Do you also sometimes dwell on the health of your brain? Our brains process masses of information every day by organizing and storing it. It is therefore extremely important that they remain in top condition, which is why they deserve some extra attention. And that doesn’t start at age 50 or 60… No, you take care of your brain all your life!
Your brain is of course essential for carrying out numerous essential functions. But the brain is also responsible for storing memories: the memory. So logically memory is directly related to brain fitness.
How do you keep your brain fit and your memory sharp? Read below to find out what is really important.
Do you want to improve your memory? Then you really need to train it!
The memory is not located in one place in the brains, but consists of a network of connections between the nerve cells (neurons). These connections can weaken but also strengthen over time, new connections can even be created. Therefore it is important to continue to stimulate and excite your brain, for example by learning new things, you create new connections. With training you can strengthen these connections again. You make new connections throughout your life even when you are older, you still make new ones.
- Learn a new skill or language
- Train while playing with memory games such as sudoku and crossword puzzles
- Brush your teeth with your other hand
Stress is a culprit!
Occasional mild and short-term stress, is often a positive phenomenon. It makes you more alert and focused. In contrast, too much stress is an absolute culprit for memory. Just think of that blackout at the exam or days full of forgetfulness when it is extra busy at work or that one conversation that you remember nothing about because you were exhausted from the tension… In short, stress can even cause (moments of) memory loss and concentration problems.
Want to discover more about the complex fact of stress? Then read the blog about stress.
Your brain does not stand still during your sleep
You probably recognize it, with a lack of sleep you are not only tired and drowsy but also more emotional or grumpy than usual. But have you also noticed that you can concentrate significantly less and that you can’t remember things as well? After just one bad night, you can feel the effects of a lack of sleep on the brain.
During your sleep, your brain processes information and impressions from the previous day. This happens mainly during deep sleep. During this processing, new information is linked to already existing memories. When there is a shortage of deep sleep, your brain is less able to process this information and consequently store it less well. This is why it is extremely important to get enough sleep when learning and studying new things.
Movement as a motor of the brain
Movement is very important for the brain. It has a positive influence on specific parts of the brain that are important for cognitive functions such as learning, understanding and reasoning. In addition, it promotes connections between different parts of the brain. Furthermore, it improves blood flow, which means that more oxygen is available for the brain cells and waste products can be removed better. In addition, exercise promotes sleep quality which, as explained above, is also essential for memory. All this together ensures the beneficial effect of exercise on the brain and memory.
Take care of social contact
Warm contacts improve our mood and well-being. They are essential for a positive state of mind. But meaningful relationships also have a beneficial impact on memory. In fact, research shows that isolation and loneliness increase the risk of stress and even memory loss or dementia.
Kill two birds with one stone and host a themed game night! How about fun memory games like memory, mastermind, dominoes or a quiz? This way you challenge your brain in a fun way and take care of your close contacts.
Or sign up for a new course, that way you’ll meet new people and develop a new skill at the same time….
Feed your brain
Brains need good nutrients to function. Healthy food provides building blocks and energy. On the other hand, avoid quick sugars such as cookies and sweet chocolate, these provide a quick energy spike which is followed by a sugar dip.
In addition, certain nutrients and plant extracts are known for their positive influence on memory and general brain functioning.
Some trusted and well-studied ones include:
Ginkgo biloba promotes blood flow to the brain (cerebral circulation), especially microcirculation, this is very important for brain function and in this way can help maintain good brain performance.
Bacopa monnieri supports mental performance and is simultaneously good for memory and concentration.
Furthermore, omega-3 acids also support the brain. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is essential for brain and eye development in infants and the maintenance of cognitive functions and vision later in life. In fact, DHA is concentrated in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, parts of the brain that participate in processes such as memory and learning. Given that fat metabolism is catabolic at night, DHA is best taken in the evening in such a way that it is built into cell membranes as a structural element (and not absorbed into fat cells).