaxanthin, which not only protects omega-3 fats from oxidation but also seems to be particularly beneficial for brain health.
Coconut oil is another healthy fat that strengthens brain function. According to the research of Dr. Mary Newport, only two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 35ml or 7 level teaspoons) provide the equivalent of 20 grams of medium chain triglycerides (MCT), which is indicated as a way of prevention against neurological degeneration.
2. Doing Exercise
Exercise makes your brain work at its optimum capacity by stimulating nerve cells and causing them to multiply, strengthening their interconnections and protecting them from damage.
During exercise, nerve cells release proteins known as neurotrophic factors. One in particular, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), releases many other chemicals that promote neural health and directly benefit cognitive functions, including learning.
A study conducted in 2010 on primates and published in Neuroscience also revealed that regular exercise improves blood flow to the brain, but also helped monkeys learn new tasks twice as fast as monkeys who did not exercise.
This is a benefit that researchers believe could also work for people.1 In another one-year study, people who exercised on a regular basis had a memory center growth, one or two percent a year, in where the center would usually deteriorate in size.
To get the most benefits from exercise, I recommend a complete program that includes high intensity interval exercises, stretching exercises, strengthening and working the core muscles, all this together with regular intermittent movements.
3. Leave the Multitasking
Used for decades to describe the parallel processing capabilities of computers, multitasking is now the abbreviation of human attempt to do many things at the same time, as quickly as possible. Ultimately, multitasking could slow it down, make it prone to errors, as well as forgetful.
Research shows that you really need eight seconds to store a piece of information in your memory, if you are talking on the phone and carrying what you bought in the supermarket when you take out the keys, then you are unlikely to remember where you left the latter.
The opposite of multitasking would be attention, which helps you focus without being distracted. Students who take the class to improve attention, raised their scores on the reading comprehension test and their memory capacity, also experienced less distracting thoughts.
If you find yourself trying to complete five tasks at the same time, stop and concentrate on one task. If distracting thoughts invade your head, remember that these are only “projections” are not real and let them pass without stress. You can end your day by practicing meditation for 10 to 15 minutes to help you stop rambling and relax to achieve a restful sleep.
4. Sleep Well
A Harvard research indicates that people are 33 percent more likely to infer connections between distant ideas after sleep, 3 but few realize this improvement in their performance. The dream is known to improve your memory and help you “practice” and improve the performance of difficult tasks. In fact, a single night of sleep for four to six hours can impact your ability to think clearly the next day.
It is believed that the process of brain growth or neuroplasticity is the basis of your brain’s ability to control behavior, including learning and memory. Plasticity occurs when neurons are stimulated by events or environmental information. However, sleep and loss of sleep modify the expression of several genes and gene products that could be important for synaptic plasticity.
Additionally, certain forms of long-term potentiation, a neural process related to the fixation of learning and memory, can be triggered during sleep, suggesting that synaptic connections are strengthened while asleep.
As is suspected, this also applies to babies and researchers show that naps can increase the intellectual capacity of babies. Babies who slept between the hours of learning and testing had a better ability to recognize patterns of new information, indicating a significant change in memory that plays an extremely important role in cognitive development.4 There is a reason to believe This also applies to adults, because even among adults, a mid-day nap increases dramatically and restores intellectual capacity.
5. Practice Games for the Brain
If you do not constantly challenge your brain with new and surprising information, it eventually begins to deteriorate. However, what research on brain plasticity shows us is that by giving your brain the appropriate stimulus, you can counteract this degeneration.
One way to challenge your brain is through “games for the brain”, you can find these games on websites like Lumosity.com, Dr. Michael Merzenich, professor emeritus at the University of California, whom I interviewed two years ago , has been a pioneer in research on brain plasticity (also known as neuroplasticity) for more than 30 years, he also developed a computer brain training program that can help him fine-tune a range of skills, from reading and understanding to improving the memory and more.
The program is called Brain HQ and the website has many different exercises designed to improve brain function and also allows you to track and monitor your progress over time. Although there are many similar websites, Brain HQ is one of the oldest and most used.
If you decide to try the mental games, the ideal would be to invest at least 20 minutes a day, but no more than five to seven minutes invested in a specific task. When you spend more than five to seven minutes on a task, the benefits decrease. According to Dr. Merzenich, the main benefits are given during the first five to six minutes of the task. The only disadvantage of brain games is that they could become another “task” for which you need to find time during your busy day. If you do not like these types of games, you can also try learning something new or a hobby (see below).
6. Learn a New Skill
Engaging in “useful and meaningful activities” stimulates your neurological system, counteracting the effects of stress-related illness, reduces the risk of dementia and helps improve health and well-being. 6 A key factor needed to improve your brain function or reverse Functional impairment is getting involved in a task in a serious way. In other words, the task must be important to you or have a particular meaning or interest in some way – it should get your attention.
For example, a study revealed that crafts such as weaving are related to decreasing the odds of having a medium cognitive decline.7 Another study, published earlier this year, found that engaging in “cognitively challenging” activities such as learning to cooking or digital photography improved the function of memory in older adults.8 The key is to find an activity that is mentally stimulating for you. Ideally, something that requires individual attention and gives a great satisfaction … should be an activity you really want to do as learning to play a musical instrument, ecology, build models of boats, crafts or many others.
7. Test the Mnemonic Devices
Mnemonic devices are memory tools that can help you remember words, information or concepts. They help you organize information in a format that is easier to remember. Try:
- Acronyms (like RU to “pick up the grapes”)
- Visualizations (how to imagine a tooth to remember the appointment with the dentist)
- Rhymes (if you need to remember a name, for example think “Shirley’s hair is curly”)
- Fragmentation, which is to divide the information into smaller “parts” (such as arranging number in the format of a telephone number)