Getting forgetful lately? Try these simple tips to enhance your mental performance
You’ve probably heard about the many health benefits of tofu, but don’t overdose on it because too much of anything is no good. Researchers at Oxford and Loughborough universities in England have found that eating two or more servings of soy products daily can decrease memory function by as much as 20 per cent, particularly among vegetarians and elderly women.
Fortunately, the mind is like a muscle – the more it’s challenged, the stronger it gets. Research shows that learning and being mentally engaged, can actually form new neural pathways and change the physical makeup of your brain. Want to power up your grey matter? Here’re some great anti-ageing pointers:
BE A SOCIAL BUTTERFLY
Spending just 10 minutes talking to another person can help improve your memory, reveals a study by the University of Michigan.
Researchers found that the higher the level of participants’ social interaction, the better their cognitive functioning – so stop Instagram-ing on your phone and start socialising!
CLOSE YOUR EYES
Sleep is important and even short naps from six minutes to 45 minutes have been shown to increase memory function. Sufficient sleep is what helps to improve procedural memory (how to do things), as well as declarative memory (facts).
Deep (REM) sleep is best as it helps the brain to consolidate memories through dreams and “associative processing”. But if that’s not possible, a study at Harvard Medical School found that a 45-minute nap of non-REM sleep is sufficient to help boost recall of information. So if you’re experiencing a brain drain, try taking a short break to reboot and recharge.
STUCK IN A BAD JAM?
Instead of stressing out, tune in to your favourite songs and take a few deep breaths. Studies have connected long-term exposure to excess amounts of cortisol (the stress hormone) with a shrinking of the hippocampus (the brain’s memory centre).
It is not yet known if this shrinking is reversible so why take the chance? Go on and play that song!