What did you eat for breakfast yesterday? How about a week ago yesterday? If you can’t recall it’s no big deal. After all knowing what you ate for breakfast last week isn’t really all that useful. But losing other memories and information can be a problem.
So is there more you could be doing to protect your memory and keep brain burps to a minimum?
It turns out the answer is yes. In fact we have eight strange, but effective, tricks to share with you that you can start using right away to help safeguard your memory for years to come.
1. Chew gum:
No one’s exactly sure why it works, but chewing gum has been linked to better short and long term memory. Some experts think that it has to do with stimulating activity in the hippocampus part of our brain. Others link it to the natural insulin release that we get when we chew.
The simplest answer may be that when we chew gum we get a small bump in heart rate increasing the delivery of oxygen and other nutrients to our brain. But regardless of the reason why, it looks like this childhood habit is one you might want to pick back up again.
2. Take a walk:
Can you walk and chew gum at the same time? If so that would be perfect because it’s not just gum that’s good for your brain, exercise can help protect your memory too. But it turns out it’s aerobic exercise, like walking, that’s best for keeping your brain firing on all cylinders.
Don’t eliminate strength training, balance work or stretching – they’re all important for other reasons. But when it comes to preserving your memories, it’s all about aerobics, so make sure you’re getting in some walking or heartbeat raising exercise a few days a week.
3. Do something new:
New experiences keep your brain from becoming lazy and going stagnant. This could mean making a real commitment such as taking a class or learning a new language. But it could also be as simple as driving a new route to the store or reading up on a topic you’re unfamiliar with. As long as it’s a new experience it counts.
4. Change up the font on your computer:
Simply changing the font on your computer makes your brain work harder and process information differently – exactly the kind of thing it needs to stay healthy and protect your memory. In fact research shows this switch can literally help improve your long term memory, so go ahead and give your computer font a makeover and keep making new memories that will last.
Next time you’re listening to something you need to remember, grab a pen and paper and doodle. People who doodled while listening to new information were able to recall 29 percent more of what they’d heard than people who just listened.
If you thought daydreaming was a bad habit, think again. Daydreaming has been shown to help us store and retain memories. Researchers believe it works the same way sleep does, by giving your brain the break it needs to solidify memories so they don’t slip away.
How well you take care of your teeth can have a direct effect on your brain health. When you don’t floss, bacteria can build up in your mouth and then hitch a ride into your bloodstream when you swallow it. At that point, it can cause body wide inflammation, including in your brain. Work flossing into your morning and evening routine for best results.
8. Get enough vitamin D:
For better brain health spend some time outside without sunblock daily during the spring and summer months, and consider a vitamin D supplement during the fall and winter. Vitamin D not only can help improve memory, it may help prevent dementia, as well.
To protect your precious memories first start with a healthy diet, get plenty of rest and spend quality time with friends. Then give these memory-boosting tricks a try.