Feeling sluggish in the brain? Unable to focus and maintain alertness throughout the day? It may be more than just a lack of sleep or caffeine (although both, in appropriate doses, can potentially benefit memory). If your brain is not operating at its peak, there are some steps you can take to optimize memory, focus, acuity, and overall brain health.
Obesity & Brain Health: The Brain-Weight Relationship
There is an obesity crisis in America. Having too high of a body mass index (BMI) negatively affects overall well-being –specifically, bone density, hormone levels, and the health of the joints, cardiovascular system, liver and lungs.
Did you know there is also a direct causal relationship between obesity and poor performance on learning and memory tests? Obesity influences the body’s ability to use insulin effectively. If the body becomes insulin resistant, type 2 diabetes may result.
Obesity also causes inflammation throughout the body and brain. Insulin resistance and inflammation in the brain can actually cause physiological changes in the brain’s cellular structure in key areas, causing difficulty in learning, cognitive function and memory (both the creation of memories and on-demand memory recall).
How to Improve Memory & Brain Function Through Weight Management
Memory acuity seems to improve when obese study participants lower their BMI into a healthier range. One study compared a Paleo diet to a traditional healthy diet with balanced intake of carbs, fats and proteins. The study found that cognitive improvements were similar in both groups.
So, which diet and exercise program is best for you and your brain health? The one that works for you! And it may not be as hard as you think. Sure, there may be some extra effort required up front. But there are definitely a few tips and tricks that can help you get started on a journey to a healthy body weight and a sharp mind
- Shop the perimeter. Most grocery stores are laid out similarly, with fresher foods (i.e. produce and meat) on the outside and more processed foods in the middle aisles. Stick to the perimeter and you’ll almost certainly reduce fat, extra sugar and the seven neurotoxins that destroy good brain health.
- You can’t eat what you don’t have. Stave off cravings and correct habits! Eating processed chips, ice cream and candy is often a matter of habit. If you’re trying to correct the habit, don’t buy these items. There will inevitably come a time when you are rifling through the pantry or freezer for that treat. But if you don’t have it, you can’t eat it. Plus, you’re much more likely to stop and consider if you really want that ice cream if you know you have to get in the car and go buy it. (If you do go for the treat, buy higher quality single scoop ice cream at a dessert shop. Don’t take home a container and make it easier for next time.)
- Get moving. A healthy weight is all about balance: balance of carbs, fats and proteins; balance of calories in and out. If you can take the stairs, you’ll burn a few extra calories. Park further away from the front door of your destination instead of circling for the best spot. With any luck, the extra exercise will not only burn calories and boost those ever-important brain chemicals, it will also make you pause and ask yourself, “Do I really want to eat that unhealthy option after all that walking?”
- Strength in numbers. If you have family members living with you, talk about the new food choices. Get everyone on board. Discuss new ways to stay active, both individually and as a family. Reset the culture. And if you live alone, find accountability partners, whether at work or through other friendships. Ask them to support and encourage you in your journey to wellness. Go for a hike instead of a movie. Cook together instead of meeting at a restaurant.
Support Brain & Neurological Functions (Neuro Alert)
While you’re working hard on improving your memory through lowering your BMI, you may want to consider some other avenues to help lift the brain fog.
Just like the body, the brain needs exercise. Brain training challenges your brain to form new and faster synaptic connections. As you work through games and exercises, your cognitive ability improves. Brain training has been repeatedly shown as a way to reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline, including dementia.
Brain boosting through nutritional supplementation may also improve memory recall, cognitive function and overall brain health. Choosing a product like Neuro Alert provides you with scientifically-supported building blocks of a healthy mind and memory. Featuring magnesium, ALCAR and Sharp-PS (along with other essential ingredients), Neuro Alert could play a key role in improving memory and cognitive functions. Learn more about Neuro Alert, a dietary supplement to support brain and neurological functions.