Everybody experiences short periods of forgetfulness once in a while, especially with the current busy schedules. Whereas this can be a regular occurrence, battling diminished memory can, undoubtedly, be frustrating. Genetics has a huge role in causing memory loss, especially serious neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Research has also concluded that lifestyle and diet could have an impact on memory.
That said, the question remains; is it possible to improve your memory? Forgetting where you dropped your keys or blanking out on important tests makes you wish your memory could be better. Reminder systems such as online calendars can help keep track of upcoming meetings and appointments, but what will you do with information that calls for long-term memory?
It might take a lot of effort to improve your memory. Check out the following ways you can leverage to improve your memory.
1. Frequent Brain Training
Just like muscles require regular use to remain active, the brain requires frequent use to keep healthy. Mental workouts are vital to the gray matter. Challenging the mind can help grow and expand, ultimately improving memory. Research shows that people who spare at least 15 minutes daily for brain training activities report significant improvement in brain functioning.
You can browse online for several brain-training activities that may help boost memory. These challenges test an individual’s ability to remember details and memorize patterns quickly. Frequent brain training helps improve working memory, both short-term and long term as well as problem-solving skills.
2. Reduce Sugar Intake
Eating a lot of added sugar is associated with several lifestyle health conditions and chronic diseases, which include cognitive decline. Besides this, the sugar-laden diet has been linked to poor memory and abridged brain volume, especially in areas that store short-term memory.
Studies have shown that individuals with high sugary beverage intake such as soda have lower brain volume and poor memories compared to those who take less sugar. Note that reducing the consumption of added sugar not only helps in improving memory but also boosts a person’s overall health.
3. Frequent Exercises
Physical exercises have a direct impact on the health of the human brain. Regular workouts reduce the risks of cognitive decline associated with advanced age and as well protects the brain from progressive degeneration. Aerobic exercises, for instance, has proven effective in improving memory in persons during their early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Aerobic exercises that increase heart rate include:
- Cross country or short time running
- Regular swimming
- Dancing classes
- Frequent brisk walking
4. Take Fish Oil Supplements
It is widely known that fish oil contains substantial levels of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA. These are the good fats that are responsible for overall individual health. These fatty acids also relieve stress, reduce inflammation, reduce anxiety, reduces the risks of heart conditions, and most importantly, slows mental deterioration.
Several scientific studies unveil that consuming significant amounts of fish and fish oil improves memory, especially in people with advanced age. Omega-3 fatty acids and EPA are essential to the brains health and functioning. They also help in reducing inflammation, which is often linked to cognitive decline. It also improves working, episodic, and short-term memory in older adults.
Mindful meditation significantly improves memory. Meditation does reduce not only stress and pain but also improves memory. Most studies show that meditation is associated with improved brain function, reduces important markers of brain deterioration, and boosts both working and long-term memory. The key is to learn and practice meditation, which you can do in many ways. For example, you can learn meditation through a mindfulness app like Headspace, or Talkspace, which is an online therapy app. Taking a yoga class can also help you learn and practice meditation as well.
This conclusion came from a study of people who practiced regular meditation and those who do not. Individuals with a habit of meditating cause long-term changes in their brain functioning and increase the brain’s plasticity, thus keeping it healthy. Meditation affects the gray matter of the brain. This part of the brain has neuron cell bodies that are responsible for memory and cognition.
6. Maintain Healthy Weight
Keeping your weight levels at normal ranges is essential for individual well-being and among the best ways to keep the mind and body in good condition. Countless studies have linked obesity with cognitive decline. Being obese may cause changes in the memory associated genes of the brain that negatively affects memory.
Obesity also leads to increased inflammation and insulin resistance. Both processes negatively affect the brain. A study conducted of people between 20 and 35 years found a direct correlation between people with high body mass index to poor performance when given memory tests. Besides, note that obesity is a significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, a brain cell degenerative disease that affects memory and cognitive functions.
7. Take More Caffeine
Caffeine sourced from green tea and coffee helps build human memory. Taking caffeine after a memory test improved how an individual stores long term memories. To quantify this, a study by Research Gate concluded that individuals who consume approximately 200 milligrams of caffeine scored high on recall tests after 24 hours compared to those who did not take.
Caffeine also boosts short-term memory. Young adults who take early morning coffee show evidence of improved short-term memory. The light of this is useful for individuals who have tests or need to recall information during a specific time.
8. Have Plenty of Sleep
Lack of enough sleep is associated with sleep debts that result in poor memory. Apart from rest, sleep plays a crucial role in consolidating memory, a process that short-term memories strengthen and transform to long-lasting memories. Sleep-deprived persons experience adverse effects on memory.
The best justification for this is night-shift workers. Nurses working on night shifts, for instance, have high chances of making mathematical errors compared to nurses working day shifts. Health professionals recommend that adults should sleep between 7 and 9 hours for optimal health.
9. Try Dark Chocolate
Well, this might sound like an indulgence, but eating dark chocolate has been linked to improved memory. These are the results of a study suggesting that Cocoa flavonoids, which are major compounds of chocolate, help improve brain function. To justify this, individuals who eat dark chocolate have been seen to perform better in memory tests compared to those who did not.
10. Be Mindful
Practising mindfulness describes a state of mind where you focus on the present situation and being aware of the natural feelings and surroundings. Mindfulness is a common practice in meditation but does not mean the same thing. Whereas meditation is a formal practice, being mindful is a mental habit used in all situations every time.
Several studies demonstrate that mindfulness is effective at improving concentration, lowering stress, and improving memory. Mindfulness has also been linked to reduced risks of age-related cognitive decline and an overall improvement in an individual’s psychological well-being.
11. Avoid or Reduce Alcohol Consumption
It is in the public domain that taking a lot of alcohol beverages is detrimental to human health in several ways. Among the common adverse effects is in the memory. Binge drinking raises blood alcohol levels by 0.08grams per ml. This occurrence alters brain functioning and directly brings about memory deficits.
Alcohol has neurotoxic effects on the brain cells. Repeated binge drinking episodes damage the hippocampus, an essential part of the brain that plays an important role in memory.
12. Reduced Refined Carbohydrates
Consuming vast amounts of refined carbohydrates such as cereal, cookies, cakes, white bread, and white rice can damage your memory. Refined carbs have a high glycemic index. This means that the body digests the carbohydrates quickly leading to a sudden increase in blood sugar levels.
Just like added sugars, refined carbohydrates spike the blood sugar levels, thus damaging the brain slowly. This probably explains why the western diet, which is mostly composed of refined carbohydrates, causes cognitive decline and dementia.
13. Concept Visualization
Many people have reported benefiting from visualizing any information they study. This involves paying extra attention to charts, photographs, and any graphics on the textbooks. If potential visual graphics lack, you can create your own. This is through drawing charts and figures or using highlighters and pens with different colors. Making flashcards of various items you want to memorize cement the information in mind.
14. Test Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D is among the important nutrients with several vital roles in the body. Low levels of Vitamin D in the body is associated with a host of health issues, which include reduced cognitive function. So to say, individuals with less than 20 nanograms of Vitamin D in their blood levels lose memory and cognitive abilities faster compared to those with normal levels. Low vitamin D levels are also linked to increased risks of developing dementia.
15. Take Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Inflammation within the body is among the common causes of brain damage. Taking diets rich in anti-inflammatory foods, therefore, helps in improving memory. Antioxidants, as commonly called, reduces inflammation by reducing oxidative stress often caused by free radicals in the body.
Common antioxidants include fruits, teas, and vegetables. Berries such as flavonoids and anthocyanin are also vital in preventing memory loss.
The Bottom Line
There are dozens of fun, simple, and delicious ways to improve memory. Exercising both the mind and body, eating quality chocolate and cutting on added sugars and carbs are excellent yet straightforward techniques. Include a few of these science-backed strategies to your daily routine to improve both brain health and memory levels.