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How to Improve Your Memory, Enhance Mental Performance And Boost Brain Power

Apr 25, 2016 12:49 PM EDT
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Although people might think cognitive decline is normal as you age, the fact is brain power can actually be improved at any age.

This is because of neuroplasticity which enables the brain to adjust and revolutionize even as you get old. Throughout life, your brain has the ability to reorganize itself to increase cognitive abilities and improve memory at any age. However, neuroplasticity also allows your brain to get worse as you get older, which is why neuroscientists recommend enhancing your brain power.

Although cognitive skills tend to decline with age, there are actually steps people can take to give a boost to that brain machinery. We just have to keep our brains fit with a series of steps and tips.

Below are some tips on how you can imporve your memory, enhance mental performance and boost brain power:
1. Have an active lifestyle

In general, anything that is good for your heart is great for your brain. Movement is healthy for the mind. A study published in NCBI found that aerobic exercise training increases brain volume in aging humans. In a span of six months, the researchers in the study looked into the brains of healthy but sedentary people aged 60 to 79. After subjecting them to aerobic fitness training, they showed significant increases in brain volume, further suggesting that cardiovascular fitness is associated with the sparing of brain tissue in aging humans.

2. Avoid chronic stress

Hormones function differently, and some of them can cause brain aging. An example of such a hormone is cortisol, which is released when you are experiencing chronic stress. In the short-term, cortisol helps the brain to cope with life-threatening situations. However, raised levels of cortisol over a long period can decrease the number of brain cells, which may lead to dull memory.

"Cortisol creates a surplus of the neurotransmitter glutamate. Glutamate creates free radicals - unattached oxygen molecules - that attack brain cells much in the same way that oxygen attacks metal, causing it to rust," Bebrainfit.com reports.

3. Get enough sleep

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Geneva found out that connections between nerve cells in the brain are strengthened by sleep, which add to both learning and memory potential. During their study, participants were taught new skills and shown images to test their memory. One group was allowed to get eight hours of sleep while the other group slept less. When they repeated tasks they learned from the previous day, it showed that those who slept more performed better.

"During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information and getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours," explains lifehack.org in an article.

4. Have a healthy brain diet

Food can help or harm you, even your brain, which is why having a balanced diet is necessary if you want to boost brain performance and enhance memory. A research published in Harvard Health Publications said mono- and poly- unsaturated fats are the heroes in the dietary battle to preserve memory.

"In particular, the Mediterranean diet, with its menu of foods that are high in healthy unsaturated fats (olive oil, fish, and nuts) has been linked to lower rates of both dementia due to Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment (MCI)-the stage of memory loss that often precedes dementia," the report reads.

5. Stimulate your brain

Memory, like muscular strength, requires you to "use it or lose it." Helpguide.com notes that the more you work out your brain, the better you'll be able to process and remember information.

Along with physical activity, mental stimulation results in brain 'fitness.' While playing Sudoku and other mind-boggling puzzles may challenge your cognitive skills, that's not the only way you can stimulate your brain. In an interview with TIME, Dr. Karen Li, head of Concordia University's laboratory for adult development and cognitive aging, revealed social activities such as engaging in fruitful conversations, visiting intellectual invigorating places such as museums and learning new skills, play a great role in enhancing brain function.

Moreover, drawing has just been found out as a good exercise for the brain. University of Waterloo Researchers discovered in a study that drawing pictures of information that needs to be remembered is a strong and reliable strategy to enhance memory.

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