This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
Where are my keys? Where did I put my phone? Shoot, I forgot to buy milk on my way home! Sound familiar? Everyone has the occasional memory lapse from time to time. In fact, research shows that the average person forgets about four things every day.
There are many factors that can play a role in memory loss: age, genetics, and even undiagnosed neurological conditions that affect the brain. Unfortunately, some of these factors cannot be prevented or modified, like getting older. But others, like eating a nutritious diet and incorporating healthy habits into your routine, can help keep your brain in tip-top shape.
Here are 8 foods and spices that can boost your brainpower and improve your memory.
Let’s kick things off with something tasty: dark chocolate and cocoa powder are chock-full of brain-friendly compounds that are associated with improved learning and memory. Chocolate also contains fiber, antioxidants, and flavonoids, which are antioxidant plant compounds known to slow down age-related memory decline.
Just remember not to go overboard with serving sizes and try to steer clear of chocolate candy bars and overly processed treats that may contain large amounts of sugar.
All oily fish, including salmon, mackerel, and anchovies, are excellent for brain health because they’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Some shellfish, like prawn and crab, are also rich in omega 3.
However, fresh fish can be expensive, and some people don’t like the smell of fish that lingers for hours after cooking. If that’s your case, canned tuna is an excellent alternative, since it is also rich in brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, and it’s a good source of protein, vitamin B12, and selenium.
At the supermarket, choose water-packed tuna over oil-packed tuna whenever possible, and try to limit canned tuna consumption to no more than three times per week to keep mercury levels in check.
Berries are considered superfoods, which are defined as foods that offer maximum nutritional value for the least amount of calories. In addition, berries are loaded with natural compounds that provide incredible health benefits.
For example, eating berries has been shown to improve blood sugar levels, helps fight inflammation, and could even help you lose weight, thanks to their high fiber content. Plus, studies show that berries may help prevent age-related memory loss and could help you keep your memory sharp now.
These are 6 of the healthiest berries you can eat:
- Açaí berries
- Grapes (yes, grapes are berries too!)
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a powerful antioxidant and an integral part of a healthy diet. Research suggests that low levels of vitamin C may contribute to cognitive decline in older adults. In the brain, this vitamin is essential for creating and maintaining healthy brain cells (neurotransmitters) and could help protect against memory disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Sources of vitamin C include:
- Citrus fruits
- Bell peppers
Ginkgo biloba is an Asian herb that’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine for memory and concentration for thousands of years. In fact, the ginkgo tree is one of the oldest tree species in the world and has survived major extinction events, earning the nickname “living fossil.”
According to one review of studies published in 2017, consuming ginkgo biloba as an extract or tea could benefit people with dementia. And another study found that taking a ginkgo supplement for six weeks may also improve memory and cognitive functioning in healthy adults.
Ginkgo biloba could also help with:
- PMS symptoms (premenstrual syndrome)
- Anxiety and depression
- Sexual dysfunction
- Eye health
- Asthma and bronchitis
Sage is a delicious herb that’s added to a number of foods to give them a warm, earthy aroma similar to rosemary or thyme. Alternatively, you can steep fresh or dried sage leaves in warm water to make sage tea.
Sage has been shown to improve memory and support brain health in several ways.
For one, it is packed with polyphenolic acids, which are natural compounds known to aid in memory and concentration. A 2012 UK study found that polyphenols found in foods like sage can protect brain cells against harmful toxins that affect memory, learning, and cognitive function. Plus, preliminary research suggests that supplementing with sage can improve cognition in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of Curcuma longa, a South Asian plant similar to ginger. It is one of the main ingredients in many Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, like curry and yellow rice. The benefits of adding turmeric to your diet are nearly endless: it boosts your immune health, reduces inflammation, helps fight colds and flu, lowers bad cholesterol, and improves arthritis, just to name a few.
Additionally, studies show that curcumin – the main active compound in turmeric – may increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), boost cognition, and improve attention. Conversely, many common brain disorders, like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression, have been linked to low levels of BDNF. Click here to learn more about memory and mental health.
Pumpkin seeds or pepitas are loaded with antioxidants that protect your brain and body from free radicals (molecules that can damage your cells and cause premature aging). They are also rich in zinc, which is a mineral closely associated with memory and thinking.
Is a Free VPN Safe to Use? Exploring the Risks and Benefits
In our current digital age, online privacy and security have become an importantt concerns for internet users around the world. With the increasing prevalence of cyber threats and data breaches, people are actively seeking ways to protect their online activities. Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, have gained popularity as tools that promise safeguarding your digital footprint. While there are many VPN options available, free VPNs, in particular, have garnered significant attention due to their accessibility. In this article, we will explore the risks and benefits of using a free VPN, with a focus on free VPN for Windows.
Understanding VPNs: What Are They?
Before delving into the world of free VPNs, let’s understand what a VPN is and how it works. A VPN is essentially a service that establishes a secure, encrypted connection between your device (in this case, your Windows PC) and a remote server. This connection masks your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic, making it difficult for third parties, such as hackers or government agencies, to monitor your online activities.
The Benefits of Using a Free VPN
Enhanced Privacy: One of the primary advantages of using a free VPN is the boost in online privacy. Your internet service provider (ISP), websites, and even potential cybercriminals won’t be able to track your online behavior when you’re connected to a VPN.
Bypassing Geo-Restrictions: Free VPNs often allow users to access geo-restricted content. For example, if a streaming platform or website is only accessible in certain regions, a VPN can make it appear as though you’re browsing from an eligible location.
Protection on Public Wi-Fi: When you connect to public Wi-Fi networks, your data becomes vulnerable to interception. A free VPN can add an extra layer of security when you’re using unsecured public Wi-Fi at cafes, airports, or hotels.
The Risks Associated with Free VPNs
Data Logging: Many free VPN providers track and log user data. This can include your online activities, websites visited, and even personal information. This data may then be sold to third parties or used for targeted advertising.
Inadequate Security Measures: Some free VPNs might not implement robust encryption protocols, leaving your data vulnerable to breaches or leaks.
Limited Features: Free VPNs often come with limitations, such as slower connection speeds, data caps, and fewer server locations. These restrictions can hinder your online experience.
Malware and Adware: Some free VPN services have been found to include malware or adware in their software, potentially infecting your device.
Uncertain Jurisdiction: Free VPN providers can be based in countries with lax data privacy laws, which means they may not be obligated to protect your data.