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Five Tips to Improve Brain Function | Memory Improvement Tips

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You may not be able to make yourself taller, or alter your shoe size, but there are ways to improve brain function. As you age, maintaining mental acuity is increasingly important to stave off the symptoms of mental decline. Here are our top five memory improvement tips to help you keep your brain healthy!

1.     Exercise

Exercise is not just good for the heart and joints; it is also essential for brain function. A study published in Neuroscience reported that regular exercise helped monkeys learn new tasks twice as quickly as the non-exercising control group. The study was performed on middle-aged and mature monkeys who were trained on treadmills for five weeks and then underwent cognitive tests using the Wisconsin General Testing Apparatus. Scientists believe that exercise can improve brain function in humans in the same way.

Exercise improves blood flow to the brain and causes nerve cells in the brain to multiply. These cells release proteins and chemicals during exercise which boost cognitive function and improve neural health.

2.     Omega-3 to Improve Brain Function

Almost 60% of the brain is made up of fats including DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid which is known to support the central nervous system. DHA deficiency can cause nerve cells to become rigid and inflamed leading to reduced neurotransmission between cells. Low levels of DHA have also been associated with memory decline and Alzheimer’s disease.  Taking omega-3 supplements can be one of the easiest memory improvement tips to adopt. 

Related:  The Ultimate Food Guide to Omega 3s

3.     Sleep Well

Sleep allows the brain to rest and reset, so improving your sleep can improve brain function and improve mental insight.  A Harvard study on sleep showed that people are 33% more likely to recall facts from memory after a good night’s sleep. Study leader Dr. Ellen Bogen concluded that “sleep does not just passively protect memories, but rather, plays an active role in memory consolidation.”

Too little sleep can also upset the circadian rhythm and may cause the brain to stop producing new cells. It seems that sleep is vital if you want to maintain and improve brain function.

4.     Take Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for increasing nerve growth in the brain. It is present in the hippocampus and cerebellum areas of the brain which are responsible for tasks such as planning, processing of new information and retaining memories. Low levels of vitamin D are linked to poor brain function, so getting plenty of vitamin D from food, sunshine or supplements is another easy memory improvement tip.

5.     Use It or Lose It

It is a well known fact that an active brain in later life can significantly improve brain function. Doing puzzles, learning a skill, mastering a new language, or stimulating the mind with mnemonic techniques can all keep your brain alert and healthy as we age.

 

 

 

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The Best Brain Supplements to Improve Your Memory

by Institute for Vibrant Living

It is natural to be concerned about memory loss as we age, but there are now some excellent supplements for memory support. We look at some of the best brain supplements on the market to help you make the right choice for your optimal mental health.

There are many supplements for memory support.

Nootropics is the term used for any product that improves mental capability such as concentration, memory and motivation. It covers both pharmaceutical drugs and natural brain supplements, which are proving to be equally effective at supporting brain and memory function as we age. Here are a few natural supplements for memory that you should consider.

Ginkgo Biloba

Popular as a memory booster in Europe, ginkgo biloba is one of nature’s best brain supplements on the market. It works by improving blood flow in smaller vessels and has shown promise in studies into the treatment of dementia. Sourced naturally from the ginkgo tree, ginkgo alters insulin levels and thins the blood, so it should not be taken in conjunction with other medications unless first approved by your doctor.

Related:  Effects of Overeating on Brain Health

Asian Ginseng

Asian ginseng is often used alongside ginkgo biloba as these herbs appear to work synergistically together. It helps counter physical fatigue and has shown promising signs of success in small group studies into supplements for memory support.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Sourced naturally from fish, plants and nuts, studies suggest that higher levels of omega-3, usually taken in supplement form, can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and are one of the best natural supplements for memory.

Creatine

Popular with young gym enthusiasts, creatine is known to improve sports performance as well as improving memory and intelligence. Researchers found that taking a 5mg supplement daily for six weeks had a positive effect on improving memory.

L-Theanine

Found in green tea and mushrooms, L-Theanine has been shown in various scientific studies to affect neurotransmitters in the brain. It appears to prevent beta-amyloid-induced brain dysfunction and improves cognitive performance.

Vitamin E

Recent studies have found that vitamin E can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and may help counter age-related memory loss. Recommended doses should be carefully adhered to as high doses may have harmful side effects.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine

This common amino acid has been found to help with memory problems and provides benefit to those with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Studies continue to look at the effectiveness of this natural ingredient in their search to find the best brain supplements for memory.

Other lifestyle factors that may help protect against memory loss include adopting a healthy Mediterranean diet high in olive oil, fish, vegetables and nuts. Moderate amounts of red wine and coffee many also help enhance your memory, although an excess of either can negate the benefits.

 

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The Effects of Stress on Your Brain

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Whether dealing with financial issues, relationship problems or trouble on the job, people are exposed to stress on a daily basis.  No matter what the causes of stress, getting a handle on it is important.  Over a prolonged period, stress wreaks havoc with the health, and research shows it is particularly damaging to the brain.  A moderate amount of stress makes the brain more resilient by building stronger neural circuits, but chronic stress can damage the brain in more ways than one.

It is important to take steps to counter the effects of stress and the release of cortisol.

 

Interactions between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal are referred to as the HPA axis, which controls the body's response to stress.  Stressful situations activate the HPA, and the body responds by releasing cortisol, a hormone which prepares the body for fight or flight.  This hyper-sensitive state of being can prove healthy and necessary in emergency situations but not over prolonged periods of time.

Excess cortisol triggers electric signals in the hippocampus (the area of the brain responsible for learning, memory and emotion).  This weakens the hippocampus and slows activity in the HPA axis, which not only affects learning and memory but diminishes the body's ability to respond to stress.

French researchers found that stress triggers the release of an enzyme that attacks areas of the hippocampus responsible for synaptic connections.  Destruction of connections between the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex can affect judgment, sociability, memory and understanding.

Related:  Keeping your Memory Sharp

Fortunately, you can take a number of easy steps to help counteract the effects of stress and the release of cortisol:

Participate in enjoyable activities.  Whether you enjoy painting, gardening or lunching with friends, it's hard to be stressed when you're having fun.

Keep a journal.  Writing down feelings and emotions can be cathartic.  Keeping a journal also helps track your stress and determine what's causing it.  

Be mindful.  Worrying about the past or what might happen in the future does not help stress levels.  A number of activities like meditation, yoga, or guided imagery will help keep you in the present. 

Get off the couch or office chair.  Physical activity triggers the release of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter that helps relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.  If you can't commit to a full workout, try desk pushups, running stairs or walking the dog.

It is next to impossible to avoid stress, but it's important to the health of the whole body to do something about it.  The activities listed above help weaken the effects of stress on the brain, heart, immune system and more
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Nine Ways to Promote Brain Health and Avoid Brain Cancer

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Many cancers including brain cancer and brain tumors are preventable, according to Thomas A. Sellars, Associate Director at Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center. He states that 70% of known cancer causes can be avoided simply by giving up smoking, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. If you’re concerned about brain cancer prevention, here are nine ways to help reduce brain tumor risk factors.

Keep your brain fit and healthy with these tips for brain cancer prevention

 

1.  Avoid environmental agents

Chemicals and environmental agents such as vinyl chloride are known risk factors for brain tumors, according to the American Cancer Association. Avoid storing and heating food in plastics and cling film which may release DEHA, a cancer-causing chemical, according to Cancer Research UK. Glass and ceramics are safer food storage options.

2.  Limit X-rays

Radiation exposure to the head is a leading cause of cancer in children, so limit those dental x-rays whenever possible. Radiation treatment for other cancers can also cause brain tumors, so all-round cancer prevention is essential.

3.  Boost antioxidants

Fruit and green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach are all high in vitamins and antioxidants. These counter harmful free radicals that are known to cause changes in cell structure. A healthy diet high in fruit and veggies has been associated with a lower risk of certain cancers and may help prevent brain tumors.

Related:  Effects of Overeating on Brain Health

4.  Annual health checks

Annual checkups allow doctors to spot abnormalities at the earliest stage - an important tool for lowering brain tumor risk factors.

5.  Reduce alcohol intake

Although excessive alcohol is not directly related to brain cancer, it can cause liver disease which can spread to the brain.

6.  Use hands-free cell phones

Although to date there is no proven relationship between cell phone use and brain cancer, it is better to be safe than sorry. Using a hands-free system distances the radio waves from your head and may possibly prevent brain tumors.

7.  Filter your water

A study by the Environmental Working Group showed that filtered mains water is far safer and purer than bottled water. By drinking filtered water from the faucet you avoid BPA contaminants from plastic bottles. Filtering water reduces your exposure to suspected carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals. It a sensible means of brain cancer prevention.

8.  More caffeine

Although caffeine is frequently slated as being unhealthy, studies show that those who drink five or more cups of coffee a day have a 40% lower risk of brain cancer than those who drink less coffee.  However, if caffeine prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep, it may be more logical to avoid caffeine.  Also many women avoid caffeine due to a tendency toward fibro-cysts in the breast.  Use your best judgment when it comes to caffeine intake. 

9.  Increase selenium

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant found in Brazil nuts.  Studies at Dartmouth Medical School show that selenium protects cells from free radical damage and suppresses the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors, including brain tumors.

You have nothing to lose by adopting these simple practices which can considerably lower brain tumor risk factors and hopefully prevent brain cancer.

 

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What is a Stroke?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The word stroke often sends chills up the spines of many people, especially those who are getting older.  While nearly 800,000 Americans have a stroke every year, up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable.  What is a stroke exactly?  A little knowledge can dispel some of the myths associated with stroke and help reduce risks for experiencing one.

What is a stroke?  Learning more about one can help ensure prevention.

What is a stroke, and where does it occur in the body? 

A stroke occurs in the brain and is usually caused by obstructed blood flow to a specific area. When blood flow is blocked, brain cells die due to a lack of oxygen.  Some people experience total recovery from stroke, but over 65 percent of individuals who live through one end up with some form of disability.  Depending on the particular area of the brain and how much is affected, a stroke can result in minor temporary symptoms or more serious long-term disabilities like lost memory or impaired speech or muscle control.  

What are the main types of stroke?

The majority of strokes result from a blood clot that blocks a blood vessel to the brain.  These are called ischemic strokes.  A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel bursts or becomes weakened and leaks.  This results in bleeding into brain tissue and is the deadliest form of stroke.

Are there risk factors that contribute to stroke?

Risk factors for stroke include age, race, gender, and family history.  Strokes are more common in people 65 years of age and older, but chances for experiencing a stroke double every 10 years after the age of 55.  African-Americans are at greater risk for stroke than Caucasians due to higher rates of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.  Women have greater risks for stroke than men because they live longer on average, and individuals with a family history of stroke experience increased risks.

Related:  Is There a Connection Between Diet Soda and Stroke Risk?

Are there strategies to help prevent stroke?

People can make a variety of lifestyle changes to help prevent stroke, including the following:  

  • Do not smoke; if you do, stop
  • Eat a diet high in fiber, fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Limit the amount of sodium consumed to 1,500 mg per day
  • Maintain a healthy bodyweight
  • Engage in daily physical activity
  • Become conscious of feelings of anger or negativity, and make an effort to release them 
  • Try stress-relieving methods like meditation, yoga, or listening to soft music
  • Limit alcohol consumption to two daily drinks for men and one daily drink for women

The idea of a stroke can be scary, especially to aging individuals and their loved ones.  Fortunately, learning about different types of stroke, risk factors and healthy lifestyle strategies can help.  People with concerns about stroke should consult with a health care professional.

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Nine Ways to Promote Brain Health & Help Avoid Brain Cancer

by Health News

According to Dr. Thomas A. Sellars, up to 70% of cancers can be avoided by a change of lifestyle. Diet, exercise and avoiding tobacco are the most obvious, but there are other ways to help prevent brain tumors and reduce the risk of brain cancer. How many of these practices do you currently do?

Lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of brain cancer

1.     Drink caffeine every day

A British study on coffee drinkers found that those who drank more than five cups of caffeinated coffee had a 40% lower risk of developing brain tumors than those who drank less caffeine, or tea. Caffeine also reduces the risk of mouth and throat cancers.

2.     Use Hands-free Cell Phone Devices

While no definitive connection between brain cancer and cell phone electromagnetic radiation has yet been identified, but several studies suggest there is a link. Use a hands-free device to put some distance between your brain and the radio frequency emitting from the cell phone as a sensible precaution for brain cancer prevention; or use the speaker whenever possible. 

3.     Filter tap water

According to the report from the President’s Anti-Cancer Panel, drinking filtered tap water is safer than bottled water. A simple water filter can reduce exposure to suspected carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals, and it’s easy to do.

Related:  Five Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid

4.     Wear a Hat

Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that people with melanomas on the scalp, head or neck were twice as likely to develop cancer in other areas of the body.

5.     Don’t Top Your Tank

Pumping that last drop of gas into the gas tank after the nozzle clicks off can foil the vapor recovery system on the fuel pump, releasing toxic cancer-causing benzene into the air you are breathing. 

6.     Reduce Radiation to the Head

Every time your dentist x-rays your teeth, you are exposed to cancer-causing radiation. Keep x-rays of the head to a minimum to prevent brain cancer.

7.     Wash Fruit and Vegetables

While five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables are intended to improve health, produce should always be thoroughly washed before consuming. Spray pesticides contain at least 40 known carcinogens which increase brain tumor risk factors.

8.     Marinate Grill Meats

Cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed when meat is charred or burned, exactly what happens when grilling meat. The advice from Dr. Cheryl Lyn Walk, Professor of Carcinogenesis at University of Texas is to marinate meat with rosemary and thyme. These antioxidant-rich herbs can reduce HCAs by up to 87%.

9.     Reduce Metastatic Brain Cancer Risk

Tumors formed in other organs can spread to the brain causing metastatic brain cancer. It’s wise to take precautions against all types of cancer by eating antioxidant-rich dark green vegetables, selenium-rich Brazil nuts and exercising daily. By reducing the general risk of cancer, you can help prevent brain tumors and reduce brain tumor risk factors.

Did you score full marks for brain cancer prevention? If not, you need to make these lifestyle changes to help reduce your risk of a brain tumor.

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F.A.S.T. - The Sudden Signs of Stroke

by Health News

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.  A family history of stroke and lifestyle choices increases your risk. Knowing the F.A.S.T. stroke symptoms can help you avoid being severely disabled by a stroke since getting immediate medical attention is the key to a faster more complete recovery.

What Is F.A.S.T. Stroke Symptoms?

Symptoms can vary from person to person who experiences a stroke.  In general, however, these three symptoms, and what to do if you or someone you know has them, can save a life.

Fast stroke is an easy way to remember the signs to watch for.

F for Face drooping

When someone has a stroke it is common for one side of their face to droop.  When oxygen rich blood is cut off to the brain this can cause nerve and muscle damage. The muscles become weak and sag. If you see or experience this, call 911 immediately.

A for Arm weakness

A weakening of arm muscles on one side of the body is called hemiparesis.  The side of the brain and location of a stroke will determine where your body suddenly becomes weak.  If your right arm is numb and weakened the left side of your brain is most likely where the stroke has occurred.

S for Speech difficulties

Someone having a stroke may suddenly be unable to understand speech or have difficulty speaking.  Slurred or garbled speech is a big stroke warning sign.  Sometimes the person having a stroke may lose the ability to speak at all.

Related:  Does Higher Protein Intake Lower Stroke Risk?

T for Time to call 911

A stroke is a medical emergency, and that’s why the fast stroke protocol is so important.  Getting treatment immediately is crucial for a better recovery.  If you experience F, A, or S do not try to drive yourself to the hospital. You could lose your ability to see clearly, steer the car and even pass out. Call 911 and wait for help.

If you see anyone with F, A or S symptoms get them immediate medical attention. It’s best to call for an ambulance and let professionals care for your loved one rather than you trying to drive them to the hospital yourself. Their sirens will clear traffic and get the victim critical timely care to aid in recovery

 

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Brain Training: Fitness for Your Brain

by Cindy Gray

Like your muscles, the brain needs regular exercise or training to stay strong and functioning normally. Brain exercises or brain training can boost cognitive function and is especially important as we age. 

Brain Training: Fitness for Your Brain

Don’t Lose Your Mind

Move it or lose it is a phrase that applies to your brain as well as your body.  Studies show that certain good-old fashion common sense when it comes to diet, exercise and lifestyle are the key to keeping your brain healthy. 

Not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption and getting plenty of sleep are important, but so is regular physical activity that boosts circulation and blood flow to the brain.

There are several non-physical ways that also exercise your brain to keep it fit.  As it turns out, some specially designed computerized cognitive training is not particularly helpful in improving your cognitive abilities. So what is?  Real world activities!

Related:  Super Berries for Super Memory Enhancement for Older Adults

Novelty

When it comes to your brain’s physical fitness, change is good.  Challenging your brain regularly with something new has great benefits. It doesn’t have to be complex like solving a math algorithm either. Simply taking a new route home from the office, brushing your teeth or hair with your non-dominant hand or memorizing the lyrics to a new song can keep your noggin in tip top shape.

Real Challenges

To really boost your brain power, you can do simple challenges to going all out like learning a new language or taking up a new sport like golf, tennis or Karate. 

Other great ideas for brain fitness are:

  • Try to recall your grocery list an hour after you get home from the store.
  • Listen to music, or better yet, play it. Take piano or guitar lessons.
  • Balance your checkbook in your head.  Math is a strenuous brain workout when you don’t have pen and paper or a calculator.
  • Take a cooking class to create new or foreign cuisine. Cooking involves the five senses; smell, touch, sight and taste, all of which engage your brain in a meaningful way.
  • Take up a new hobby that demands good hand-eye skills like knitting or sewing, puzzles, drawing or painting.

You can exercise your brain regularly most anywhere. At the office make a conscious effort to block distractions and stay focused on one particular task until it’s complete.  The more you practice the better you will get at it. 

Just like your muscles, though, after a hard workout your brain needs time to recover.  Getting a good night’s sleep every night is one way to keep your mental faculties strong. Also, it’s not a bad idea to indulge in some mindless TV viewing once in awhile, especially watching something that makes you laugh. Meditation can also be very beneficial for letting your brain relax and rejuvenate.

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Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA Stroke: Facts Causes Symptoms Tests

by Health News

It sounds like an alien invasion but a Transient Ischemic Attack is something far more serious.  A TIA Stroke is also known as a mini-stroke due to a clot obstructing blood flow to the brain temporarily.  This is a serious warning sign of a bigger more lethal stroke so knowing the facts about a TIA stroke, like the causes, symptoms and tests for it could save your life.

What is TIA stroke?

Facts about TIA Stroke

A TIA stroke can happen when a blood clot in another part of the body breaks free and travels to the brain, temporarily blocking blood flow.  Low blood flow through a narrow part of a major artery like the carotid artery that supplies blood to the brain can also cause a so-called mini-stroke or TIA.  Smaller blood vessels to the brain that become constricted or clogged with plaque (a fatty substance) floating around in your blood stream can also cause one, too.

Important facts to remember are:

  • Approximately 40% of people who have a TIA will have an actual stroke
  • Almost half of all strokes occur within a few days of a TIA
  • TIA symptoms are the same as a major stroke but less severe and temporary

Causes

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is the main cause of a TIA.  Other things that cause this kind of stroke are:

  • High cholesterol (which leads to plaque in the blood stream)
  • Narrow blood vessels that supply blood to the brain
  • Diabetes
  • Blood Clots

Symptoms

A TIA stroke has the same symptoms as a regular stroke but they are a lot less severe and usually don’t last very long, maybe for only a few minutes. That’s why they are often times dismissed by people, which is unfortunate because a bigger more destructive stroke is sure to follow.  Knowing the symptoms of a TIA stroke is critical to preventing that.

  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness in one arm or leg that comes and goes
  • Feeling dizzy for no reason
  • Suddenly feeling fatigued
  • Tingling throughout the body
  • Confusion and/or temporary memory loss
  • Difficulty speaking or garbled speech
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Vision problems
  • A sudden increase in blood pressure
  • An abrupt personality change
  • Passing out

Someone experiencing a TIA stroke may only experience a few of these symptoms and only very briefly.  No matter if you only have one symptom and it goes away quickly seek medical attention.

Related:  Oranges:  Can They Prevent a Stroke?

Tests

If you think you are having or had a TIA get to your doctor immediately for these tests:

  • A mental assessment
  • Eye range of motion
  • Listening to blood flow through the neck to detect narrow blood vessels
  • Heart rhythm examination
  • Examining legs and arms for tone, strength and sensation

If you doctor diagnosis you with a TIA you will probably undergo:

  • An EKG (electrocardiogram) to see if your heart beat is irregular
  • CT Scan (computerized tomography) to check for bleeding in the brain
  • CT Angiogram to evaluate your cerebral, carotid and vertebral arteries
  • Blood tests that check your for anemia and/or a lack of platelets
  • An echocardiogram to determine if the heart is the source of clots or debris in the blood

Any small sign of stroke even if it only lasts for a few minutes is reason for concern.  A TIA stroke or TIA mini-stroke is a wake-up call that your health, and possibly your life, is in danger so seek medical attention and ward off an actual stroke.

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Memory Problems and When to Seek Help

by Cindy Gray

We are all forgetful from time to time. Everybody has misplaced their car keys, forgotten to take their medicine or can’t remember a password.  As we age though, what these lapses in memory mean can be cause for concern.  What is normal age-related memory loss and what are memory problems?

What memory problems should you be concerned about?

Normal Age Related Memory Lapses

You may be telling someone about a great book you just finished and go completely blank on what the title is. Perhaps you find yourself in the garage with no idea what you went into it for, or suddenly can’t remember the street your friend lives on despite visiting her there for years.  While frustrating, these types of memory losses are part of normal aging and not cause for concern.

Minor memory lapses are not the same as dementia or the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.  Severe memory loss is not an inevitable part of aging either. Our brains can create new brain cells regardless of age.  In a way your brain is much like your muscles, if you don’t exercise and strengthen them they become weak.  Your brain needs to be regularly challenged to maintain cognitive skills through reading, doing crossword puzzles, playing card games and even with physical exercises like playing golf, swimming or doing Tai Chi.

Related:  How Aerobic Exercise Battles Cognitive Decline and Dementia

Abnormal Memory Problems

There are several signs and symptoms it is time to seek medical attention when memory problems become so severe and frequent that they interfere with daily life.  Symptoms of mild cognitive impairment or MCI are:

  • Difficulty recalling the names of new acquaintances
  • Losing or misplacing things regularly
  • Being unable to follow the flow of a conversation
  • Frequently forgetting important things like doctor appointment, or planned social outings

If this is you or a loved one, it is time to seek medical attention for diagnosis as to what may be causing the memory lapses.

Dementia is a definite possibility if you or someone you know experiences:

  • Problems with finding the right words to express themselves
  • Mood changes like frequent anger, or the opposite, apathy or feeling depressed
  • Inability to perform normal everyday tasks like balancing their checkbook, figuring out how to run the dishwasher or unable to remember how to play a simple game like checkers
  • Frequent bouts of confusion about where they are, what day it is, who a loved one is, or where they normally sit at the dinner table
  • Repetitive behaviors like asking the same question over and over or obsessively collecting items they don’t need or bathing several times a day

A diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is grim news and is much more important than just run of the mill memory problems. The person who is suffering from either will need a lot of support and encouragement at first, and eventually round the clock care.  There is no cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s but a doctor may prescribe certain drugs to try and slow down the progression of the symptoms. Staying active and socially engaged will help to ward off depression and relieve symptoms temporarily.

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How Fish Oil Increases Joint Mobility

by IVL Products

Many Americans take fish oil supplements because they are known to help prevent heart disease, enhance the look and health of skin and hair and even bring relief from the symptoms of depression.  Another good reason to pop those pills is the benefits of omega-3 fish oils for joints.

What are the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for joints?

What Is Omega-3?

Omega-3 fatty acids are called essential fats because the body cannot make them and must rely on getting them from diet. Omega-3 fats are special because they are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body. They affect the function of cell receptors in these membranes and provide essential compounds for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, the contraction and relaxation of artery walls and help to control inflammation. They are also crucial to the binding of receptors in cells that regulate genetic function.  This is what makes them helpful in preventing heart disease, stroke, keeping your eyes moist, your skin soft and supple and your hair strong and shiny.

The key compounds in omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and are found in several types of foods. They are most abundant in fish, specifically cold-water “oily fish” like:

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Tuna
  • Halibut
  • Cod
  • Trout

Other foods with omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, flax seeds, olive oil and green leafy vegetables.

Related:  Could Fish Oil One Day Take the Place of Statin Drugs?

The Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oils for Joints

Joint pain is largely caused by inflammation of the cartilage and tissue in the joint, leading to stiffness and decreased range of motion.  EPA and DHA have been shown in clinical studies to reduce inflammation, and to a lesser degree ALA, by decreasing the presence of inflammatory markers like IL-10 and TGF beta.

In petri dish studies, when omega-3 fatty acids were incorporated into the cartilage cell membranes of joints they appeared to decrease the enzymes that degrade cartilage and inflammatory cytokines. An “over expression of cytokines” by the immune system causes inflammation to the body beyond what is needed, essentially attacking healthy cells and destroying them.

Fish Oil Supplements

It is difficult to get enough omega-3 fatty acids through diet alone. Taking a fish oil supplements is an easy way to incorporate enough into your daily diet so you don’t get burned out eating fish for every meal.

For adults choose a fish oil supplement with 30% or more EPA and DHA in addition to eating fish and plant foods rich in omega-3s. Be sure to consult with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet to avoid unfavorable drug interactions.  Then you’ll be on your way to enjoying the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for joints!

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10 Best Brain Games to Improve Your Memory

by Health News

You just can’t build your brain as you get older, right? The more scientists study the brain the more impressed they become. The brain is capable of growth and development throughout life. One of the best ways to improve overall brain health and improve memory is to challenge yourself through brain games. In this article we will examine 10 of the best ways to enhance your memory.

Chess is one of the top brain games.

#1:  Chess

Chess has endured for centuries and for good reason. Not only is chess one of the more complicated of brain games, but it also forces players to think ahead and remember a variety of possible moves; this also helps to make chess one of the top memory improvement games.

#2:  Action Based Video Games

Video games such as “shooters” and other action based video games might not seem like most people’s first pick for improving memory, but these kinds of games require players to remember where enemies are and respond quickly. The end result is a serious memory and reaction time workout.

#3:  Puzzle Based Video Games

Puzzle based video games such as the famous Tetris will definitely increase your reaction time and help boost your memory. For example, having to remember and instantly recall the shape of previous placed pieces is sure to help you give your memory a workout. There are literally endless puzzle based video games and the trick is to find the ones that are demanding and enjoyable.

Related:  How to Spice Up Your Memory with Turmeric

#4:Scrabble

Scrabble certainly has a lot of fans and as it turns out Scrabble is uniquely good at helping players exercise their memories and their vocabulary. Scrabble is fun and helps build one’s memory by exercising word recall.

#5:  Go

The ancient strategy game of Go really gives one’s mind a real work out. It is a strategy game that is very different than chess and requires players to work to acquire as much of the board as possible.

#6:  Sudoku

If you’ve never tried Sudoku, then you are in for a real treat. Sudoku gives your brain a workout but does so in a way that most people find quite new. Filling in the Sudoku boxes might seem simple at first but there is no doubt that Sudoku represents a true brain challenge.

#7:  Card Games

Remember the card matching games of childhood? Think that they are just for childhood? Think again, if you are looking for ways to proven memory improvement games then you’ll have a tough time topping what memory matching card games can offer.

#8:  Board Games

Board games are another way to boost your memory. In fact some of history’s most popular board games such as Battleship require players to remember the location of player’s fleets. Like chess, Battleship is another way to develop your logical and strategic side.

#9: Games Specifically Designed for Brain Building

There are several companies who have created games specifically designed to build one’s brain. One of the most popular is Lumosity, but there are others. There is some controversy as to how well these games work but many feel that these kinds of games can enhance memory.

#10:  The Games You’ll Play

The most important brain game is, of course, the ones you’ll play. If you are not enjoying a brain game, then simply keep trying new ones until you find the right fit!

These 10 brain game options offer something different for everyone. No matter what kind of games you like, this list should have something for you.

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Seven Lifestyle-Based Ways to Improve Your Memory

by Cindy Gray

How you live impacts how you feel and how well your brain functions. In this article, we will take a closer look at seven lifestyle changes that you can make. We’ll cover everything from ways to improve memory and memory improvement tips to tricks and tips such as the use of mnemonic devices.

Puzzles are one of the best ways to improve memory

Tip #1:  Great Sleep

Without a doubt one of the single most important steps you can take to improve your memory, your mood, your immune system and your overall health is to invest in better sleep. The choice to use the word “sleep” is no accident, as great sleep has been proven to help build great brains.

Tip #2:  Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, chia seeds, walnuts and more. The brain is essentially 3 pounds of fat and it needs healthy fat, like omega-3s to stay healthy. The bottom line is that if you want to enhance your memory, your body needs omega-3s.

Related:  Five Tips to Avoiding Memory Loss

Tip #3:  Invest in a Healthy Diet

The food you eat will impact your mood, the health of your body and, of course, your brain health and memory. Poor food choices weaken the immune system, can lead to disease, increase inflammation throughout the body and can leave one simply feeling sluggish. If you want excellent recall, then invest in a healthy diet consisting largely of fruits and vegetables as well as healthy protein sources such as nuts, seeds and organically raised lean cuts of meat.

Tip #4: Exercise

Studies have shown that those who exercise actually build and maintain healthier brains that those who do not and this does make sense as exercising increases blood flow to the brain. When selecting any type of exercise whether it is resistance training or aerobic conditioning, your number one priority is to perform all exercises correctly and safely. Remember if you are injured, you can’t work out, and that means no brain benefits!

Tip #5: Skip the Multitasking

Multitasking is unpleasant, your brain hates it and it can negatively impact your memory. It takes focus to build a great memory and that focus can’t be achieved while multitasking. Also, for most people multitasking is stressful. Increased stress means increased stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Prolonged exposure to stress hormones will negatively impact your health, so skip the multitasking!

Tip #6:  Brain Games

The best brain games are the ones you love. There are many different ways that you can use brain games to improve your memory. Playing just a few minutes of brain games per week can help you see improvements. Games such as chess, even puzzle and action video games can all be used to help you build your memory.

Tip #7:  Mnemonic Devices

Simply stated, mnemonic devices work! A mnemonic device is any tool that helps you remember something better and with greater recall. Some famous mnemonic is ROY G BIV which is used to remember the colors of the rainbow. Try adapting the strategy of mnemonics in your own life and you’ll see that you can remember and recall a great deal of information.

Together these seven memory improvement tips will help you boost your memory. When you improve your health you’ll enjoy greater mental clarity and focus. Armed with this clarity and focus you can expect to enjoy a significant improvement in overall memory and recall.

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The Six Best Brain Foods

by IVL Products

Is it possible that some foods are better for your brain than others? Are some foods truly “brain foods?” The simple answer is yes, but the topic of brain health and nutrition is much more complicated than simply selecting the right foods. 

Those looking to gain the mental edge will want to try brain foods such as Wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, and nuts and seeds packed with omega-3 fatty acids.

In order to have a truly healthy brain, it is also necessary to avoid foods such as trans fats and reduce process food intake as much as possible. Processed foods contain brain and DNA damaging compounds such as artificial colors, preservatives, pesticides, sugar, artificial sweeteners and more. Avoiding harmful foods is the foundation of good brain health and good overall health. Let’s take a look at six amazing brain foods!

#1:  Wild Alaskan Salmon

Generally, what is good for the heart is also viewed as being a healthy choice for the brain. One of the healthiest brain and heart healthy options out there comes in the form of wild Alaskan salmon. The reason is that wild Alaskan salmon is packed with brain health boosting omega-3 fatty acids. It is vitally important to remember that the brain consists of fat and it needs the right kinds of fat to be healthy.

When selecting salmon, only opt for wild salmon and preferably wild Alaskan salmon, as it is generally seen as being the healthiest option. You should completely avoid farmed raised salmon, as farm raised salmon typically contains elevated levels of harmful chemicals.

Related20 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body and Soul

#2:  Sardines

Our second pick is also another fish. Sardines are true natural wonders. These small fish are low on the food chain and that means they bio-accumulate less heavy metals than larger fish such as salmon. Additionally, like salmon, sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines are also low in calories and high in minerals such as calcium. In short, sardines are a true standout and one of the world’s top brain foods.

#3: Purified Fish Oil

Yes, our third brain booster is another fish product. Fish oil can be very high in important brain boosting compounds such as DHA and EPA; however, you should only consume fish oil that has been purified. Un-purified cod liver oil for example can harbor high levels of mercury and other heavy metals. In short, un-purified fish oil should be avoided. Purified wild salmon oil and sardine and anchovy oil is an excellent pick.

#4:  Walnuts

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, don’t worry, as there are plenty of good brain boosting foods for you as well. At the very top of the list are walnuts. Walnuts are an excellent source of protein but that is only the beginning. Walnuts are also high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.

#5:  Nuts and Seeds

In addition to walnuts, all nuts and seeds have brain-boosting benefits. Nuts and seeds are high in vitamins and minerals, as well as compounds that boost overall brain health. Just remember that all most nuts and seeds, while packed with goodness are also packed with calories.

#6:  Blueberries

The fact that blueberries make the list often surprises many, but the simple blueberry is quite the winner. Blueberries work wonders for improving brain health and reducing oxidative stress. Studies have shown that blueberries are something of a superfood when it comes to protecting the brain. Don’t skip blueberries.

Besides, blueberries are super easy to add to any diet. A handful can quickly and easily be tossed into one’s morning cereal, oatmeal, shakes, smoothies and more.

Together these five brain boosters can help you guard your brain health and maybe even improve brain function. Our aging population is becoming increasingly concerned about neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s diseases. Luckily, nature has some great options for helping us protect brain health now and in the future.

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Five Reasons You Can’t Concentrate

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The bottom line is that if you can’t concentrate, you simply can’t accomplish. There is no success without being able to concentrate. In this article we will explore five of the best ways to boost concentration.  If you are experiencing an inability to focus, as this article will help you focus and achieve more.

What can you do about an inability to focus?

#1:  Sleep

A lack of sleep isn’t just tough on the body. Scientific research has shown that the human body goes through a great deal of stress when it is unable to sleep. Inefficient sleep leads to an increase in the production of stress hormones, which trigger inflammation. This is critically important, as inflammation is the mechanism through which many diseases spread including cancer.

Poor sleep can lead to a weakened immune system and also increase one’s inability to focus. If you want to achieve greater focus, then adequate, high-quality sleep is the place to begin.

#2:  A Poor Diet

Just as a lack of sleep triggers inflammation, weakens the immune system and can hamper one’s ability to focus, the same holds true for a poor diet. While a nutritious wholesome diet can boost one’s health, conversely a poor diet can have serious, negative implications.

Improving your concentration means improving your diet. By opting for a diet that mostly consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, low-fat proteins and healthy grains, your body will see positive results. You’ll feel better and enjoy greater sleep. A healthy diet, rich in whole foods and vitamins and minerals is one that fights inflammation and boosts overall health.

Related:  Link Between Poor Quality Sleep and Inflammation

#3:  Needless Distractions

It is no shock that distractions can prevent you from achieving greater levels of concentration. However, much of what leads to an inability to focus is centered on needless distractions. Social media overuse, keeping one’s phone on around the clock and excessive media consumption can all lead to significant focusing problems and issues. So turn off your gadgets and step away from the computer.

#4:  You’re Over-committed

Feel like you have too much on your plate? You are, of course, not alone, but feeling as though you have too much on your plate also means you are likely to be distracted. Multitasking is difficult and requires a great deal from the brain. A better option is to focus on one task at a time until completed as often as possible. Follow this simple rule and you’ll see your concentration levels soar!

#5:  You Need Practice

Achieving greater concentration is like many other things in life. The more you practice improving your concentration the more likely it is that your concentration levels will improve. Meditation is an excellent place to begin improving your concentration levels. Additionally, studies show that meditation can boost the immune system, improve one’s mood and even improve brain function and memory.

By putting these five tips into action you will see your concentration levels improve. Greater concentration is about more than simply pushing yourself. Ultimately, it is about taking great care of both your body and your mind.

 

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Five Fun Ways to Connect With Your Partner

by Cindy Gray

Life for most couples is busy as they juggle work, raising a family and maintaining a home with sports, church, hobbies and other commitments. It’s easy to lose sight of your priorities and neglect your partner as you live life at full speed. Here are some ways to connect with your spouse and keep your relationship fresh and loving.

Impulsive treats are good ways to connect with your spouse

Sharing Food Pleasures

There are plenty of ways to share time and food together and add to the quality of your relationship with your partner or spouse. Try meeting for lunch occasionally. It need not be a restaurant – sharing a brown bag lunch in the park can be a great way to connect with your spouse, just like you did when you were courting!

If you both enjoy cooking, prepare a meal together. It’s fun to be in the kitchen sharing tips and chatting as you create something together. Develop your teamwork skills, or each take responsibility for a separate dish. Try new recipes then sit down and eat together. If one partner does not like to cook, they can participate by opening wine and preparing the table, complete with candlelight and soft music. As Shakespeare said: “If music be the food of love, play on.”

Play Games

Have a night without the TV. Get out a favorite board game, play cards, challenge your partner to a word game, or do a giant crossword together. It’s a great chance to communicate, laugh together and have fun as a new way to connect with your spouse.

Go on a Picnic

A change of routine can be great for relationships that are getting a little predictable and boring. Plan a romantic picnic, perhaps as a surprise for your partner. Pack a few of their favorite foods and head off to a beauty spot that you have always intended to visit, or perhaps a place that has a special significance in your relationship. A picnic provides time to talk without distractions as you share romantic moments together.

Related:  Seven Exercises for Better Sex

Ask Each Other Questions

Communicating is an all-important way to connect with your spouse. Make time to ask each other questions, and listen carefully and quietly to the answers. It can be a special time to learn what your partner really thinks about you, your future or perhaps pursue a special dream together.

Share Happy Memories

Every couple shares happy memories that can only be appreciated by the other partner. Cuddle close and share old photographs as you recall when you met, when he proposed, your wedding day, birth of a child or special vacation. Happy memories build happy futures, making this the best possible way to connect with your spouse.

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The Ultimate Food Guide to Omega-3s

by Health News

Once you’ve discovered the unparalleled health benefits of omega-3, the next logical step is to stock up on foods high in omega-3. Here are some of the foods with omega-3 that you should put on your shopping list every week, and they are far wider than just fish!

Cold water fish are an excellent example of foods high in omega-3

Top omega-3 fatty acids foods are cold water fish including:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Trout
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Halibut
  • Sardines

Fortified dairy foods with omega-3:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Margarine
  • Soy milk
  • Yogurt

Grains and nuts that are omega-3 food sources:

  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Flaxseed
  • Pasta
  • Peanut butter
  • Oatmeal
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Walnuts

Fresh produce foods high in omega-3:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Watercress
  • Parsley
  • Mint

Vegetables oils and foods with omega-3

  • Canola oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Soybean oil

You’ll also find fruit juices, enriched protein powders and weight loss shakes are good omega-3 fatty acids foods to top up your daily omega-3 intake.

Related:  15 Health Benefits of Omega 3 Fats in Vascular Disease

Doctors recommend foods high in omega-3, particularly those that contain DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). The third type of omega-3, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) can actually be made from DHA and EPA by the body, although it is not an efficient way to obtain it. ALA is a plant-based omega-3, which is high in antioxidants and supports a healthy immune system, muscle mass and memory. Spinach and kale are good sources of omega-3 foods in the diet.

How Much Omega-3 Foods are Required Daily?

As yet there is no official recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for omega-3, but Dr. Andrew Weil suggests eating oily fish 2-3 times a week and topping up with walnuts, ground flaxseed and salads for ALA.

The National Institutes of Health has recommended that people eat at least 2% of their total daily calories as omega-3 fats (that’s about 2000 mg for a 2,000-calorie/day diet). Other sources recommend aiming for 500-1000 mg omega-3 daily. As a guideline, a small can of tuna or salmon contains 500mg. If you suspect any shortfall, it’s worth topping up your daily allowance of omega-3 foods with fish oil supplements.

 

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How to Have a Healthy Mouth

by IVL Products

There’s a lot more to a healthy mouth than just cleaning your teeth. Fresh breath and healthy gums need care, and what you eat also contributes to your oral health.

A healthy mouth requires daily cleaning of teeth and gums.

Food Do’s and Don’ts for a Healthy Mouth

Eat plenty of calcium-rich foods including milk, yogurt and cheese. Calcium maintains strong bones and teeth and is particularly important for children as they develop their adult teeth.

Avoid sticky sweets and taffies that coat the teeth with sugar. This breaks down and forms acid which rots the tooth enamel, causing tooth decay. If you do eat sweets, rinse your mouth or brush the teeth afterwards. Chewing gum after a meal stimulates saliva for a healthy mouth, but make sure you choose natural, sugar-free gum without artificial sweeteners.

Keeping Gums Healthy

Gum disease is caused by bacteria that reside in tartar and plaque build-up in the mouth. Plaque is the sticky coating on teeth that is caused by food and saliva. An important part of cleaning your teeth is to remove this bacteria-harboring plaque before it hardens into tartar.

Bacteria are also present in tartar, causing inflammation, bad breath and gum disease, called gingivitis. Tartar unfortunately needs a dentist or dental hygienist to remove it, which is why regular dental checkups and professional cleaning are an important part of maintaining a healthy mouth and gums.

Gum disease is associated with an increased risk of heart disease as it provides a portal for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Stage one gingivitis is evidenced by red tender gums that bleed easily when brushing your teeth. It can be reversed with regular brushing and flossing of teeth.

If left untreated, gingivitis will develop into second stage gum disease – mild to moderate periodontitis. Increased inflammation, pain when chewing, and bleeding gums are likely as the bacteria break down the teeth attachments within the infected gums. The gums recede and pockets open at the base of the teeth, allowing more infected material to lodge there. The third stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis with loss of bone supporting the teeth and eventually tooth loss.

Related: How To Prevent Cavities by Eating Cheese

Clean Teeth Mean a Healthy Mouth

Clean teeth are essential for a healthy mouth as this helps prevent cavities, gum disease and tooth loss. It’s important to brush teeth thoroughly with a soft brush every morning and before bed; and after each meal if possible. An electric toothbrush is particularly helpful as the rotating brushes give a thorough scrub of the surface of each tooth. Electric water flossers have become popular because a stream of water (mixed with mouth wash too) flushes debris out of the pockets and helps to soothe tender gums.

Store your toothbrush in the open air as a closed container can encourage the growth of microorganisms on the bristles.

Use floss to remove plaque between the teeth. Pull the floss to the gum then work it gently from side to side below the gumline for a thorough clean of each tooth base.

By eating healthily, cleaning and flossing daily and having regular dental check-ups you’ll have fresh breath, a healthy mouth, teeth and gums that should last a lifetime. 

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Getting Rid of Clutter in Your Life

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Some people are hoarders by nature, while others seem to have a continuous compulsion to get rid of clutter or anything they don’t immediately need. There’s a balance between Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism and excessive hoarding. Bring order and freedom to your life as you learn to discern what is worth keeping, and what is not.

If your garage looks like this, it’s time to get rid of clutter!

If you are a hoarder by nature, there are two huge benefits that may help you get rid of clutter more easily…

Get Rid of Clutter and Feel Free

Start your de-cluttering with a single cupboard or set of drawers. You need to make a decision about every item: to keep it, donate it, sell it or trash it. Put each item into its relevant pile or box and return the “keep” items tidily back into the cupboard or drawer after wiping or vacuuming the dust out of the empty space.

Notice there’s now lots more space and you can now easily find the items you have chosen to keep. Enjoy that sense of achievement as you see the bag of trash and the box of items that have been earmarked for sale or sending to a favorite charity.   

Once you get rid of clutter, you will find it is enormously rewarding and provides a strange sense of liberation as you take charge of your home and life. Once you have decluttered a small area, move on to a whole room, and finally tackle the entire house, loft, garage and garden shed.

Celebrate that sense of freedom and resolve to spend 10 minutes each week going through accumulated clutter such as old newspapers, junk mail and things you really no longer need.

Related:  Your Home Health Checklist

Get Rid of Clutter and Help Others

Often it is a frugal upbringing that leads to a habit of keeping everything “just in case.” Once you have earmarked some things that you no longer need but still have some use, there are various ways to dispose of them.

If you have lots of items you no longer need, consider holding a garage sale. Get together with a few neighbors to make it worthwhile, and run an ad in a free local newspaper, on Facebook or online. List furniture or large items on internet sales sites (always using common sense and caution.)

If the thought of actually selling your stuff fills you with horror, a good solution is to donate the items to a good cause. There are sure to be charities in your area, selling gently used and unwanted items for a good cause. They appreciate donations of furniture, clothing, toys, books and household items; provide work experience for the unemployed; offer affordable items for sale and raise funds for charity.

Helping others by donating your unwanted stuff is another reason to feel good as you get rid of clutter in your life. 

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How to Improve Short-Term Memory – Tips and Tricks

by IVL Products

Many people get frustrated with their increasing forgetfulness as they age. It's quite common to forget names, conversations or where you have put things. If this sounds like you, we'll show you how to improve short term memory with some useful brain-training tips.

Brain games are a good aid to how to improve short term memory

What is Short-term Memory?

Short term memory is the area of the brain that stores small amounts of information for a short time. If you are a computer buff, think of it as the equivalent to your computer's random access memory (RAM). Your brain sorts through your short-term memory and assigns some information to your long-term memory, discarding the remainder.

Unfortunately, the human brain stops growing and starts to shrink in your 20s, so you actually have less active brain cells as you age. This natural aging process usually affects short-term memory primarily. For instance, you are likely to easily recall people and places from back in the past; it’s only more recent encounters that you have problems with i.e. those committed to short-term memory.

Although memory loss can be associated with Alzheimer's disease, stress or depression, it is often the result of the natural aging process. Learning how to improve short term memory will set your mind at rest, as well as that of your family.

Related:  Five Simple Tips to Naturally Improve Brain Health

How to Improve Short Term Memory by Training Your Brain

Studies show that people who keep their mind active can delay the onset of dementia and mental decline. To keep your brain active and your mind alert, read, write your memoir, learn a new language, do puzzles, write poetry or play card games, anything to keep the brain busy and happy.

Lumosity is a popular site for online brain training providing a great answer to how to improve short term memory. It provides cognitive tests in fun games designed by scientists. A 10-week study on 4,714 participants showed that those who did Lumosity puzzles regularly retained better mental agility than those who did regular crossword puzzles – interesting food for thought!

Memory Chunking

Scientists know that the human memory can easily recall seven random numbers; however, most telephone numbers, bank accounts and even passwords have more than this. The answer is to break down large numbers into easy chunks. If you have a 9-digit telephone number, remember it as three groups of three-digit numbers. Repetition and writing it down a few times should help you recall the number weeks later. Give chunking a try!

Memory Supplements

Many natural supplements and vitamins boost blood supply to the brain or help improve cognitive function. The B vitamins, particularly B6, B12 and B9 (folic acid) are shown to improve verbal ability and help the brain process new data.

Antioxidants such as vitamins C, E and beta-carotene fight the effects of free radicals and help protect the brain from damage. Fruit and vegetables are a good source of these important nutrients.  Avoid artificial sweeteners as well; studies show an alarming connection between them and reduction in brain health.

Finally, omega-3 fish oils support memory and brain function, so enjoy salmon, tuna and mackerel twice a week and keep taking those daily fish oil supplements. Now you know how to improve short term memory, don’t forget to follow it through!

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