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7 “Brain Foods” and Ways to Boost Your Memory

Posted Mar 18 2013 12:00am

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Waking up on Monday mornings can sometimes be… a challenge.

It’s the start of the week, you have to turn your brain “on” for work, and sometimes it can feel like you’re operating in slow motion. And then by Friday, you feel like you need to turn your brain “off,” disconnect, relax because you’ve been on overdrive all week!

It doesn’t help that we spend the majority of our day staring at a screen (Desktop, Laptop, iPad, SmartPhone, etc.) and repeating the same routine every day.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can achieve balance and keep your brain and body energized so that you don’t feel like falling over by the end of the week.

So in the spirit of getting a jump start on your week, here are 7 tips – or “brain foods” to boost your brainpower, energy, and memory.

Tip #1: Eat More Omega 3s! These essential fatty acids found in salmon, flax seeds, walnuts (to name a few) are not only good for your brain; they also help fight inflammation in your body, keep your blood and heart healthy, lower triglycerides, and regulate insulin response and weight. Try this oatmeal recipe to add an omega 3 punch to your breakfast each morning.

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Tip #2: Change things up! The brain grooves on novelty, which makes it work in new ways. Get in the habit of challenging your brain so it doesn’t always rely on its efficient autopilot system. Rearrange the furniture. Comb your hair with your non-dominant hand. Drive home via a different route. Basically, keep things interesting for your brain and you’ll feel the difference.

Tip #3: Eat berries every day. Berries are full of antioxidants which help protect your brain. They are also high in fiber, lower on the glycemic index (so they don’t cause inflammation), and a wonderful healthy snack. Try this easy berry smoothie to work more berries into your diet!

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Tip #4: Sleep well. There’s increasing proof that sleep bolsters memory, not only day to day but over your lifetime. Sleep also has regenerative properties for the whole body – it’s your time to really recharge for the next day – so make sure you are not shortchanging yourself!

Tip #5: Focus on Balance. When you get home from work, actually “unplug” each evening. Set aside time every day for hobbies, spending time with your family, exercise, and other non-screen-time activities. Your brain will thank you!

Tip #6: Learn a new skill and challenge yourself. Your brain is always changing, and thanks to that – you can keep learning new things all throughout your life. Focus on skills that don’t simply build on those you already have but that introduce completely fresh ideas and ways of thinking. If you’re a baker, take up gardening. If you speak three languages, try a math course. Look for things that both interest you and challenge you. It’ll energize your mind in new ways.  

Tip #7: Make time for coffee/tea breaks with a friend. Minimizing stress in any way, such as by taking breaks and relaxing, improves cognition. So does maintaining a meaningful social life. But there’s more brain benefit to that shared cuppa. Caffeinated coffee has also been found to be memory-protective, though researchers aren’t sure whether it’s the caffeine or the antioxidants. Tea, especially green, is also loaded with these protective substances as well.

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This post was created in collaboration with  Caring.com .

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