We all experience problems with our concentration and our memory from time to time, that’s just part of being human. Unfortunately, our memory is one of the first things to go as we age, but we all struggle at times with flagging concentration and a lack of mental sharpness.
There is no question about it – the brain is very complex. Part of this complexity means that the brain is also regenerative, which means that this organ can effectively hardwire new connections every minute. Pretty crazy – right?
Now, because the brain is so busy making these thoughts – whether these thoughts surround your tasks for the day, your shopping list for the week or your dinner order for that upcoming date night, it uses up a lot of energy. So much energy, in fact, that the brain can use up to 40% of our daily calories!
This means that we need to ensure that we properly fuel our body to provide the brain with this constant supply of good nutrients. If we don’t - when our brains are not working properly, we can feel flat, unhappy, and forgetful. Life can become a struggle.
The good news is that we can all keep our brains healthy and can prevent premature declines in memory through strategic brain training techniques, a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition.
From this, you’re probably thinking – okay Innermost, let’s hear your tips on how to improve your memory. No worries - here are 8 ways that you can boost your memory and protect your brain…
1. Increase your antioxidant intake
When it comes to top tips on how to improve memory recall, it is believed that fat free radicals and other oxidants such as those from smoking are the basis of age-related brain degeneration. What’s more is, aging can occur even more quickly if the diet is low in antioxidants.
Fortunately, by upping our antioxidant intake we can protect our memory. Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E are particularly good protectors, and in addition to this, make sure you are eating foods high in antioxidants:
2. Eat lots of healthy fats
Our second tip around memory and diet surrounds how our brains depend on certain fats to function. These fats include saturated fats and monounsaturated fats which can be made in the body, and also polyunsaturated fats which we must take in through the diet to prevent deficiencies.
Good sources of polyunsaturated fats (Omega 3 and Omega 6) include oily fish and nuts. In addition to making sure you are eating lots of healthy fats, cut back on harmful fats such as saturated fats from meat and dairy to really ensure you are fuelling your brain with the highest quality nutrients.
3. Heavy metal detox
Although many minerals are essential to health, there are other minerals that are toxic such as aluminium and lead.
Aluminium is particularly abundant as it is in cake mixes, baking powder, drinking water and foil. If you are particularly interested in your mineral contents, you can get a hair mineral analysis to see if you have a build-up of toxic minerals.
Whilst it is hard to reduce your exposure to toxic minerals, it’s really important to make a conscious effort to do to help your body to excrete them help your kidneys, liver and colon.
This can be achieved by:
- Eating lots of fibre
- Drinking at least two litres of water per day
- Increase your intake of vitamins
- Boost your consumption of healthy minerals
Detoxifying your body in this way is a great way to improve your memory, and your overall health, too.
4. Boost B Vitamins
You’d be surprised at the number of vital roles that B Vitamins have in the body.
B Vitamins help to:
- Transport oxygen to the brain
- Convert food into energy
- Maintain healthy skin
- Create new blood cells
Due to these vital roles, when we are deficient in B Vitamins - not only does homocysteine accumulate, but we can also suffer from other brain related degeneration such as confusion. Taking a B vitamin supplement can help to prevent deficiencies and ultimately is a great way to improve memory recall.
5. Reduce alcohol intake
When it comes to improving your health – this tip is always up there. It’s the same when people ask how to improve memory recall. Quite frankly: alcohol is toxic to the brain.
When the liver cannot detox any more alcohol, it starts to disrupt brain communication and memory by disrupting the fatty acids in our brain cells, blocking the conversion of good fats into other products and also by destroying vitamins.
To prevent excess damage to the brain and improve memory recall, make sure to keep your intake low, and ensure you take in lots of vitamins the day after in order to restore those lost.
6. Cut out added sugar
Here at Innermost we are always talking about the impact of excess sugar intake.
This is because excess sugar damages the brain - it forms toxic compounds by altering blood sugar control which can cause damage to proteins in the brain and arteries.
The longer that the excess sugar intake goes on for, the more damage that can occur. This alters the supply of nutrients to the brain and can cause damage and disease.
So, instead of eating simple, refined sugars such as cakes and sweets, try and opt for slow releasing carbohydrates such as whole grains and fresh fruit.
7. Reduce stress
It’s no secret that stress has a big impact on memory. Research has shown that excess stress can contribute to early onset Alzheimer's Disease, and performance reduction.
Stress causes a release of cortisol which has been linked to poor memory and a reduction in the storage capacity of the brain. We recommend you try and find a way to reduce your stress levels, and one method we are extremely fond of (shocking, we know) is exercise.
Exercise is great due to the technique’s ability is to lower cortisol release. Great relievers include cardio such as running and skipping, or yoga and meditation for those that prefer a more chilled strategy.
8. Use your brain
Memory loss does not have to happen if you eat right and have the right attitude.
As we said, we can build new brain cells at any age. If we keep our minds and bodies active using the tips above, we can reduce and even prevent the decline in mental function.
So, to keep your brain going, keep studying, read frequently, complete puzzles and why not learn something new- a new language or a music instrument.
- Zawia, N. H., Lahiri, D. K., & Cardozo-Pelaez, F. (2009). Epigenetics, oxidative stress, and Alzheimer disease. Free radical biology and medicine, 46(9), 1241-1249. Click here.
- Anderson, C. R. (1976). Coping behaviors as intervening mechanisms in the inverted-U stress-performance relationship. Journal of Applied Psychology, 61(1), 30. Click here.
- Schwabe, L., Joëls, M., Roozendaal, B., Wolf, O. T., & Oitzl, M. S. (2012). Stress effects on memory: an update and integration. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 36(7), 1740-1749. Click here.