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Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Brain Power

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1. Eat Brain Healthy Food

Certain foods improve your brain's function: foods like leafy green vegetables, fruits and vegetables with antioxidants, soy, and whole wheat provide nutrients that help with brain development and maintenance. Even foods like cacao beans and coffee beans contain vitamins and nutrients that are good for your brain—just skip all the excess sugar.

2. Reduce Your Cholesterol

According to research by Kaiser Permanente, high levels of cholesterol increases a person's risk of developing dementia. Women with a cholesterol value of 240 and over have a 66 percent increased chance of developing Alzheimer's disease, and a 25 percent increased chance when cholesterol levels are between 200 and 239.

3. Use Omega-3 Supplements

Besides omega-3 fatty acids found in food, supplements can also be used. DHA, or decosahexaenoic acid, has been added in food for infants and pregnant women. Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be made by the human body, so eating as many omega-3 rich foods and supplements is necessary for optimal brain health.

4. Try Memory Techniques

Using certain memory techniques, like chunking, can increase your memory. Chunking is used for working memory, a form of short-term memory. When remembering items, group them together meaningfully. For example, instead of remembering one number at a time, remember the numbers as double digit or triple digit numbers.

5. Increase Your Vocabulary

Women have a a greater ability with language compared to men. Increasing your vocabulary not only helps with verbal skills, but it exercises both your language skills and memory.

6. Take Time to Relax

Many times, concentration problems are due to stress. Take some time to relax: mediate, listen to calming music, or do something for yourself.

7. Study a New Language

Besides new vocabulary, women can use their language abilities to learn a foreign language. Foreign languages have different grammatical structuring, so it will challenge your brain to reorganize sentences.

8. Sleep Eight Hours a Night

Often, memory and learning problems are due to a lack of sleep. While you sleep, your brain converts short-term memories into long-term memories—one reason why it is important to get a good night sleep before a test and not stay up late cramming. Make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep a night.

9. Learn More Efficiently

Every person learns differently; for example, some people learn verbally and other people learn visually. Take your learning method and use it to your advantage: verbal learners can use a tape recorder and visual learners can use notes.

10. Do Mental Activities

Keeping your mind active is key to keeping your brain healthy. Mental activities can range from doing puzzles, like Sudoku, or reading.

Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch received her bachelor’s of science degree in neuroscience from Trinity College in Hartford, CT in May 2009. She is the Hartford Women's Health Examiner.

Add a Comment6 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

This is really interesting!

July 1, 2014 - 1:12am
EmpowHER Guest

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May 7, 2012 - 9:23am

Hi Elizabeth, I find your tips about chunking pieces of information together to increase short-term memory particularily interesting. I have also found that putting the information into a catchy phrase, song (as silly as it seems) or creating a rhyme or acronym with the need to know info are helpful memorization techniques as well.

January 22, 2010 - 8:18am

My grandfather used to say, "Use it or lose it," referring to keeping your brain active. My favorite fictional character, Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, relies upon his "little grey cells" to help solve a mystery, and I have a habit of saying that I'm putting my "little grey cells to work." In our family, we had a longstanding tradition of challenging thought through debate and reporting on current events from daily newspapers or publications like Time Magazine, which I didn't really fully appreciate until I had my own kids.

I admire my 80-year-old mother for her continual thirst for knowledge and am grateful she passed along her enjoyment for crossword puzzles and, more recently, sudoku. She announced to me the other day that she wants to learn French so that she could hold conversations with me - I thought that was hilarious, since I'm so badly out of practice (mine is a multi-lingual family, but I'm the only one who studied the language). At my daughter-in-law's birthday dinner, several of us decided we're going to learn Portuguese, since she speaks it.

Judging by how mentally alert my grandfather was, and my mother still is, keeping the little grey cells challenged is a very good thing.

September 10, 2009 - 7:54pm
EmpowHER Guest

I thought you'd find this new take on omega-3s interesting: http://www.prevention.com/cda/article/the-vanishing-youth-nutrient/6dec72fe5deb2210VgnVCM10000030281eac____/news.voices/in.the.magazine/september.2009.issue/0/0/1

September 10, 2009 - 1:47pm

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I’m the head of marketing at Posit Science and we’ve partnered with researchers from institutions like the Mayo Clinic, University of Southern California, Johns Hopkins, and dozens of others to test the real-world impact from brain training with our software exercises. Over 30 studies have now been published in peer-reviewed journals showing Posit Science’s technology can have a range of benefits from improved memory to lowered health care costs in healthy aging adults.

I invite you to try free exercises and learn more at www.positscience.com

September 10, 2009 - 11:02am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.