Thinking it should be easier to remember people’s names, where you went on your trip last year or what you had for dinner last night? Research shows that activities that engage receiving, remembering and thinking help improve brain function. Keeping a journal and recording your memories can help. Careful listening and focus releases the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which makes memories more vivid and promotes brain plasticity (the ability of the brain to change). Do activities such as chunking numbers to remember them, test yourself with names of songs and artists, pay attention and try to remember things. Remember, your brain is a muscle, use it or lose it!
#1. Eat Smart: eat a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and good fats. Great foods to include are:
Nuts: Nuts are a source of essential fatty acids. Walnuts, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds are good sources of omega 3 fats which help improve brain function and reduce inflammation. They also contain magnesium which has been shown to improve neuron receptor sensitivity and speed information transmission.
Avocados: great source of monounsaturated fats that help improve blood flow to the brain. Also, a source of Lutein (see below).
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: spinach, kale, broccoli and chard are rich in antioxidants and a nutrient called lutein which not only helps protect against macular degeneration, but also help improve memory. One study showed those who ate 2 servings of greens per day had the brain capacity of someone 11 years younger.
Dark Chocolate: May improve memory and focus.
Wild salmon: an excellent source of DHA and EPA known to improve brain performance and memory.
Blueberries: regular consumption may improve memory.
Spinach: great source of Magnesium which has been shown to improve neuron receptor sensitivity and speed information transmission as well as memory recall.
#2 Learn: engage in activities that stimulate the brain such as learning a new language or taking a class at the college.
#3 Socialize: keep your mind active and engaged by socializing and travelling with friends.
#4 Move: physical activity can help reduce your risk for heart disease and dementia.
#5 Sleep: fatigue can have a negative impact on your brain.
#6 Hydrate: being hydrated promotes rapid neurotransmission.
#7 De-stress: stress can interfere in ability to focus, remember and learn. Do yoga, walk and laugh to reduce stress.
#8 Be weight wise: a healthy weight will promote healthy blood vessels that deliver blood, oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
#9 Genetics: know your genetic predisposition to chronic disease that affect the brain.