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How To Improve Your Brainpower This Year!

by Rashida Bryan
(St. Catherine, Jamaica)

It is a new school year again or for others its a new work year.

Either you are in high school or university or go to work and you decide that ‘hey am going to do better academically this new school year’or 'hey am gonna improve what I do at work'.

I am here to help you achieve this.
This article will help you to increase your brainpower to retain more information, to help you choose the right foods, which can improve your brainpower and some study tips to help you remember more.

Let us start with the things that can make us forget things. You know what am talking about: you are in an exam room and you start writing feverishly, then all of a sudden, you forget your notes. Alternatively, you forgot to do your homework or assignment or some important stuff:

  1. Smoking can actually affect your memory.

    Therefore, you young lads out there who believes ganja and cigarette is good for you, you are making a mistake. Smoking can decrease the circulation to your brain . It also decreases oxygen to your brain making you less alert and forgetful. No need to wonder how you study so hard and cannot remember what you studied.

  2. If you are physically inactive, it can contribute to you forgetting things. How is this so? By being inactive, your brain gets less supply of oxygen-rich blood. By getting less oxygen –rich blood you become dull, unalert and lazy.

  3. If you are overweight or obese, this can affect your mind. By being obese or overweight your blood pressure and cholesterol levels increase thus making your heart pump harder to get food and oxygen to your brain.

  4. Having diabetes can affect the brain if it is out of control. If it is out of control, it can affect that part of the brain that is involved in storing information.

  5. Having emotional problems can cause you to forget your notes, what you studied etc… it can affect your ability to concentrate on your academic pursuits. Experiencing severe stress can produce hormones that affect the brain. If you have depression or if you drink alcohol these can also affect the mind, thereby decreasing the brain’s true capacity.

  6. Sometimes your doctor can prescribe drugs that can change your brainpower or output. Over the counter drugs can also alter your brain. Some drugs that do these are anti-depressants, muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, painkillers and tranquilizers.

  7. If you have trouble sleeping this can affect your memory. When you sleep, your brain gets a chance to process information more and accumulate what you have learnt.

  8. If you have hypothyroidism, this can change your memory or brainpower. It is a disorder of the thyroid gland. It is where the thyroid gland produces fewer hormones thus causing the body’s metabolism to slow down and results in sufferers having less energy, less alertness and decreased mental vigour.

  9. Eating right is essential in wanting to retain what you have learnt from your teachers or lecturers. No amount of ‘so so’ studying can do this. You have to eat right. And that means having your breakfast in the mornings. Remember that all through out the night you have not eaten anything and if you studied during the night, in the mornings your brain is going to be hungry. It needs food to function properly, to retain what you have studied the night before and to be alert in class in the mornings.

    At lunch times, get something to eat or drink, even if it’s a cheese and a fruit drink. Cut down on the sugary foods and beverages like sweets and soft drinks. Sugary foods and beverages leads to a decline in the processes of the brain to learn.

    Try foods and beverages that have anti-oxidants and are nutritious. Drink a lot of fresh water. Becoming dehydrated in class can make you lose concentration.

  10. Consume a lot of B complex vitamins and take supplements such as tablets that contain essential vitamins and minerals. B complex vitamins aid in protecting nerve cells. Thiamine (vitamin b1) results in vigour and endurance. A lack of thiamine results in fatigue. It makes you lazy and so it will definitely affect your study.

    Vitamin A eases the strain of the eyes when studying. It helps us to see better and is good for students who do a lot of studying. Lack of iodine can result in the lack of mental alertness and efficiency. It is best to consume a general amount to counter this effect.

Some studying tips are:

  • Composing Mental Pictures :- This involves conjuring up images in your brain about a particular topic. For example, composing the images of warfare between two countries or the life of the Arawaks. Try to compose everything that the topic speaks about. Try to remember things by visualization. It can be helpful.

  • Repetition of Information: - By repeating over and over again what you have learnt or studied, it will eventually ‘stick’ in your head.

    This can be done by talking to yourself or reading in your mind over and over again. However, make sure that you understand what you are reading!

  • Writing Information Down:- This is putting on paper what you have just read in your own words. For example, you read a paragraph about the reproductive system in animals then you write it down on a piece of paper in your own words without looking at the original paragraph.

  • Using Recorders and Tapes:- By recording yourself on tape and playing it back again, you can retain more. Try to be interesting on the tape. You could play the tapes at your own convenience e.g. While driving in a car or while at home. The cost for a small recorder is about $2000 and is sold at electronic stores. It uses headphones.

  • Flashcards:- These are cards that have condensed information about a particular topic. Can be useful while studying. It is also convenient e.g. while in the lunch line or while driving you could take it out to revise.

  • Using Music:- This is not recommended for all. Tests have shown that music improves the memory i.e. it makes us remember more. If you know that you can be distracted by music (esp. dancehall music), do not try it. I recommend smooth music. Music that can relax your mind but not put you to sleep.

    Alternatively, you could listen to music just before you study not during. I can listen to music while studying and not all people can do that so it is recommended that you listen to music before studying.

    Foods to improve your Memory

    Rich in Antioxidants
    Citrus fruits
    Green, leafy vegetables
    Green peppers
    Wheat germ
    Whole grains

    Rich in Vitamin B6
    Brown rice
    Whole-wheat flour

    Rich in Omega-3s
    Canola oil
    Green leafy vegetables
    Olive oil

    Rich in Choline(one of the B complex vitamins)
    Beef liver
    Egg yolk
    Wheat germ

    Rich in Folate
    Fortified breads
    Fortified cereals
    Green, leafy vegetables

    Rich in Zinc
    Dairy products
    Red meat

    Rich in vitamin B12

    Foods to help the eyesight to make you see better

    Vitamin A Foods
    Sweet potatoes
    Fish- liver oils
    Yellow corn

    Foods to Increase Mental Alertness and Intelligence

    Iodine Foods
    Ocean fish
    Iodized salt

    Glutamic Acid Foods(glutamic acid is an enzyme that helps to supply oxygen to the brain. It can help to increase a person’s intelligence)

    Foods that Helps to Eliminate Fatigue

    Thiamine Rich Foods
    Peanut butter
    Powdered yeast

    Riboflavin Rich Foods
    Beet and turnip greens
    Broccoli leaf

    ©2013 Rashida Bryan

    *Some part of this article’s information was taken from Vitality Through Planned Nutrition by Adelle Davis and How To Improve Your Memory from the editors of Health, published by Oxmoor House®.

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