7 Science-Backed Ways to Boost your Memory
How would you characterize your memory – that of an elephant or a sieve?
We all have our “senior” moments: you can’t remember where you put your glasses or your keys, or you walk into a room and forget why. If it happens every once in a while, you probably don’t have to worry too much. If those “tip of the tongue” moments are regular, though, it may be time to figure out if there are any gaps in your diet that are affecting your memory.
The following are some useful tips for boosting the health and function of the billions of neurons that make up your brain.
Natural whey protein can help improve and protect brain function in multiple ways. For example, under normal conditions, your brain secretes serotonin to keep its memory sharp (among other roles such as mood and cognition). It turns out that chronic stress can cause an imbalance in your brain’s serotonin levels, which can lead to memory problems. How does whey protein help? A high-quality, natural whey protein powder is an excellent source of alpha-lactalbumin, which can help fix one of the negative effects of chronic stress – memory issues. Just how does this happen? Alpha-lactalbumin is a whey protein with one of the highest sources of tryptophan out there. Tryptophan is an amino acid that the brain converts to serotonin. Research shows that alpha-lactalbumin, one of the highest sources of tryptophan out there, helped improve memory and cognitive performance.
The list of benefits of physical activity just keeps on growing. When it comes to brain health, exercise works its magic in multiple ways. Exercise has been shown to improve the function of a specific part of the brain associated with memory problems – the dentate gyrus. Many impressive studies show that a low level of physical activity is associated with a greater memory decline over time. Exercise helps keep the small blood vessels in your brain wide open. This allows nutrition and oxygen to flow easily to brain cells. Physical changes in the brain can be seen in those who participate in regular exercise. In once study, the brain of mice grew 2.5 times more new brain cells than their nonactive counterparts. Exercise also leads to the growth of richer, more extensive network of blood vessels to provide the brain with oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. This also enhances the ability of neurons to communicate with each other, which enhances memory.
Did you know that gut bacteria produce hundreds of brain chemicals that the brain uses for learning, memory, and mood? They produce about 95% of the body’s supply of serotonin! Healthy sources of probiotics and prebiotics (food for gut bacteria) include fermented foods, such as Greek yogurt, pickles, and sauerkraut.
Essential Fatty Acids, especially omega-3’s
Fatty acids are extremely abundant in the brain. They are incorporated into the membrane’s of all cells.The dominant omega-3 fatty acid in the brain is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). In fact, DHA accumulates in areas of the brain involved in memory and attention – the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. DHA helps promote efficient communication between nerve cells and protects the membranes of brain cells from breaking down or destabilizing. Some of the healthiest food sources of omega-3 fatty acids are flaxseeds, walnuts, sardines, salmon, grass-fed beef, tofu, soybeans, and Brussels sprouts. DHA-rich foods include cold water fatty fish and fish oils. To make the most of your omega-3 consumption, avoid eating trans fats. These dangerous, inflammatory fats actually interfere with omega-3 production in the body. They also cut energy supply to the brain’s important memory center- the hippocampus.
Dark Leafy Greens
Although all vegetables are important for good brain health, leafy greens are especially critical. They contain important brain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and vitamin E. Several leafy greens, such as romaine lettuce, contain S-adenosyl-methionine (also known as SAMe), which has been shown to benefit brain health. When it comes to dark leafy greens, a cup is not a cup. It actually takes 2 cups of dark leafy greens to make 1 cup of vegetables (which is a recommended serving of vegetables). How are you measuring up to the recommended 6-8 servings of vegetables we need every day? A great, convenient, and simple way to get more dark leafy greens into your day is with quality, organic, non-GMO green drinks. A quality green drink is designed to give you as much as 5 servings of Superfood greens into one scoop of powder.
Research shows that memory problems, especially those associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, are less common in India than Western countries. What could be the reason? Many researchers point to curcumin, a key ingredient in turmeric, as the answer. Turmeric is a spice liberally used in India for various recipes, including curries. It has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and reduce inflammation in the brain.
Anthocyanin-rich blueberries can benefit the nervous system and brain. Evidence shows its ability to improve memory in studies where subjects consumed 2-2.5 cups of blueberries each day.
About the Author:
Gerry Morton is the CEO of EnergyFirst, holds an MS in Nutrition and is an experienced athlete who has competed in 30+ marathons and 4 Ironman triathlons. Energyfirst.com is known for offering the world’s best tasting, highest quality, all natural, premium nutrition products such as pure whey protein isolate powder, energy bar, green drinks etc. On twitter @EnergyFirst.