10 Ways to Boost Your Memory
Have you ever lost your reading glasses and then found them on top of your head? Have you ever gotten your kids off to school, only to find their lunches still in the refrigerator? If so, you're not alone. According to experts, many of us have minor problems with recall as we age.
The good news? The brain, like a muscle, can be "flexed" and enhanced through regular activity. To get started, incorporate these simple activities into your daily routine. You'll be fighting forgetfulness, sharpening your memory, and boosting your brainpower in no time.
1. Play Mind Games: When planning a busy day, tie all of your tasks together through creative visualization. If you're worried you'll forget to buy a loaf of Italian bread, visualize yourself slicing it before that big spaghetti dinner. Crossword puzzles, word searches, and Sudoku are also great ways to keep your brain healthy.
2. Exercise Your Eyes: Scan a room for at least 30 seconds before making your entrance. In a recent study, British researchers found that this exercise helped subjects to retain words, including names, that they were about to hear. The horizontal movement of the eyes causes the brain's hemispheres Meditate : Studies show that meditating for at least 10 minutes before a big meeting or lecture can significantly increase your attention span and memory. Simply sit or lie on the floor in a dark room, place your hands on your stomach, and focus on your breathing.
4. Get Your Z's: Get a good night's rest, and your brain will thank you. Research from Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center shows that the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls speed and accuracy, is especially active following a full eight-hour slumber.
5. Mix It Up: Try brushing your teeth with the opposite hand, or take a new route to work. Making small changes to vary your routine stimulates nerve cell growth in the braingrowth that's essential to memory retention.
6. Get Moving: A recent Columbia University study found that exercise triggers neuron growth in a region of the brain associated with normal, age-related memory loss. It doesn't have to be a rigorous routine; just 30 minutes of brisk walking three times a week will do the trick.
7. Take Memory-Enhancing Minerals: Studies at Kings College, London, and the University of Rochester in New York have shown that a reduced iron intake can have a detrimental effect on IQ levels and cognitive function. A lack of iron causes low hemoglobin levels, which lowers the supply of oxygen to the brain. To avoid these unfavorable effects, add an iron supplement to your daily vitamin regimen.
8. Drink Coffee: Researchers at the University of Arizona found that older adults who drank one cup of coffee prior to a memory test performed better than those who drank decaffeinated coffee. That said, the benefits may be limited to regular coffee drinkers; others could suffer side effects such as shakiness, anxiety, or impaired concentration.
9. Chew Gum: Japanese researchers have found that activity in the hippocampus, an important area of the brain for memory, increases while we chew. Recent research suggests that insulin receptors in the brain may also be involved. As we chew, our bodies release insulin in preparation for the food we'll soon be digesting.
10. Take Ginkgo Biloba: The ginkgo is the world's oldest tree and has been used for memory enhancement in Eastern cultures for thousands of years. Studies show that gingko improves blood circulation to the brain by dilating blood vessels and increasing oxygen supply. Gingko is also known for its ability to wipe out harmful compounds known as free radicals, which are thought to damage brain cells. The advised supplement dose is 120mg a day.
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