Boost your memory

Illustration by Julienne Shih

Illustration by Julienne Shih

Lauren Gates

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From August to April, college students’ brains are working overtime to remember everything. From turning in assignments, to where we parked our car and our ever-changing work schedule.

“I always forget [to] read my assigned readings,” said child development major Hilsen Alvarez, 24. “Homework assignments have due dates and readings don’t. I am expected to read during the semester but I always forget.”

Brandon Coria, 24, graphic design major, said he kept tabs on Facebook events as well.

“I utilize the calendar on my phone for everything with reminders,” Coria said.

Don’t lose hope if you suffer from having a hard time remembering things, there are many ways to help boost your memory.

“It seems that every month there is a new supplement or ‘superfood’ being recommended in the media,” said Dr. Vicky Graham, a CSUN faculty member in the Department of Physical Therapy. “The best answer is to eat a well-balanced diet, heavy in fruits and vegetables, be active daily and minimize stress.”

Inflammation in the body is known to reduce brain function, Graham said, that “activities…increase inflammation include prolonged stress, being inactive and eating too much, particularly foods high in animal fat.”

Graham said activities that promote reducing inflammation are considered neuro-protective.

“These include regular activity, stress management including meditation, and eating a whole foods, not processed, plant-based diet,” said Graham. “Additionally, researchers in the field of longevity find that calorie restriction enhances lifespan, and intermittent fasting is shown to reduce memory impairment in animal models.”

With the constant change in technology, many people have turned to memory games for help.

“Any type of practice with memory will enhance your ability to recall things, including names,” said Graham. “Games are great because they are fun, and also can help you track progress.”

Dr. Graham specializes in neurologic physical therapy and is currently writing a textbook on brain neuroanatomy and neuroscience.

“It is never too late to begin improving your memory. The principle ‘use it or lose it’ is well known to most in the area of physical activity or strength,” Graham said. “The principle also applies to memory and brain function. In a recent article on Mercola.com, Dr. Mercola talks about our brains memory center, the hippocampus.”

In his article, Dr. Mercola states the possibility of growing new cells apart from the known fact that a person’s hippocampus regenerates throughout a lifetime if the right tools are used.

“Although there is a normal slight decline as we age,” said Graham. “This can be helped with memory exercises including games or by learning new things such as a second language, playing guitar or tap dancing.”

Therefore, if we take care of our brains, contrary to popular belief, we can effect and enhance our memory as we continue to age.

In other words, use it or lose it. With a little effort, anyone can boost their power to recollect and retain information. Discover what method works best for you, and start boosting your memory.