Wouldn’t it be great if you could have flawless memory and laser focus every single moment of the day? Well, anyone alive on Earth knows that’s not possible.
It’s typical to have days when you feel groggy and tired. However, there are things you can do to help support your cognitive abilities and keep your brain healthy.
Read on for tips on how to enhance your brain power.
Even if you don’t realize you’re stressed, your body may still react and show symptoms. It can affect your whole body, your brain included.
According to a 2019 study, chronic stress can lead to impaired functioning of the region of the brain called the hippocampus, which is associated with memory consolidation and imagination.
We’ve all had moments when we are stressed out and our thought process is not exactly clear. Some symptoms of stress include:
- pain in different areas of the body
- rapid heartbeat
- digestive issues
- tension in muscles
- low libido
If you’re experiencing symptoms of stress, it’s possible the stress is affecting your cognitive abilities, too.
Once you identify your stressors, make a plan to help reduce or alleviate them. Consider speaking with a doctor or mental health care professional to help you make the changes you need.
Eating the right foods can do a body good. When you’re stressed, it’s common to want to indulge in nutrient-poor foods and beverages that are high in sugar or unhealthy fats.
These can be OK when you consume them occasionally alongside nutrient-dense whole foods. However, research from 2019 shows that high sugar diets can affect cognition (your ability to think).
Instead, choose foods that will give you a natural dose of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. They will naturally enhance your brainpower and reduce stress. These include foods rich in healthy fats and antioxidants.
Try some of these food and beverage options.
Sources of healthy fats
Healthy fats, including omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats, can help support brain health. There are many whole food sources. Here are just a few options:
- chia seeds
Sources of antioxidants
Antioxidants are powerful molecules found in many different foods. They help reduce the harmful effects of stress in your cells. Here are just a few of the many sources:
- dark green vegetables like collards, kale, spinach, and broccoli
- legumes, like lentils
- whole grains, like quinoa
- fruits, like dark berries
- black tea and green tea
There are also a great deal of vitamins and supplements available to you.
Exercise is great for your brain.
Studies have shown that exercise increases focus, cognitive function, and alertness, and reduces tension and fatigue, according to a 2018 research review. Exercise helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in older adults.
Regular exercise has even been shown to boost confidence and improve well-being from the moment you wake up. For example, one study from 2020 found that when participants exercised after they woke up, they experienced less grogginess, also known as sleep inertia, in those early hours.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These are chemicals in the brain that improve sleep, reduce pain, and naturally increase and stabilize your mood.
If you are a beginner or prefer to start slow, start with mini goals to help you move a little more every day. Try gentle aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day and increase from there. You can take a walk on your own or with a friend, or find a class that you’re interested in.
If you are already regularly exercising, consider finding different workouts to switch it up.
It’s possible to maintain or improve your memory by training your brain and keeping mentally active.
A research review from 2020 found that learning a foreign language helps people maintain or improve their cognitive functioning, no matter their age. Other research from 2018 found an association between reading and working memory.
Here are some other suggestions for keeping your brain and memory in top shape:
- learning a new hobby
- listening to or playing music
- playing games
Acquiring new skills and information can also improve your creativity because you’re increasing the pool of information that your brain has to draw from.
Power naps also benefit the brain.
In addition, scientists have shown that people who napped for 30 to 90 minutes were able to recall more words than those who didn’t and showed good cognitive skills.
If possible, keep the naps under 90 minutes so they will not disrupt nighttime sleep. Getting the proper amount of sleep can help your overall health. It also helps reduce stress, increase brain function, and naturally repair and detox the body.
Experts recommend the average adult get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.
There are many options to keep your brain engaged and in top form.
Activities like exercise, reading, learning a new language, or trying a new hobby can help you maintain or boost your brain power.
At the same time, it’s important to maintain brain-healthy habits. Exercising, eating a healthy, whole-food diet, and managing stress will all help support your memory, focus, and long-term brain health.
There are so many ways to boost your brainpower, so choose the activities that suit you best so you can enjoy the process and your progress.