Keeping the goals we have set for ourselves in addition to outlining and completing the tasks needed to accomplish those goals can be overwhelming. Here are a few steps you can take to help optimize brain health and sharpen your memory:
Eat More Produce - Studies that focus on food and memory show that the more produce you eat, the better. One 25-year Harvard Medical School study of more than 13,000 women showed that the participants who ate relatively high amounts of vegetables over the years had less age-related decline in memory. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, and leafy green vegetables had the biggest effect on helping women retain their memory during the course of the study. In another study, the phytochemicals, anthocyanin (found in berries of all colors and cherries) and quercetin (found in onions, kale and apples), actually reversed some of the age-related memory deficits in laboratory animals.
Take Care of Your Heart - A healthy heart makes for a healthy brain. Because oxygen and nutrients are carried in the blood stream, anything that impedes blood flow will starve those all-important brain cells. Review your blood pressure and cholesterol level. Know your numbers and if they are elevated, take immediate measures to bring them down.
Get a Good Night's Sleep -When we sleep, the brain has time to recharge. Studies show that 7-8 hours of sleep a night helps to strengthen memory. Practicing good sleep habits helps keep the brain and the rest of the body functioning at its best.
Exercise - Regular physical activity has been shown to decrease the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease by about half. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and helps regulate blood sugar levels, both of which improve brain function and memory. Aim for 30 minutes a day.
Challenge Your Brain - Keep your mind active and challenged. Brain function decreases with age. Studies show that cognitive exercise can improve blood flow to the brain. Spend at least 15 minutes each day on a mental exercise such as a crossword puzzle, journaling or learning a new language in order to slow memory loss.