Powering-up memory and concentration

Finding it hard to recall things lately or perhaps your focus is not as sharp as it used to be?

As we age, we all start to notice changes in our ability to concentrate and remember things. While there is no ‘magic fix’, there are key areas in our everyday lives that pack a punch when it comes to keeping our brains happy, healthy and performing at their best.

  • A healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting enough sleep

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with these 3 key areas can benefit your overall health too – so it won’t only be your brain thanking you when you get these healthy habits right.

Can foods boost memory and concentration?

The foods we eat not only provide energy for our bodies, but they also have a big impact on the structure and health of our brains.

Optimising your nutrition by including brain-boosting foods in your daily diet helps your brain stay healthy – including helping to keep your memory and focus as sharp as they can be.

Here are some brain-boosting foods you can look at including in your diet:

  • Oily fish

Salmon, tuna, blue-eye trevalla, mackerel, herring and sardines are all high in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of ‘good’ unsaturated fat essential for brain health. These fats help build and repair brain cells, are linked to slower mental decline and play an important role in enhancing memory – particularly as we get older.

Our body can’t make these types of fats, so it’s important we get all the omega-3 fatty acids we need from the foods we eat.

Don’t like fish? Don’t worry! There are other good omega-3 sources such as squid, scallops and mussels, or plant-based sources such as walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, canola oil and soybean oil – plus taking omega-3 supplements can help too.

  • Berries

Snacking on berries – such as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, blackcurrants and mulberries – that are packed with flavonoid antioxidants may help reduce inflammation throughout the body, improve brain cell communication, help boost learning and memory, and may help protect the brain from age-related problems.

  • Turmeric

Including turmeric – the bright yellow Indian spice – in your dishes and drinks may help preserve your brain’s health.

How does turmeric work its magic? Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, which is a strong antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory effects on the body – which means it potentially has a number of benefits for the brain. For example, it’s thought to help protect the brain from aging, improve mood as well as enhance memory and attention.

  • Wholegrains

Your brain cannot work without energy and the low-GI carbohydrates in wholegrain foods slowly release their energy – so you can stay focused for longer and helping memory and recall when learning.

Wholegrain foods, such as unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice, are also high in fibre and rich in other important nutrients that can benefit the brain, such as B vitamins, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, copper and magnesium.

  • Leafy green vegetables

Adding a daily serve of leafy green vegetables – like kale, spinach, chard or lettuce – to your diet is a simple way to improve brain health. Leafy greens are rich in lutein, folate, beta-carotene and vitamin K, and have been shown to be one of the best vegetables for slowing down the effects of aging on the brain – such as poor memory.

Exercising for memory and concentration

Regular exercise – whether it’s aerobic or resistance – has the ability to boost your memory and improve attention. Combining the two forms of exercise in your training program has been shown to lead to greater brain benefits than just sticking to one type of training.

Even a short 5-minute bout of low-impact exercise – such as a brisk walk – immediately after studying may enhance your memory and recall of information!

Don’t forget to exercise your brain too – setting aside time for a bit of fun and a challenge with brain training games can help improve memory, concentration and thinking speed.

Are you getting enough sleep?

Our brains aren’t designed to stay alert 24/7, so if you are struggling with brain fog and poor memory it could mean you are not getting enough good quality sleep.

On average, we need between 7 and 8.5 hours of sleep per day, although this varies from person to person. If we’re not getting our full quota of sleep our brains can have problems learning, memorising, retaining and recalling information. Being sleep deprived also affects how alert we feel, causes lapses in attention and can lead to us making poor decisions.

Vitamins & minerals for memory and concentration

A healthy diet and lifestyle supplying the required energy and nutrients is the best way to help support a healthy brain – but when we don’t get enough of our essential vitamins and minerals from our daily diet, supplements may help.

Vitamins and minerals – contained in Berocca – can help reduce tiredness and are important for supporting memory, concentration and mental alertness.

  • B vitamins (including B1, B2, B3, B6, folate (B9) and B12) – support energy release from food to provide energy for mind and body
  • Vitamin C – is an antioxidant that may help support physical performance, your immune system and nervous system function
  • Calcium – helps support a healthy brain and nervous system
  • Zinc – is an essential mineral needed in various processes in your body and plays an important role as an antioxidant, supporting immune and cognitive functions
  • Magnesium – helps reduce tiredness and plays an important role in relaying signals between your brain and body, and protecting brain cells from being overstimulated

If you’re taking other medications, remember it’s important to speak to your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any supplements.

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