New Year, Better Memory - Keep your short-term memory sharp as a tack!
Misplacing little items lately? It’s no wonder since everything from Stress and Menopause to fatigue can lead to forgetfulness! The good news: These simple tricks can keep your short-term memory as sharp as ever.
One of the many studies available on the benefits of cinnamon (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3030596/) suggested that cinnamon might help prevent the build-up of plaques in the brain responsible for memory loss.
What do we know about cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties and how they might help keep the brain healthy?
While further research is needed to substantiate the clinical effects of cinnamon and the most effective dose, there are many positive indicators that cinnamon possesses certain anti-inflammatory properties that boost brain health — especially as we age.
That’s because it’s a super-potent source of polyphenols… in fact, spices like cinnamon are just as high (if not higher) in polyphenols as popular super fruits like pomegranates and blueberry. And polyphenols are shown to have a great effect in fighting free radical damage, to prevent symptoms of aging.
Not only does it help manage plaque build-up in the brain, but also helps stimulate the growth of new neurons and the longevity of existing neurons, which, in turn, may help prevent the onset of diseases such as dementia.
Check out Akasha Naturals Nutrient-rich cinnamon formula: https://akashanaturals.com/products/cinnamon-90-veggie-caps
CLEARING ONE’S MIND OF DETAILS
Short-term memory is like the brain’s notepad—and if we become overwhelmed with life’s little daily stresses we fill its pages up fast.
What do we know about how the brain works in storing and becoming overwhelmed? How might take a few minutes to breathe deeply and refocus your mind help boost memory?
Ongoing research on brain physiology and spasticity has shown us fascinating facts about how our brain functions, learns, retains memories, and yes, forgets. In fact, we know that forgetting is what the brain needs to do to retain newer, more current, and relevant information. Kind of cleaning your closet so that you can store newer, more immediately needed items. And I would say that short-term memory is less like a notepad, and more like a digital camera…. the more pictures you take the faster it fills, and the slower it operates.
And here’s the thing — short-term memory is incredibly limited — in fact, many studies show your brain can only hold 7-10 “items” at a time (and only for 30 seconds at a time). So if you’re letting every little thing in, that short-term memory becomes overwhelmed quickly, and you’re too busy processing thoughts and details to pass them on to long-term memory.
But everything in your long-term memory has to pass through your short-term memory — and a great way to do this is to take a deep breath when something important happens. Then associate that important thing with an existing memory. If it’s associated with something already in your long-term memory, it’s more likely to stick.
Coffee is proven to boost blood flow to the brain, improving memory...but there’s a catch. If you drink it late in the day, its caffeine (the effects of which can last 12 hours) can interfere with sleep—and getting enough sleep is one of the single most important ways of protecting memory). What do we know about how caffeine both helps and harms the brain’s ability to remember?
How does sleep impact memory?
How might limiting caffeine intake early in the day boost sleep and thereby help with memory?
Good news — when it comes to coffee, it’s not just the caffeine boosting your memory and mental health… it’s the antioxidants. And decaf coffee contains the same antioxidants as regular. So if you’re someone who is sensitive to caffeine, you can still reap the benefits associated with coffee as long as you know when enough is enough for your system
That could mean a sharper memory as you age, fewer signs of degenerative diseases, and memory loss. It could also mean improved long-term memory, as the antioxidants in coffee help fight free radical damage, to keep your brain sharp.
I will say this — there are conflicting studies on how coffee drinking impacts short-term memory. Some studies have found it boosts focus, but more studies have found that it inhibits short-term memory.
Plus, if you’re drinking regular coffee, the impact of caffeine on sleep is huge… especially if you tend to drink coffee late at night (or if you add lots of sugar — a stimulant — to your coffee).
Think of sleep this way — it’s like taking a big breath… for your whole body. And if you’re going without, you’re not taking those moments to pause, re-focus, and make room in your mind to process more.
A National Institute on Aging and Tufts University study found that the dark blue pigment in blueberries contains chemicals (anthocyanins) that boost blood flow to the brain, sharpening thinking. What is blueberries’ effect on blood flow to the brain, i.e., what’s happening when we consume blueberries? (https://www.nutritionletter.tufts.edu/issues/10_16/current-articles/Blueberries-Good-for-Your-Blood-Pressure-and-Brain_1690-1.html)
How much should readers eat to get the protective benefits?
You may have noticed by now; antioxidants are the common link between a lot of these brain-healthy ingredients. They play an active role in making coffee and cinnamon so great for your brain. And when it comes to blueberries, there’s one special antioxidant that’s incredibly powerful — anthocyanins.
The anthocyanins in blueberries are one of nature’s most powerful tools when it comes to fighting free radical damage and preventing plaque buildup — not only the plaque on your brain but the plaque that builds up in your veins and arteries.
And without that plaque buildup, blood flows more freely to your brain, to deliver the oxygen and essential nutrients it needs to stay sharp.
So it pays to make blueberries, or other anthocyanin-rich foods like grapes and pomegranates, a part of your diet, at least a 3–4 times a week. My suggestion? Add ¾ cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen) to your morning oatmeal, and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Just getting your blood pumping with a brisk walk actually changes the brain’s structure and boosts memory and thinking skills, University of British
Columbia's researchers reports (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110).
That’s because regular aerobic exercise boosts the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. What do we know about how aerobic exercise affects the brain?
Are certain kinds of exercise better than others?
It’s true — exercise plays a powerful role in brain health, for a couple of reasons.First — it gets the blood flowing more rapidly, so your brain is refreshed with the oxygen and vital nutrients it needs for optional function and to stay sharp.
Second — studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise actually increases gray matter production in your brain… something that diminishes as we age. You could go as far as to say exercise keeps your brain young and fit.
Please recommend one more interesting, easy-to-implement strategy for improving brain health and boosting short-term memory, and explain why it works so well.
- Follow a very healthy diet, free of toxins, sugar, preservatives and processed foods.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise, and more exercise
- Keep your brain active
- Develop a solid and vibrant community
- Be in love with a significant other, or a pet, LIFE
- Take some well-researched supplements like Probiotics, vitamin D, Omega-3’
- RESET Your BRAIN: Follow the AKASHA RESET Program: AkashaReset.com
And… Use Lyrics to boost memory:
This one’s a fun one — and it’s a great “brain trainer,” as well. That means it boosts cognitive function, keeping both your short and long-term memory sharp.
- Turn on your radio and wait till a favorite song comes on.
- Sing along — and turn off the radio. Try to remember the rest of the lyrics. Chances are, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve forgotten… but they’ll come back to you.
It’s a great exercise because it combines short-term memory and long-term recall, to fully work your brain. And it turns a dull commute into something fun — and productive, too!
Super Brain Yoga:
Another option that has been all over the internet recently is Supper Brain Yoga. Although research on it is at best limited, followers and advocates, including some prominent neurologists swear by its effectiveness. It involves a simple squat exercise that offers benefits to young students as well as adults seeking brain wellness into their senior years. Patients with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Down Syndrome, and Alzheimer's, among others, have also been shown to benefit.
Founder and Chief Medical Officer of the Akasha Center for Integrative medicine in Santa Monica. His New Book, Bloated? How to reclaim your Gut Health and Eat Without Pain is now on Amazon's Best Seller list. Dr. De Mello employs his practice of Gratitude to "Meet his Patients before he meets their Diseases"