3 ways to help improve your memory & cognitive function
If you’re serious about improving your memory and your cognitive function, you may find the below tips helpful for increasing brain health.
Activated vitamin D receptors increase nerve growth in your brain, and researchers have also located metabolic pathways for vitamin D in the hippocampus and cerebellum of the brain, areas that are involved in planning, processing of information, and the formation of new memories. In older adults, research has shown that low vitamin D levels are associated with poorer brain function, and increasing levels may help keep older adults mentally fit. Appropriate sun exposure is all it takes to keep your levels where they need to be for healthy brain function. If this is not an option, a safe tanning bed is the next best alternative, followed by a vitamin D3 supplement.
Contrary to popular belief, the ideal fuel for your brain is not glucose but ketones, which is the fat that your body mobilises when you stop feeding it carbs and introduce coconut oil and other sources of healthy fats into your diet. A one-day fast can help your body to “reset” itself, and start to burn fat instead of sugar. Further, it will help you to reduce your overall calorie consumption, which promotes brain cell growth and connectivity.
As part of a healthy lifestyle, however, you can try an intermittent fasting schedule that simply calls for limiting your eating to a narrower window of time each day. By restricting your eating to a 6-8 hour window, you effectively fast 16-18 hours each day. There are many different variations.
To be effective, in the case of daily intermittent fasting, the length of your fast must be at least 16 hours. This means eating only between the hours of 11am until 7pm, as an example. Essentially, this equates to simply skipping breakfast, and making lunch your first meal of the day instead.
You can restrict it even further — down to six, four, or even two hours if you want, but you can still reap many of these rewards by limiting your eating to an 8 hour window each day.
This is because it takes about 6 – 8 hours for your body to metabolise your glycogen stores; after that you start to shift to burning fat. However, if you are replenishing your glycogen by eating every eight hours (or sooner), you make it far more difficult for your body to use your fat stores as fuel.
Eat a brain-boosting diet
Just as the body needs fuel, so does the brain. You probably already know that a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, “healthy” fats (such as olive oil, nuts, fish) and lean protein will provide lots of health benefits, but such a diet can also improve memory. For brain health, though, it’s not just what you eat—it’s also what you don’t eat. The following nutritional tips will help boost your brainpower and reduce your risk of dementia:
- Get your omega-3s. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial for brain health. Fish is a particularly rich source of omega-3, especially cold water “fatty fish” such as salmon, tuna, halibut, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring.
If you’re not a fan of seafood, consider non-fish sources of omega-3s such as walnuts, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, winter squash, kidney and pinto beans, spinach, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, and soybeans.
- Limit calories and saturated fat. Research shows that diets high in saturated fat (from sources such as red meat, whole milk, butter, cheese, cream, and ice cream) increase your risk of dementia and impair concentration and memory.
Eat more fruit and vegetables. Produce is packed with antioxidants, substances that protect your brain cells from damage. Colorful fruits and vegetables are particularly good antioxidant “superfood” sources.
- Drink green tea. Green tea contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that protect against free radicals that can damage brain cells. Among many other benefits, regular consumption of green tea may enhance memory and mental alertness and slow brain aging.
Drink wine (or grape juice) in moderation.
Read more on brainpower techniques in volume 4
Volume four: Relaxing your mind and boosting your memory
– Helpguide Org. How to Improve Your Memory, Tips and Exercises to Sharpen Your Mind and Boost Brainpower. Sabrina Bachai. July 10, 2013. Read full article here.
– 7 Tricks to Improve Your Memory, April 24, 2014. By Dr Joseph Mercola. Read full article here.
– Huffingtonpost Healthy Living, 7 Tricks To Improve Your Memory, September 16, 2013. By Jancee Dunn. Read full article here
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