The brain is quite an impressive organ! It is one of the major examples is memory and how it functions.
Over the course of your lifetime, it is estimated that the modern human brain will hold up to 1 quadrillion pieces of information. To give you an idea of how much this is, a quadrillion is 1,000,000,000,000,000! This includes roughly 70,000 thoughts a day. With this in mind (pun intended), it’s easy to see how anything that impairs your brain’s ability to hold all this information can affect your quality of life.
Sometimes it’s little things like where you left the remote or the wi-fi password. With neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, forgetfulness can extend to not remembering people you know or skills you need to live independently. It’s important to note that this is an extreme case of memory loss. Memory loss can stem from a variety of different sources. These include:
Thyroid, kidney and liver disorders
Lack of vitamin B12
Blood clots in the brain
Medication side effects
With so many different factors that can lead to memory loss, it’s important to use a multi-pronged attack for memory boosting.
In addition to ensuring that your brain gets the right nutrition it needs, you also want to make lifestyle choices that support overall brain health. This includes using memory booster exercises to keep your brain sharp.
Exercise Your Mind
You’ve likely heard of brain teaser puzzles before, but the idea of them truly helping your memory? It’s not as farfetched as you may think.
Just like muscles, the brain can atrophy over time. This is because your cognitive reserve, which enables your brain to withstand damage and decline without showing visible factors, diminishes over time. Physical workouts help retain muscle in later years. The same applies to the brain.
While there are several examples of brain training software out there, they are not the only type of memory booster. In fact, a 2014 review of 52 separate studies covering over 4,500 participants said that these types of games are not particularly effective at improving brain performance.
Where should you go, then? Start by looking around you.
Some of the best brain exercises involve using things and tasks around you every day. Not only are these effective, but some involve minimal extra work on your part!
Recall is an important function of our memory. Therefore, it makes sense that you would want to focus on honing it. An easy memory booster to work on recall at any time is:
create a list,
then try to remember as much as you can later.
It can be your grocery list, your to-do list, state capitals, it doesn’t matter what. Memorize it, then an hour or so later try to remember as much of it as you can.
Another thing you can do is:
try to do math problems in your head,
without paper, a computer, or smartphone.
Challenge is a major component of these exercises. Just like a physical regimen, you want to slowly push against your limits, break them, create new ones and repeat.
There are other small things you can do that test your brain in this way. While many say that a routine is important, it also makes the brain run on autopilot. This is good if you are multitasking and need to shift focuses, but novelty is a major part of boosting your memory through tasks. Luckily, you don’t have to do too much to start. Simply:
brushing your teeth with a non-dominant hand
or driving a different way to or from work can help.
When you do these things, the brain creates new data and uses different neural pathways. In some cases, you can take this idea to the next level — more on that in a bit.
Keep Your Body Active
As a result, there are several lifestyle changes you may want to employ to help your memory and body. The change most people agree on is getting regular physical exercise. Aerobic exercise is associated with boosting the size of the hippocampus. This is a brain area that controls verbal memory and learning.
Exercise has other direct and indirect benefits for memory.
Directly, it stimulates growth factors in the brain and reduces inflammation. Indirectly, it improves your mood, sleep and anxiety. Prolonged issues in these areas may lead to or contribute to cognitive impairment. So far, there is no ideal exercise or memory booster known. Simply walking or choosing moderate-intensity activities may be the way to go.
Hand in hand with exercise is diet.
It is possible to shift your diet to more brain-friendly foods. A good place to start is to seek out foods rich in Vitamin E. These include:
healthy vegetable oil-based salad dressings
nuts and seeds
dark leafy greens
Dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli) may be one of the best ways to ensure that you get the most Vitamin E possible during your meals. One cup of raw spinach has 15% of your daily intake of vitamin E. One half cup of cooked spinach has 25% of your daily intake. Fish, especially salmon, that have high levels of Vitamin E are also a good choice.
If you’re looking for a general starting point for your new brain-friendly diet, turn to the Mediterranean diet. It is rich in many of the foods mentioned earlier. One long-term study showed that those who adhered to this diet the most had the least risk of Alzheimer’s and moderate cognitive decline.
Depending on your diet, it may also not be what you eat but how much you eat. One study showed that volunteers who lowered their daily calories by 30% scored 20% better on memory tests. Potential theories behind this include lower levels of insulin and C-reactive protein, both of which are linked to improved memory.
Start that Hobby You’ve Always Thought About
While this may be a bit of a surprise, taking on new hobbies is a great memory booster and can help quite a bit.
Remember what we said earlier about challenges and its effects on the brain? Taking on a new hobby can have the same effect.
Some of the best hobbies for brain health are ones that use hand-eye coordination. Examples are:
learning a new language or vocabulary
building a computer
or working on a car
Learning a new language not only uses another sense (listening) to work through the language. It also uses aspects of the brain many don’t use past childhood. Rich vocabularies have been linked to a reduced risk of cognitive decline in some studies.
Use Natural, Herbal Supplements
One major thing to note is while there are many different types of brain-boosting supplements out there, they don’t all help memory specifically. Here are some ingredients with a proven record of being a memory booster:
This popular and well-studied amino acid has two main properties. The first is helping create acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter not only supports memory and learning, but also the sleep cycle. It also serves as a power antioxidant.
The active component of the spice turmeric, curcumin can contribute to memory support. Curcumin has shown to positively affect blood flow to the brain and neurotransmitter formation. One study showed that it improved both memory and attention in healthy seniors.
Those who have spent time researching Alzheimer’s may have heard of this compound. It is isolated from Chinese club moss. By blocking an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, it has a similar function to some Alzheimer’s drugs already on the market. Chinese club moss itself has been used for memory support in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
A long standby in the brain health category is ginkgo biloba. Studies have shown it to improve memory in young and middle-aged people who are healthy. Ginkgo is also commonly used to treat dementia in Europe. What is less clear is how it can help with those with general age-related memory loss.
There are many supplements out there that use these ingredients or a combination of ingredients. Tranquility Labs’ own Focusene is a natural, herbal nootropic that combines some of these aforementioned ingredients for supporting brain function, including memory.
The brain needs help to build natural chemicals like GABA, dopamine, and choline to perform its many functions. Focusene helps to build these chemicals in the body and mind. Along with being a memory booster, Focusene helps you get the nutrients you need to keep producing these chemicals.
The Four-Step Memory Booster Method – In Review
- There is no one set cause to memory loss. It is a natural component of aging. However, it can also occur from vitamin deficiencies and conditions in the brain. Memory loss is also associated with several seemingly unrelated conditions, such as thyroid disorders and alcoholism, among others.
- Brain game software isn’t a necessity. In fact, many experts recommend creating your own exercises using real-world activities that you go through every day. As a rule of thumb, try to do things that are challenging but novel.
- There are several lifestyle changes you can implement that support brain health and are memory boosters. The major one is regular physical exercise. Reduced calorie intake, cutting out smoking and alcohol, and even taking on new hobbies are all useful as well.
- Along with lowering your calorie intake overall, dietary supplements can help fill in the nutritional holes that you need for a healthy memory. Different options have varying degrees of clinical success. However, several supplements on the market (Focusene!) combine the most well-known ingredients for a well-rounded profile of natural nutrients.
Combining your efforts in these areas will help not only maintain your cognitive health, but will also mitigate the effects on your brain and memory that help all of us as we age. People at all stages of life and memory loss can make use of this strategy.
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