There are several things you can do to strengthen your memory so that it does not fade with age. Incorporating these healthy techniques into your daily life can keep your mind sharp. These techniques improve many areas of cognitive function including concentration, mood, short-term memory, and mental clarity.
Exercise for a Healthy Brain
A great way to improve brain function is to increase blood circulation. Blood carries nutrients and oxygen needed to keep brain tissue healthy. To increase blood flow, cessation of inactivity is what matters most. Be sure to give yourself hourly movement and stretching breaks. A great way to increase your exercise routine is to choose activities that are cheerful, challenging, and consistent. You can also enhance blood flow through breathing exercises, such as alternate nostril breathing. To do this, gently close one nostril with one finger while breathing deeply from the other nostril. After a deep breath, you switch nostrils by gently closing the other and breathing deeply. Not only does this exercise improve blood circulation, it’s been shown to improve spatial memory. And finally, an effective way to “exercise” the brain is to routinely engage both sides of the brain with music, art, reading, and games such as crossword puzzles and Sudoku.
Lifestyle for a Healthy Brain
Stress and poor sleep can take a toll on brain health overtime. Chronic stress can spike certain chemicals in the brain that disrupt sleep cycles. Practices such as mindful meditation and yoga can help reduce stress and improve sleep. Good sleep hygiene is also essential and includes a relaxing bedtime routine, a dark and quiet room, and at least 8 hours of high-quality sleep with few interruptions. Avoid television and computers at least an hour before bed because of how the light effects your sleep cycles. Other sleep disruptors include alcohol and caffeine. Avoiding them, and cigarette smoke, is essential for a healthy brain. Another brain boost is a diet full of antioxidants in the form of berries, dark green vegetables, beans, legumes, and green tea. Antioxidants help repair and protect brain tissue from oxidative stress. Another way to feed your brain is with an anti-inflammatory diet rich in essential fatty acids like EPA and DHA. These healthy fats can be found in food sources such as wild salmon, sardines, flax, walnuts, and grass-fed meats.
Supplements for a Healthy Brain
And finally, adding in supplements can give your brain the extra boost it needs for optimal performance. Herbs like Ginkgo biloba and Bacopa can help with brain cognition and memory recall by increasing blood flow and providing neuroprotective and antioxidant properties. Nutrients such as Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Phosphatidyl serine are essential for optimal brain function. Both have been shown in research studies to improve memory and cognitive performance. Vinpocetine, a nutrient derived from the Periwinkle plant, is another helpful nutrient for cerebral circulation and oxygen utilization. At Integrative Health, we recommend Memoractiv as a supplement because it has all of these ingredients working together to help you boost your brainpower.
Hidden Obstacles for Healthy Brains
Some symptoms of cognitive difficulties like foggy thinking can actually be signs of heavy metal toxicity, not aging. Toxin avoidance and detoxing from heavy metals can dramatically improve brain health.
Another commonly overlooked area is hormonal imbalances. This can range from low thyroid, adrenal stress imbalances, or low estrogen levels.
Remember that you do not have to walk your journey alone. One of the most important aspects of health is having a loving system of support from family, friends, and health professionals that care.