It was once believed that brain function peaked during early adulthood and then slowly declined, leading to lapses in memory and brain fog during your golden years. Now it’s known that our modern lifestyle plays a significant role in contributing to cognitive decline, which is why exposure to toxins, chemicals, poor diet, lack of sleep, stress and much more can hinder the functioning of your brain.
The flip side is also true in that a healthy lifestyle can support your brain health and even encourage your brain to grow new neurons, a process known as neurogenesis. Your brain’s hippocampus — the memory center — is especially able to grow new cells. It’s now known that your hippocampus regenerates throughout your entire lifetime, even into your 90s, provided you give it the tools to do so.
These “tools” are primarily lifestyle-based, which is wonderful news. You don’t need an expensive prescription medication or any medical procedure at all to boost your brain and your memory. You simply must try out the following tricks to improve your memory.
1. Eat right — The foods you eat — and don’t eat — play a crucial role in your memory. Fresh vegetables are essential, as are healthy fats and avoiding sugar. Research has shown daily sugar consumption impairs spatial memory and inhibits neurogenesis in the hippocampus.1 However, a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-net-carb ketogenic diet is crucial for protecting your brain health and preventing degeneration that can lead to Alzheimer’s.
One of the most striking studies showing the effects of a high-fat/low-carb versus high-carb diets on brain health revealed that high-carb diets increase your risk of dementia by a whopping 89%, while high-fat diets lower the risk significantly.2
In my book, “Superfuel: Ketogenic Keys to Unlock the Secrets to Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Great Health,” cowritten with James DiNicolantonio, Pharm.D., we explain how the omega-3 fat DHA is an essential structural component of your brain and is found in high levels in your neurons. When your omega-3 intake is inadequate, your nerve cells become stiff and more prone to inflammation as the missing omega-3 fats are substituted with omega-6 instead.