5 ways to boost your memory
The brain is like a muscle: it stretches, extends, and adapts to your needs and one needs to treat it so. It needs to be stimulated to keep it active and perform one of its functions – memory retention. Another element that influences the brain is our lifestyle choices. It encompasses health, food choices, exercise, sleep, and games to name a few. For many years, we were under the impression that the mind ages gradually and that we just go along with it. However, recent research has enlightened us that there are ways in which we can keep the mind sharp. Here are some of those ways:
Food intake choices
‘You are what you eat’. Choose fresh produce over-processed food. Pick those that are low in sugar and high in healthy fats like Omega-3 fatty acids/fish oils, extra-virgin olive oils, and coconut oil. Clinical studies have actually shown that fresh leafy greens and vegetables can help fuel memory power. Some foods in particular have been identified as memory boosters. Walnuts and blueberries, for instance, seem to improve brain function, memory, and concentration. Celery, broccoli, and cauliflower contain antioxidants that protect brain health and may actually stimulate the production of new brain cells. Moderate amounts of caffeine also seem to reverse memory impairment. If you are averse to coffee and caffeine, try peppermint tea which has proven to improve long-term and working memory. Another great memory food is chocolate; it has been found to enhance memory and visual information processing.
A healthy mind is a product of a healthy mind. “Physical exercise has the best evidence for preserving memory and mental function with aging,” says R. Scott Turner, MD, Ph.D., director of the Memory Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical Center. Some studies suggest physical activity also triggers the release of a protein called BDNF that promotes healthy nerve cells in the brain. That could give your memory a boost. Doctors recommend exercising at least three times a week. Start with 20-minute walks and build stamina slowly. Expand your exercise program to include long walks, stretching, core strengthening exercises, and lightweight training. It is a bonus that you are also able to manage conditions like Diabetes, High blood pressure, High cholesterol, Obesity, and Stroke to name a few. For those who have challenges with walking, stationary exercises can provide the needed workout to boost brain power and memory.
Playing games stimulate memory and brain function. Here are some great games for seniors to enjoy while boosting their cognitive abilities.
Crosswords are fantastic brain games because they are essentially a memory problem requiring the individual to use their recall function to find the correct words. They also help a senior’s association capabilities, since they’ll need to match the clues with the word that fits the box.
In addition to improving your concentration power, Sudoku puzzles can help to improve your memory, since you’ll have to remember the locations of other numbers. There is also the much-needed sense of achievement once a puzzle has been completed.
Research suggests that playing Scrabble lowers blood pressure, improves memory functions, and fosters an overall sense of happiness. Also, the inevitable laughter from silly words and interaction releases endorphins, making participants happier and improving their well-being.
Research proves the beneficial nature of this popular strategy game. Studies suggest that anyone over the age of 75 who plays chess is far less likely to contract mental conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s since this is a brain-stimulating activity.
Research has shown that finding and connecting two correct puzzle pieces releases dopamine, which is associated with happiness and an overall improved sense of well-being. This neurotransmitter can help to improve levels of concentration. Puzzles also help improve short-term memory.
Sleep helps us rejuvenate our bodies. It helps the mind consolidate newly acquired information and store it as memory. We need around 7-9 hours of sleep every night to be able to function to the best of our potential. Sleeping adequately helps improve information retention and memory power. You might have noticed how sleep deprivation (only four to six hours of sleep) impacts your ability to think clearly the next day. Research has found a relationship between sleep deprivation and Alzheimer’s. It has also been found that adults of 65 and older who took an hour-long nap in the afternoon improved their performance on cognitive tests.
You are a social being and being so, brings a lot of benefits. One of them being brain stimulation and memory retention. Conversations are a two-way street and you will have to engage with your loved one or encourage him/her to reap these benefits. The elder enjoys narrating life experiences and by being an enthusiastic listener, you can spur them on. This also is a good way to get grandchildren to interact with them. The elder could indulge the child in a board game. This would not only bring joy but also help them pass their wisdom to the next generation. It is also recommended that they be given the opportunity to interact with other seniors and make friends too.