ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Train Your Brain and Improve Your Memory

Updated on October 12, 2014
Thinking...
Thinking... | Source

Battling Brain Farts

You’re in the middle of an intense conversation with friends about your favorite TV show. You recall that one of the lead actresses starred in an ABC Family Movie almost 10 years ago. No one else knows what movie you’re talking about. The answer is on the tip of your tongue. Yet, it continues to elude you. Finally, you are forced to visit imdb.com for the answer. The actress is Kaley Cuoco. The movie is Crimes of Fashion. You knew this. But lately you can’t remember things like you used to.

How would you describe your memory?

See results

Why the heck can’t I remember stuff anymore?

The brain loses some if its juice in humans after the 25 year old mark (Just when you’re able to rent a rental car by yourself, you can’t remember where you parked the rental car. I know, right?). This is nature taking its course. But, other factors can also affect memory and cognitive thinking. Remember that alcohol binge from that pivotal night in your senior year in college when you found out you could actually graduate on time? Very valuable brain cells were destroyed that evening. There are a number of things that cause decreased brain function ranging from illegal drug use to acute head injury that can be the culprits (Both reminiscent from that night at the end of senior year). Aging is also a major contributor (So, cut Grandpa some slack, okay?).

The good news is, there are a few things you can do to help boost brain power and improve memory.

Engage in Regular Exercise

Exercise is pretty much the answer for almost all the things that ail society. Along with improving your overall health, exercising can improve cognitive functions. A study published in the Journal of Aging Research back in February of this year showed that a group of female seniors (Non-undergraduate seniors) had improved cognitive ability after either briskly walking or lifting weights throughout a 6 month period. The study showed that aerobic and anaerobic exercise resulted in different improvements. But, the overall conclusion was that physical activity was beneficial for the mind. Most experts will agree that doing both types of exercises are best for optimal health. And, there are a variety of exercise plans that incorporate both types within one workout. Suddenly, that late night infomercial for Hip Hop Abs doesn’t look so lame.

Regular exercise can substantially improve memory.
Regular exercise can substantially improve memory. | Source

Juggle Some Balls

You heard me right. I said juggle. German researchers conducted a published study in the journal Nature that showed 24 participants who juggled for 3 months experienced an increase in grey matter. Or in laymen’s terms, their brains done got bigger. Unfortunately, the study group had a decrease in brain size after 3 months of retiring those juggle balls, which means consistency is the key to improve memory. When you begin to juggle, do it often to keep that brain growing. What you don’t want to do is confuse Juggler with Juggalo if bragging to friends. The latter involves wearing face paint, drinking Faygo soda, and blasting Insane Clown Posse.

Learn How to Juggle

Juggling Book Kit-
Juggling Book Kit-

It's the book that taught a nation how to juggle.

 
Juggle to Improve Your Memory
Juggle to Improve Your Memory | Source

Eat Whole Foods

Food manufacturers and restaurants have effectively programmed most of Western society to believe they can’t cook. Whether it is due to lack of time, or lack of funds, eating more processed or prepared foods is touted as the way to go. But when it comes to keeping the brain in shape, you can’t succumb to being “food lazy”. There are quick, easy, and economical ways to include nutritious food in your daily menus. Casseroles and slow cooker meals are great opportunities to throw whole ingredients together in a simple feast that includes fruits, veggies, lean meats, calcium-rich foods, and whole grains. Think about it. A shepherd’s pie or chicken stew essentially contains all the random items from your pantry, fridge, or freezer in one meal. Over the counter nutrition supplements, like vitamins, can help. But, they aren’t as effective as actual food. Eat a well-balanced diet, and your brain will thank you.

Foods to Improve Memory

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Eggs are one of the best sources of choline, which is an important nutrient used to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory.Berries are packed with anthocyanin, a phytochemical that may help reverse age-related memory loss.Salmon has omega-3 fatty acid that's essential for optimum brain performance and memory.Gingko improves blood circulation to the brain.Beets - Natural nitrates in beets can improve your focus and concentration.Seafoods like shrimp, has high levels of vitamin B12 which is crucial for healthy nerves and brain cells.Peanuts can effectively improve blood circulation and enhance the memory.Green tea has polyphenols, an antioxidants that fights off free radicals that can damage brain cells.Brahmi has a reputation for helping improve circulation of the brain and enhancing both short and long-term memory.Red wine is rich in resveratrol, a flavonoid that boosts blood flow in the brain and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Eggs are one of the best sources of choline, which is an important nutrient used to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory.
Eggs are one of the best sources of choline, which is an important nutrient used to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory. | Source
Berries are packed with anthocyanin, a phytochemical that may help reverse age-related memory loss.
Berries are packed with anthocyanin, a phytochemical that may help reverse age-related memory loss. | Source
Salmon has omega-3 fatty acid that's essential for optimum brain performance and memory.
Salmon has omega-3 fatty acid that's essential for optimum brain performance and memory. | Source
Gingko improves blood circulation to the brain.
Gingko improves blood circulation to the brain. | Source
Beets - Natural nitrates in beets can improve your focus and concentration.
Beets - Natural nitrates in beets can improve your focus and concentration. | Source
Seafoods like shrimp, has high levels of vitamin B12 which is crucial for healthy nerves and brain cells.
Seafoods like shrimp, has high levels of vitamin B12 which is crucial for healthy nerves and brain cells. | Source
Peanuts can effectively improve blood circulation and enhance the memory.
Peanuts can effectively improve blood circulation and enhance the memory. | Source
Green tea has polyphenols, an antioxidants that fights off free radicals that can damage brain cells.
Green tea has polyphenols, an antioxidants that fights off free radicals that can damage brain cells. | Source
Brahmi has a reputation for helping improve circulation of the brain and enhancing both short and long-term memory.
Brahmi has a reputation for helping improve circulation of the brain and enhancing both short and long-term memory. | Source
Red wine is rich in resveratrol, a flavonoid that boosts blood flow in the brain and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Red wine is rich in resveratrol, a flavonoid that boosts blood flow in the brain and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. | Source

Get Some Sleep

Sleep deprivation can affect your brain in the same way as drinking alcohol. You become slow to react to situations. You also have a hard time remembering things. Getting sleep may not be as simple as counting sheep. So, consulting a medical provider to help find answers should be a good idea. But before you shell out that $5 copay, try to modify your sleep behaviors. Having stimulants like televisions or computers right before bedtime will keep you up. Caffeine after lunch is a no-no. Also, treating your bedroom like anything but a place to sleep (office, entertainment center, fight club training room, etc.) will make it harder to sleep. And finally, stress will take a toll on your sleep meter. Relax the brain, let go of the day’s pressures, and mentally cuddle up to one of those fluffy sheep.

A good night's sleep triggers changes in the brain that help to improve memory.
A good night's sleep triggers changes in the brain that help to improve memory. | Source

Play Challenging Games

Chess is often perceived as a game for nerds and elders. But, it is a game to improve memory and cognitive function. Games that challenge the brain will keep you on your toes. Remember the match game you played as a child? There was more to that then having bragging rights against your slower, dimwitted sibling. And remember when Grandma had you play bridge with her and her friends? She was helping to make you a more productive member of society. Yay, Grandma!! These games helped you to solve problems, memorize, and make more informed choices. There are many games out there that force you to use your brain. They are available on all types of formats, from game consoles to smart phones. I’m not telling you to play Words with friends at work. I’m just saying that when your boss catches you, there’s definitely a positive way to spin this scenario in your favor.

Here's How to Play Chess to Improve Your Memory

Did You Know?

The first published book ever written on a typewriter was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Mark Twain used a Remington in 1875.

Read a Book

Whenever my 10 year old laments about reading a book, I am quick to point out that this is exercise for his brain and can help improve memory. And, I’m actually telling the truth. Reading exposes the mind to building language skills. Your vocabulary is easily expanded as the brain is introduced to new words (that you hopefully bother to look up in a dictionary). Reading also builds knowledge that makes it easier to engage in meaningful conversations, whether the topic is WWE Superstars or cosmic stars. You don’t have to necessarily read a book. Magazines, scientific journals, comic books, and internet blogs can all offer opportunities to read something insightful. So, the next time you impress your friends with extensive knowledge of Washington State, there’s no reason to tell them you learned it all from the Twilight Series.

Reading regularly helps improve the mind and memory.
Reading regularly helps improve the mind and memory. | Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Pamela Mae Oliver profile image

      Pamela Mae Oliver 3 years ago from Georgia

      I really enjoyed reading your article, and I appreciate the information. Lord knows I need it!

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 3 years ago from Sunny Spain

      I have really enjoyed reading this Hub, my memory is pretty good, I seem to be able to remember useless bit of information quite well, especially if it is about something that happened a long time ago, and now I know why.

      I can tick most of your brain boosting list just not tried the juggling, still who knows I might give it a go, after all there is still time lol...

      voting up and hitting buttons on my way out :D

    • hyp profile image
      Author

      hyp 3 years ago

      Thank you Pamela and maggs224 for reading my hub. :)

    • sreelekha123 profile image

      Sree 3 years ago from Hopkins, MN, US

      I forget most of the things now, like names of people I have met recently or name the movie I watched few days back, name of actors I know. Lets see whether this helps me. This is a wonderful blog. Keep writing. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Dust Fairy 3 years ago

      What did I just read, I forgot:) This was a good read. I really do have memory problems now. I forget where I put my keys or my purse. I do try to play games and exercise as it does seem to help. Thank you for sharing.

    Click to Rate This Article