Feeling Forgetful? Need a mental edge?
These days most of us are burning the candle at both ends and we have a lot of details to remember. Whether you are a college student studying for finals or an established professional trying to stay on top of your game or anywhere in between- you want your brain to function at its greatest capacity. There are a lot of things we should be doing to enhance our brain function-- the first of which is avoiding sugar. Did you know that alzheimer’s disease has been nicknamed Type 3 Diabetes? Here’s a laundry list of things that you should consider to maximize your brain power.
Limit sugar intake. There is an ever-growing body of research that indicates that sugar is detrimental to your brain health by affecting things like neurotransmitter levels and your gut bacteria. Unfortunately, many of us are addicted to sugar and it can be a difficult habit to break. The best way to break the habit- cold turkey. For help, check out the next tip.
Increase healthy fats. Have you heard? Fats are back on the menu for healthy eating. The low-fat craze that has dominated the diet world for the last 20 years has done more harm than good for the average American. If you are looking to kick your sugar habit you should replace all those sugars and carbs with healthy fats from quality meat, fish, olive oil, avocados, coconuts and BUTTER. Our brains work more efficiently by using ketones for fuel-- and ketones are made by fat metabolism. When you stop feeding your body sugar and carbs in excess your body will begin using fat for energy--and you will experience a significant brain boost from this kind of metabolism.
Stimulate your brain. There are several ways to do this. Try learning a new language or visiting a new place. Use brain game websites like Luminosity. Memorize scripture or other empowering literature. Don’t sit and stare at your television or computer for hours on end of mindless viewing.
Rest. You know sleep is important-- I don’t need to write you a novel about how important it is and this is not an article about how to sleep if you are an insomniac. If you are not sleeping because you don’t think you have time, you need to make the time. If you are not sleeping because you have insomnia, you need to try anything and everything to help you sleep until you figure out what works. It’s that important.
Use supplements. If you want to have “good” brain health, follow the advice in steps 1-4, but if you are like me and you want the edge- take a supplement. I take “Memory Plus” from Wellness Works personally, and a lot of my patients take it too. It contains:
- N-Acetyl-L-Carnitine, which the brain uses for energy;
- Phosphatidylserine which has been used by many a student to boost their memory before a test;
- Nattokinase which is shown to reduce beta-amyloid plaques that are found in alzheimer’s patients;
- Bacopa Monnieri which has been shown to increase the ability to retain new information;
- DMAE, to possibly help improve focus; gingko, perhaps the most widely-used supplement for memory;
- Vinpocetine, which can boost blood flow to the brain-- it is sometimes even given IV to ischemic stroke patients;
- Alpha-lipoic acid, which works by improving glucose utilization
- Huperzine A, which increases Acetylcholine levels in our brains and helps to improve nerve signaling.