Get some sun
We all know by now that the sun is our best source of vitamin D, but did you know that sensible exposure to the sun can also do wonders for your memory? Activated vitamin D receptors increase nerve growth in your brain, and researchers have found pathways for vitamin D in the areas of the brain that are involved in planning, processing of information, and the formation of new memories.
In older adults, research has shown that low vitamin D levels are associated with poorer brain function, and increasing levels may help keep older adults mentally fit. Appropriate sun exposure is all it takes to keep your levels where they need to be for healthy brain function.
The foods you eat – and don't eat – play a crucial role in your memory. Fresh vegetables are essential and celery, broccoli, cauliflower, and walnuts which are packed with antioxidants and other compounds that protect your brain health can even stimulate the production of new brain cells.
Increasing your animal-based omega-3 fat intake and reducing consumption of damaged omega-6 fats (think processed vegetable oils) is also important.
Get more exercise
Exercise encourages your brain to work at peak capacity by stimulating nerve cells to multiply, strengthening their interconnections and protecting them from damage. One study found that those who exercised regularly were actually growing and expanding the brain's memory centre by one to two percent per year, where typically that centre would have been declining in size.
Catch enough Zs
Sleep is known to enhance your memories and help you "practice" and improve your performance of challenging skills. In fact, a single night of sleeping only four to six hours can have an impact on your ability to think clearly the next day.
Research has shown that naps can give a boost to babies' brainpower. One study showed that babies who slept in between learning and testing sessions had a better ability to recognise patterns in new information, which signals an important change in memory that plays a role in mental development. There's reason to believe this is true for adults too, as even among adults a mid-day nap was found to dramatically boost and restore brainpower.
Play Brain Games
If you don't challenge your brain with new, surprising information on a regular basis, it eventually begins to deteriorate. One way to challenge your brain is by playing 'brain games. Think word games, crosswords, Sudoku, memory games etc.