Keep Your Brain in Optimal Shape
The term “mental acuity” is just a fancy way of saying “mental sharpness” which describes how greatly one is able to focus, reason and recall information. As people grow older, many will notice a cognitive decline in their abilities to remember things. These declines are often the result of mental disorders or just simply growing older. It is a natural consequence after all. But the good news is that people have a lot more control over their declining mental acuity by than they realize. While one may not be able to stop the decline completely, there are plenty of things one can do to help keep one’s memory intact and even improve it. And they are surprisingly simple.
Dr. Dale Bredsen, a neurology professor at UCLA came up with a list of similar habits of those experiencing an early start of Alzheimer’s disease. The list included one’s exposure to mold, fatty foods, environmental toxins, a lack of restorative sleep, an over consumption of sugar and little-to-no exercise. While none of these habits alone can lead one to the way of developing Alzheimer’s, a combination of them can.
For years now, doctors have touted the benefits of consuming a Mediterranean diet which includes healthy doses of fats from olives, nuts and fish. But the Brigham Women’s Hospital and Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment Center found that combining a Mediterranean diet with the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) just might be the key to helping improve mental acuity.
Known as the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay), people are encouraged to consume good-sized quantities of nuts and green leafy vegetables daily. It is also recommended that one also takes healthy portions of poultry, fish, whole grains, berries and bananas while also limiting the intake of products containing dairy, fried foods, pastries and red meat.
According to Dr. Gad Marshall, by both reducing one’s intake of red meat but increasing one’s intake of healthy fats and help one’s mental acuity a great deal.
Switching to a low-carb diet can help too as many people claim that one of the positive side effects of taking on such a diet was improved thinking and concentration. Not only that, but there was a study done at the University of Cincinnati that took a group of adults who had mild cognitive impairments and broke them into two groups. One group followed a low-carb diet for six weeks and in the end, they were found to have shown improvement with their verbal memory.
It also turns out that exercise is also good for one’s memory. This is best achieved when a person stretches for body’s muscles as well as their brains.
“Physical exercises may mean playing sports, gardening, or walking. Cognitive exercises included doing needlework, socializing, attending a concert, or playing an instrument,” says Vivolor Therapeutics, Inc. “Mentally stimulating exercises can reduce dementia by as much as 34%. Furthermore, regular, intense workouts can help in reducing different forms of dementia by as much as 57% when compared to people with sedentary lifestyles.”
Take a Nap
We all know that getting enough sleep isn’t only a healthy choice but a smart one as well. People who do not get enough sleep are found to have slower response times and vary in compromises with their alertness and attention not to mention a lack of creative energy. While most people can see a reduction in these areas after just one night’s bad sleep, it can quickly be remedied with a new sleeping lifestyle. Also, take time out to just “be” and enjoy nature. Giving one’s brain a break from general thinking can be a huge boost.
A recent study in biological psychology compared the effects of both caffeine and L-theanine who both do some good stuff by themselves, but together, they are so much more powerful. L-theanine is an amino acid that can be easily found in both green and black tea and is known for helping one lower their body’s stress response.
“It may be able to help chill you out when you’re working on something frustrating,” says Phil White, a writer of Onnit.com. “This calming effect could help to balance caffeine’s stimulant properties.”
When taken together, caffeine and L-theanine helped to boost up cognitive speed, memory and alertness and researchers have found that L-theanine may help level the spikes in blood pressure that can come with caffeine.
White also suggests that Huperzia serrata or “club moss” is a natural ingredient which he says is worth experimenting with.
“It’s been shown to help people with cognitive deficits, potentially by way of regulating oxidative stress and supporting nerve growth factors and receptors,” says White.