We’ve known it all along, but new research has now shown that women have much better memories than men!
We’ve asked our experts for their tips to keep your memory on top form no matter how old you are, so here are our Top 10 ways to boost your memory:
Some of the most essential advice for brain health is also the most obvious, and keeping our water levels topped up is one of them, as Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com, explains:
Water is important for our brain to function well. When we are dehydrated we often get headaches and feel tired. Severe dehydration can lead to becoming confused and even having hallucinations. If you struggle to drink the recommended 2 litres a day, make your water a bit more fun by adding some fresh fruit like blueberries or strawberries, a few slices of cucumber, or some lemon and mint.
Nourish your brain with Omega 3s
It may be an old wives tale that taking fish oil will make you brainy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true! Shona says:
It’s important to know that dietary fat is crucial for brain health. Fish, specifically cold-water fish such as mackerel, herring, salmon, and tuna, have the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids and contribute the largest amount of DHA to one’s diet. DHA levels in the brain decrease with age and lower levels have been linked to memory decline. DHA contributes to normal brain function.
Solve A Puzzle
Keep your mind ticking over, even when you’ve got a spare moment. Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading nutritionist and author of ‘Natural Alternatives to Sugar’ (Amazon, £7.17) says:
Just as your body needs regular exercise, your brain needs regular exercise too. Keep it fit by playing cards and chess games, reading books, doing crosswords, learning an instrument or new language or by pursing a new hobby.
If you feel like you need an extra boost for the killer sudoku’s, take a supplement like NHP Brain and Memory Support (£29.77, naturalhealthpractice.com)
Get your heart rate up!
When you are exercising your brain is working at full capacity, Shona says:
Getting moving helps to improve blood flow to the brain, and helps you learn new tasks more quickly. During exercise nerve cells in the brain release factors that trigger lots of other chemicals which help to promote cognitive function.
We all know that we function when we have had a good night sleep, Marilyn explains:
Don’t underestimate this! Sleep is essential for good memory. While we are sleeping, particularly during non REM phase, our body reactivates neurons that were active while learning a motor task, helping to aid long term storage of new memories. When sleep is disrupted this process does not occur. So if you have learnt something new and you want to improve your chances of remembering it make sure you get some shut eye.
Have a cup of tea
Caffeine is a stimulant drug, often used to improve mental processing. Shona says:
It is believed to work by blocking the neurotransmitter adenosine’s receptors, increasing excitability in the brain. This results in an effect on mood and mental processing.
Balance with Magnesium
Not the first vitamin or nutrient that you would think of, but, Magnesium as well as being a muscle relaxant, can also help brain function. Shona says:
Magnesium is also necessary for normal function of the nervous system, and normal psychological function, because of all these different roles, deficiency in magnesium has been linked to many symptoms and conditions. These include cramping or twitching of the muscles, fatigue, insomnia, lack of appetite, confusion and poor memory.
Try Natures Plus KalmAssure Magnesium Capsules (£5.19, revital.co.uk)
Adopt a Mediterranean Diet
What you eat can have an enormous impact on your memory as you age. Eating a Mediterranean diet is linked to a reduced incidence of cognitive decline. Studies have suggested that what you eat not only affects cardiovascular health but also your brain health. The advice is to increase the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, olive oil and eat more oily fish.
Make sure you surround yourself with healthy brain boosting snacks like berries, nuts and seeds, nutritionist, Cassandra Barns says:
Blueberry may boost learning and memory due to the high levels of flavonoids, in particular anthyocyanins – these are thought to protect against oxidative stress (free radical damage) in the brain,
Get Some Vitamin D
We all know that getting some Vitamin D is good for our moods, but it is also good for your brain, Shona explains:
Vitamin D receptors have been found in the hippocampus and cerebellum of the brain. These areas are involved in forming new memories and processing information. Try and expose yourself to direct sunlight for at least 30 minutes a day to optimise your vitamin d levels. If this isn’t possible, a vitamin D3 supplement with at least 1000 IU is also beneficial.