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Each year, during exam periods, about 20% of students use stimulants to facilitate learning. But memory problems affect us all. They are generally considered inevitable, yet there are natural ways to maintain and even optimize it.

It is generally when we are tired or stressed that our memory can start to fail: forgetfulness, loss of concentration, reduced performance…. Nutrition, sleep and physical activity will then be essential in maintaining and improving this function.


To think and memorize, the brain needs all the nutrients. While each contributes something in particular, it is their combination in interactions that contributes to better overall functioning of the neurons… and the body’s entire metabolism.

Fuel for the brain: carbohydrates

To function, the brain needs carbohydrates first. It is the organ that needs the most sugar and because of this its metabolism is the highest in the human body.
Favour foods with a low glycemic index, such as whole grains, oilseeds and legumes. They allow you to “hold” longer between meals by providing energy in a longer and slower way.

Proteins: for the synthesis of neuromediators

Proteins bring amino acids to the brain, which will use them to synthesize neuromediators. They too are necessary for the general functioning of the brain.eggs
Proteins are present in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, but also in seaweed or by combining cereals and legumes. Vary the choice of protein sources as much as possible.

Foods rich in omega-3, B vitamins and iron

We have about 100 billion neurons. They can connect to each other through a sheath that surrounds them, called myelin, which is made up mainly of fat. It is recommended to consume omega-3 fatty acids to strengthen the structure of the neurons. Favour fatty fish, nuts, linseed or rapeseed oil…

B vitamins (especially B1, B6, B9 and B12) play a key role in memory. They are part of the process of making acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter essential for learning.
Favour salmon, liver, spinach, eggs, pistachios, wholegrain cereals, green leafy vegetables, wheat germ, fresh pollen…spirulina

Iron deficiency impairs intellectual performance. One of its roles is to transport oxygen to the brain. Red meats, green vegetables, quinoa, spirulina and shellfish are excellent sources of iron.


The ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest trees in the world. It is particularly resistant and is even the only one to have survived after the bombing of Hiroshima. Rich in flavonoids, it contributes to the good nervous balance. It stimulates intellectual activity and strengthens memory. Ginkgo biloba acts on the cerebral microcirculation, improves memory and concentration. It relieves intellectual fatigue and strengthens attention span. It is therefore particularly recommended for seniors and students.

Bacopa monnieri has been used for 3000 years in Ayurvedic medicine to strengthen the cognitive system. It stimulates intellectual activity and enhances memory and concentration. It promotes relaxation, is soothing, relaxing and helps to combat stress.


It is while we sleep that the “consolidation” of memory takes place. Thus, a lack of sleep will inhibit the learning process. We therefore avoid a sleepless night to review more the night before an exam and we prefer a good night’s sleep of 6 to 8 hours to take advantage of all its benefits.
In addition, attention, alertness, concentration, and vigilance can be severely disrupted by lack of sleep.

It should also be noted that a short nap (20 minutes) is also beneficial for memory. According to the latest studies, it increases intellectual performance and frees up creativity.


Studies have shown that regular and adapted physical activity improves cardiovascular capacity but can also develop neurocognitive performance. Aerobic and strength training exercises are therefore highly recommended.

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