10 Ways to Boost Your Memory
Everyone forgets things from time to time. But for some people, poor memory can be a perennial problem. The brain never actually loses a memory. It records each one like a computer.
However, problems with recall begin when we don't practise retrieving this information and so the memories we had become lost. The brain, like other parts of the body, needs physical and mental exercise, together with particular nutrients, to increase the power of memory. Here are 10 things to remember to do in order never to forget anything ...
1 – Eat Soya
According to Professor Sandra File, head of the psychopharmacology research unit at Guy's Hospital in London, isoflavones, the natural plant oestrogens in soya foods, might act on oestrogen receptors in the human brain, particularly those in the hippocampus, a crucial area for memory.
As a result, new nerve connections form more readily. Medical trials revealed that those fed a high soya diet showed improvements in verbal and non-verbal memory and in mental flexibility, all of which are controlled by the brain's frontal lobes. Soya can be added to the diet through natural products such as soya milk or through a recommended daily 50mg soy isoflavone supplement.
2 - Take memory Minerals
Studies at Kings College, London, and the University of Rochester in New York showed that a reduced iron intake can have a detrimental effect on IQ levels and cognitive function.
This is because of lack of iron causes low haemoglobin levels, which affect the supply of oxygen to the brain. Iron also plays an important role in the transmission of signals in the brain. A deficiency of zinc, found in oysters, red meat and peanuts, can also interfere with memory. Take a supplement of 7 to 9mg daily.
3 – Drink Coffee
Caffeine can improve mental and memory performance because it stimulates many regions of the brain that regulate wakefulness, arousal, mood and concentration.
Researchers at the University of Arizona found that older adults who drank half a pint of coffee just before a memory test saw a large improvement in performance compared to those who drank decaffeinated coffee. However, the benefits might be confined to regular coffee drinkers. Others could suffer side effects such as shakiness, anxiety or impaired concentration.
It's still best to drink no more than six cups of coffee a day – those with heart problems should drink less. Too much brewed or percolated coffee can raise blood cholesterol – instant or filter coffee are better choices.
4 – Mental Exercise
Research has shown that mental stimulation keeps the brain healthy and increases the strength of memory.
As we age, it is normal to have changes in memory, but keeping the mind active does diminish weaknesses. Clinical psychologist Ron Bracey suggests using techniques such as puzzles, crosswords and widening cultural and social interests, all of which create different pathways in the brain.
5 – Physical Exercise
Half-an-hour of activity three times a week is enough to bring about significant increase in brain power; says a study at the Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina.
Exercise improves the heart’s ability to pump blood more effectively. Memory benefits from improved blood flow to specific regions at the front of the brain whose functions include planning, organization and the ability to juggle different intellectual tasks.
6 – Chew Gum
Japanese researchers found that activity in the hippocampus, an area of the brain important for memory, increases while people chew. Recent research suggests that insulin receptors in the brain may be involved too, as chewing releases insulin because the body is expecting food.
But, says Dr Andre Scholey of the University of Northumbria, the simplest reason could be that chewing increases the heart rate, thus improving the delivery of oxygen to the brain and enhancing its cognitive powers.
7 – Take Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo is the world’s oldest living tree. It has been used for memory enhancement in Eastern cultures for thousands of years.
Dr George Lewith, complementary health consultant to Boots, says Ginkgo improves blood circulation to the brain by dilating blood vessels and increasing its oxygen supply.
Ginkgo also mops up harmful compounds known as free radicals, which are thought to damage brain cells. Advised supplement dose is 120mg a day.
9 – Eat oily fish
Omega 3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, are essential components of brain cell membranes, and their role in cell structure is thought to improve the powers of memory. High concentrations of Omega 3 in the brain and nervous system not only boost learning powers and age-related memory, but also greatly enhance mood.
Omega 3 is a particularly important during foetal development, so pregnant women should have a regular supply. Good sources include fish such as sardines, salmon, herring and mackerel. Sardines are also a rich source of the nutrient choline, which is a key brain chemical associated with memory. Try to eat three portions of oily fish a week or take a supplement of 330mg three times a week.
9 – Rosemary and sage
Essential oil made from rosemary and sage can stimulate the memory, strengthen clarity and awareness and help to relieve mental fatigue. Psychologists at the University of Northumbria tested essential oils from rosemary on memory attention and mood and discovered it made volunteers feel more alter and enhanced their long-term memory by around 15%. Some studies have found that volunteers’ ability to remember lists of words improved by more than 10% if they had taken a capsule of sage oil.
10 – Take vitamin B
B vitamins deliver oxygen to the brain and provide protection against free radicals. They help to sharpen senses and boost memory. Niacin or B3 is particularly good for brain enhancement, while B6 is essential for the manufacture of neurotransmitters, especially mood-enhancing serotonin.
B12 is important for overall health of brain cells. B vitamins are also needed to help the body form acetylcholine, a key brain chemical needed for memory – Daily Mail.
Source :The Star – April 12 2002
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