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Worried about your memory?

2019 January 23
by HISD Communications

Boost your brain power with these easy tips

Everyone has minor memory lapses from time to time – like losing keys or forgetting names. That’s normal. The good news is that you can take healthy steps now to help protect your brain. Try these tips to enhance your brain health at any age.

Find more tips on the HISD Benefits website here.

Eat smart to boost brain power. You can fight back against age-related dementia and cognitive decline by making healthy food choices.¹

  • Don’t skip breakfast. Fuel your body with a healthy breakfast, which may improve short-term memory and attention. Focus on high-fiber whole grains and fruit.
  • Enjoy a handful of berries. Foods with powerful antioxidant properties, such as blueberries, may reduce and even reverse age-related damage to brain cells.
  • Add avocados to your lunch. The healthy fats in avocados are essential for brain and heart health.
  • Snack on nuts and seeds. These are a good source of vitamin E, which may help keep your mind sharp.
  • Eat fish two times per week. Omega-3 fatty acids found in certain fish are believed to protect the brain.

Get your heart pumping. When you have healthy blood flow from the heart to the brain, your brain can function better. Help your brain by breaking a sweat.

  • Go for a walk. Aerobic exercise can help protect memory and thinking skills.2 This includes any activity where you break a sweat and get your heart pumping.
  • Blow off steam. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that can negatively affect the brain’s memory center.²
  • Focus on physical activity that helps you relax and let go of stress, whether it’s strength training, kickboxing or yoga.
  • Challenge your mind—have you flexed your memory lately? Mental exercise stimulates the brain and memory, and it’s something you need to do every day to stay sharp. ²
  • Engage your brain with mentally challenging tasks.
    • Do mental math. How much will it cost to fill up the tank with gas? Try to run the numbers in your head instead of reaching for a calculator.
    • Play mind games. Test your skills with a crossword or sudoku puzzle. Try a brainteaser book or app for fun.
    • Learn something new. Take an art class or learn a few words in a new language

Keep calm, as it’s good for your memory. Stress and anxiety can strain on your brain. If you’re stressed out, you may have trouble thinking clearly and remembering details. That’s because the hormones your body releases when under stress can impair your memory and problem-solving skills.³ Taking control of your stress can help you shake off the negative effects on your memory. Try these tips for clearing your mind and shifting from stressed to calm.

  • Change your focus. Feeling distressed after reading bad news headlines? Shift your mindset: Flip the script and share a positive article you found on social media.
  • Zap stress with exercise. Worried sick about what might happen tomorrow? Shift your mindset: Clear your mind by going for a walk.
  • Get some fresh air. Bottling up the stress of a high-pressure situation at work or home? Shift your mindset: Stretch your legs and go outdoors to get some oxygen and a fresh perspective.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Stressed out by an overwhelming task on your own (e.g., filing taxes or getting a medical test)? Shift your mindset: Ask for help or bring someone with you for support.

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¹ WebMD. “Slideshow: Brain Foods That Help You Concentrate.” Web (last reviewed/updated Nov. 14, 2017).
² WebMD. “9 Brain Boosters to Prevent Memory Loss.” Web (last reviewed/updated Aug. 17, 2016).
³ Mayo Clinic. “Chronic Stress Puts Your Health at Risk.” Web (last reviewed/updated Apr. 21, 2016).

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