Do you forget where you put your car keys? Or the name of the person you just met five minutes ago? Stay calm! It happens to all of us. As we age, our brains tend to shrink and not work as well. But there are things you can do to boost your hippocampus—the part of the brain responsible for short-term memory.
- Learn new things—Memorize quotes. Balance your checkbook without a calculator. Take dancing or violin or piano lessons. Learn a new language. Challenging yourself will help keep your memory strong.
- Eat flavonoids—Consuming dark-colored berries, grapes, beets, dark chocolate and cocoa will improve brain function. A Harvard study showed that people who drank two cups of hot chocolate a day for a month had better memory performance than those who did not.
- Move—When you work out hard enough to break a sweat, you grow new brain cells in your hippocampus. How? Increased blood flow and a crucial protein called BDNF. Spending thirty minutes doing aerobic exercise and fifteen minutes of strength training four times a week is a great way to sharpen our memory.
- Feed your brain—DHA is a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in fish that can increase the size of your hippocampus. The trouble is, you can’t get enough from your diet. So buy a supplement. Take 1 gram of this super brain food every day.
- Decrease blood sugar and blood pressure—A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine states that elevated blood sugar puts you at a greater risk for Alzheimer’s. And even borderline blood pressure increases your risk of stroke and makes your brain sluggish. See your doctor to have your blood sugar and bloom pressure levels tested.
Here’s an extra tip: stress can stimulate chemical changes in the brain that can lead to memory problems. Practice deep breathing or other methods that calm your mind and your level of frustration.
Following these simple suggestions will help you sharpen your memory at any age!