To learn another language, having a good memory is essential. The human brain’s capabilities are simply amazing. Do you know how to tap into your mind’s full potential? While some people claim to have “bad memories,” in reality, it’s a skill anyone can improve to see tangible results. In our series of articles on how to improve your memory, you’ll find tons of techniques, tricks, helpful tools, and healthy lifestyle and eating habits that will boost your mental prowess. Here’s our guide on how to improve your memory with lifestyle and food choices.
Improve Your Memory with Lifestyle and Food Choices
To get your mental juices flowing to start strengthening your memory, try out some of these basic tips to get a head start.
Get a handle on stress
Stress remains one of memory’s biggest foes: during bouts of intense, prolonged stress, retrieving and remembering information becomes significantly more difficult due to the increased levels of cortisone. How can we prevent the daily grind from consuming us? One effective option is to take a short break. Relax your mind and body, take a deep breath, and move around a little. Before tackling a study session, some people benefit from doing yoga stretches; others feel more focused by listening to relaxing music and taking in a few visually-pleasing images. Experiment a bit to find out what works for you. I like listening to Moodturn, a site that transforms your living room into a relaxing oasis of nature. A short ten-minute break listening to the sounds of a bonfire and I’m like new, ready to pounce on the next lesson in my Portuguese course (the language I’m currently studying).
Here are a few other remedies for stress that, too often neglected, can make a real difference:
- If you have too much work and not enough time to learn, delegate certain tasks to others. Reach out to colleagues, family members, and friends to help you manage.
- Make a list of all the things you need to do, and prioritize those that need to be done sooner than others. If you simply have too much to do, decide which can be completed at a later date. Or, even better, do away with those tasks that you simply do not have time for and focus on tasks that matter.
- Allow time to do those things that make you happy. Balancing obligations and fun can be hard, but too much work can lead to unproductive or frazzled work. Dedicate time to doing something you love to feel more grounded and calm.
Catch up on sleep
The role of sleep, often overlooked, proves fundamentally important to the learning process. Sleeping a solid number of hours is the first step towards a stronger memory. During sleep, our brain processes, sorts through, and synthesizes all the information we’ve learned during the day. Our ability to retain concepts strengthens and improves while we sleep. Ideally, the average person should sleep between 7 and 8 hours per night, never going to bed after midnight. For language learners, our advice is to study new vocabulary in the morning, shortly after getting up, because that’s when our brain is in the best shape. Evenings can be dedicated to reviewing information to reinforce the concepts you’ve learned.
Realistically and efficiently plan each day
Oftentimes, good organization skills can ward off unnecessary stress. When we think about all the things that we have to get done, that hardened pit in our stomachs reminds us of the importance of organization. Planning is key, not only for the tasks you absolutely have to finish, but also to help you remember what you’ve learned. If you plan some breaks throughout the day, you can de-stress your mind and work on your language skills at the same time. Review vocabulary, quiz yourself with flashcards, or even jot down some phrases you learned. Your brain will thank you for it.
As the Roman poet Juvenal once said, “A healthy mind is a healthy body.” We agree, since engaging in physical exercise increases oxygen levels in the brain, therefore raising our attention levels.
Take up meditation
Caught up in the diabolical rhythm of modern life and the thousands of tasks awaiting completion, we all too often forget the benefits of taking a moment to meditate. Scientists have long studied the positive effects meditation has on the learning process: it can help to increase concentration levels (essential to studying), reduce stress levels, and help us to fully take advantage of our incredible brains. Not much time is needed to see results, just 10 minutes a day listening to tranquil music and paying attention to your breath and heartbeat.
Stay connected to others
Humans are social creatures. Spending time with friends and family is essential to a healthy mind, which makes for strong memory. For our brains to stay sharp, we need conversation, interaction, discussion, debate—basically, stimulation beyond a television or computer screen.
Healthy Eating Habits for a Better Memory
We often associate healthy eating habits with a desire to lose weight, but what we consume equally affects our brain. For a sharp mind and a healthy body, try incorporating these vital foods and beverages into your meals.
Salmon provides much-needed Omega-3 fatty acids, essential for your memory and the proper functioning of your brain. For some variation, you can feast on anchovies, mackerel, and herring to also get a good share of Omega-3. Since fish also contains phosphorus, you get a double serving of memory-friendly food.
Dehydration can negatively impact brain functioning, causing fatigue and a weakened ability to remember information. Drinking water while you study will help to keep your brain hydrated and your mind alert. I take breaks throughout the day (every 30 to 40 minutes) and drink a big glass of water. Ultimately, you should aim for two liters, or 64 ounces, for maximum results.
Vitamin C and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, are the special ingredients in tomatoes that impact brain health.
Milk and cereal
Milk contains a lot of calcium, potassium, and Vitamin B, all of which inundate our brains with wholesome goodness. Pour a bowl of fiber-rich and nutritious cereal with some milk to start the day off well.
Citrus fruits and berries
Instead of snacking on chips, go for fruits of all colors. Citrus fruits contain tons of Vitamin C, while raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are oozing with antioxidants. Some people prefer fruit smoothies and juices, which also pack a powerful punch of healthiness to the brain.
Nuts are a natural source of Omega-3, whose amazing benefits are well known.
Onions contain a compound called fisetin that helps our long-term memory and has antioxidant properties.
Spinach and Broccoli
These green vegetables help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and are loaded with antioxidants thanks to the selenium they contain.
A supreme antioxidant, green tea wards off cholinesterase, a family of enzymes that has negative consequences on memory.
Eggs contain vitamin E and choline, a nutrient essential for healthy cellular membranes.
Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below – we promise to respond as quickly as possible! If you tried to improve your memory with lifestyle and food choices, tell us if it worked well for you.
Did you like this article?One click won't cost you anything, but it would mean a lot to us:
Get your free kitOver 3 million members improve their language skills every day with our exclusive tips. And it's 100% FREE:
Want to start improving your language skills today?
News flash: those people aren’t any smarter than you are, and they don’t have any kind of special gift for language learning, either. It’s all because of the methods they use. Practicing with the latest and most effective techniques, along with a few expert tips, is a recipe for success.
It can work for you, too! MosaTraining combines all of these tips and techniques into one comprehensive, hands-on approach to language learning.