Do you feel that your memory has declined as you get older? You are not the only one, and our memory declines with age aren’t the main reason. People who have trouble remembering their names in their later years likely had the same difficulties when they were younger.
As we get older, the more likely reason for memory problems is that our brains are in poor shape. For human memory and mind to work at their best, we must exercise them and ensure they get the right nutrition.
This article will explain how memory works and provide healthy lifestyle suggestions to increase memory and maintain a healthy mind. They will help you be more productive at work and in your private life.
How Does Your Memory Work?
When we think about mind, we often think of our ability to remember things, which is just one function of memory. There are three fundamental functions of memory: acquisition, consolidation, and recall.
The acquisition is the process of introducing new information into the brain. Before we can recall something, it must be in our brain. You can’t remember something that’s not there. But you can make false memories.
The acquisition stage is where it matters what information we get, and it doesn’t matter if the information is passive, making it difficult to recall later.
The other side of the coin is that if we pay more attention to information or interact with it, our brain will leave a stronger imprint, making it easier for us to recall later. Many people struggle to remember their names, and it is not that we have poor memories, but we are easily distracted when someone tells us their names.
Consolidation is a process where the memory becomes stable. The brain makes new information permanent by working with it when we get it. The brain transfers information from short-term memory to long-term memory.
The majority of memory consolidation happens during sleep. Our brain creates neural connections during sleep to associate with the new information. Evidence supports the idea that dreaming is important in memory consolidation.
The act of retrieving information stored in the brain’s memory is known as recall. The data is usually brought to mind almost instantly when it is deeply imprinted in our brain.
We need to work harder if the imprint becomes weaker. We often ask ourselves questions like “What’s the name?” after hearing the song over the radio. Then, our brain begins to search for that information, and it may find it just a few moments later after we’ve given up trying to remember.
14 Ways to Improve Memory
Here is how to improve memory naturally based on evidence.
1. Avoid Added Sugar
Sugar intake can lead to numerous chronic diseases, health issues, and cognitive decline.Recent research has shown that sugar-laden diets may cause memory loss, decreased brain volume, and even brain damage. This is especially true for the brain area that stores short-term memories.
More than 4,000 people were studied, and it was found that people with higher intakes of sugary drinks, such as soda, had lower brain volumes. They also had poorer memories. A lower sugar intake will improve your memory, as well as your overall health.
2. Try A Fish Oil Supplement
Fish oil has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosatetraenoic acid(EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid(DHA).
These fats have been shown to be beneficial for overall health. They are known to reduce heart disease risk, decrease inflammation, ease stress and anxiety, slow mental decline, and lower the severity of heart disease.
There have been many studies that show that supplementing with fish oil or fish oil can improve memory, especially in older people.
A study of 36 older people with mild cognitive impairment found that both short-term and long-term memory scores were significantly higher after 12 months of using concentrated fish oil supplementation.
Another 28-study review has shown that mild memory impairments such as memory loss can be improved by taking supplements rich in DHA/EPA (such as fish oils). DHA/EPA are both essential for brain health and function. They can also reduce inflammation that is associated with cognitive decline.
3. Make Time for Meditation
Meditation offers many benefits to your health. It’s soothing. Studies have shown it to decrease stress, pain, blood pressure, and memory. Meditation has been proven to increase gray matter in brains. Gray matter is less common in the elderly, which can have a negative impact on cognition and memory.
Studies show that meditation and relaxation techniques can improve short-term recall for all ages, from 20-year-olds to the elderly.
One study, for example, showed that meditation-practicing students in Taiwan had significantly more spatial working memory than those who were not practicing mindfulness.
Spatial Working Memory refers to your brain’s ability to store and process information about the location of objects in space.
4. Maintain A Healthy Body Weight
A healthy weight is essential for good health, and this is one way to ensure your mind and body are in peak condition.
Studies have shown that obesity has been linked to cognitive decline. Obesity can cause memory problems. It can also alter brain-associated memory gene expressions.
Diabetes and inflammation can also lead to obesity, negatively impacting the brain. An analysis of 50 individuals aged 18 to 35 found that higher body weight was linked with significantly lower memory performance.
Obesity can also increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. This progressive disease damages memory and cognitive function.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation has been shown to be a major cause of memory problems. Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation, a process that makes short-term memories last longer and strengthen.
Studies show that sleep deprivation can cause crucial memory loss. One study involved 40 children aged between 10 and 14 years. It examined their sleep habits and assessed their health.
One set of children was trained in memory tests, and the other was tested and trained the same day. The memory test showed a 20% improvement for the group who slept between the testing and the training.
Another research found that, night nurses were more likely than day nurses to make math mistakes, and 68% of them scored lower on memory tests.
To maintain optimal health, experts recommend that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
6. Practise Mindfulness
Mindfulness allows you to be present at the moment and also mindful of your surroundings. Though mindfulness can be used to meditate, it is not the only way; meditation requires more discipline.
Research has shown mindfulness to be a powerful way to reduce stress, increase concentration, and improve memory. A study involving 293 psychology students found that mindfulness training improves the recall-memory performance of object recognition relative to those who didn’t do it.
Mindfulness is also shown to lower dementia-related cognitive decline (age-related) and overall improve psychological well-being. Mindfulness techniques can be used to improve your daily habits.
You can pay more attention to the present, be more mindful of your breathing, and gently reset attention when your mind wanders.
7. Drink Lesser Alcohol
An excessive intake of alcohol can cause serious health problems and even lead to memory impairment.
This method of drinking raises blood alcohol levels by up to 0.08g/ml. Studies have shown this can alter the brain and cause memory problems. A study of first-year college students revealed that students who drank 6-8 drinks per week or monthly had more trouble remembering facts than those who didn’t drink.
The neurotoxic effects of alcohol on brain function are well known, and this brain area is essential for memory.
8. Train your Minds
You can improve your memory by engaging in brain games. Crosswords and word-recall games can help you increase your memory.
The study, which involved 42 adults with mild cognitive impairment, showed that memory tests performed well when they were played over eight hours on a brain training application. Another study with 4,715 participants showed significant improvements in the short-term, long-term, and working memory of those who used an online brain training program at least 15 minutes per week. Studies have shown that brain-training games can lower dementia risk among older people.
9. Save Much on Refined Food
Refined carbohydrates, such as cookies, cakes, and white rice, can cause memory issues. These foods have a high glycemic or glucose index, which means that the body will absorb these carbohydrates quickly and cause a blood sugar spike.
Research has shown that the Western diet is associated with cognitive decline, dementia, and lower cognitive function. A study of 317 children found that those who consumed more processed carbs such as white rice, noodles, or fast food had lower cognitive abilities, leading to a lower level of working memory and short-term memory.
Another study showed that breakfast cereal-eating adults had worse cognitive functioning than those who ate less of it.
10. Get Your Vitamin D Levels Tested
Vitamin D plays a vital role in the body.
Studies have shown that low vitamin D levels can lead to various health issues, including cognitive decline. A study with 318 seniors over three years found that people with lower vitamin D levels than 20 nanograms/ml experienced a slower decline in memory and cognitive abilities.
A lower vitamin D intake is associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Vitamin D deficiencies are common, particularly in colder areas and those with darker skin.
11. Exercise Daily
Exercise is vital for both your mental and physical health.
Studies have shown that it is good for the brain. An analysis of 144 individuals aged 19-93 showed that 15 minutes of moderate exercise on stationary bicycles led to cognitive performance improvements, memory enhancements, and other abilities for all ages.
Exercise has been shown to improve brain health, increasing neuroprotective proteins and neuron growth and development. Exercise in middle age has been shown to lower the risk of developing dementia later in life.
12. Choose Foods Anti-inflammatory
High-in-anti-inflammatory foods may help improve memory. These antioxidants can lower inflammation and reduce oxidative stress.
A recent review of nine studies covering over 31,000 subjects showed that those who ate more vegetables and fruits had a lower cognitive decline and dementia rates than those who consumed fewer.
Anthocyanin, flavonoids, and other antioxidants can be found in berries. Over 16,000 women were surveyed and found that blueberries and strawberries are associated with lower cognitive decline and memory loss.
13. Consider Curcumin
Curcumin, a compound found in large amounts in turmeric root, is part of a group known as polyphenols. It is an antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
Multiple animal studies have shown curcumin effectively reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in brains. This can cause memory impairment. Amyloid plaque accumulation can play an important part in the development of Alzheimer’s.
While human research on the effects of curcumin on memory needs to be expanded, animal studies have shown that it can improve memory and prevent cognitive decline.
14. Add Coca for Taste
Cocoa can be a portion of tasty and nutritious food. Recent research suggests that flavonoids might be especially beneficial for the brain. They stimulate blood vessels and nerve development and increase blood flow to memory-related brain areas.
A study involving 30 healthy participants showed dark chocolate containing cocoa. Flavonoids (720mg) had better memory retention than white chocolate, which does not contain cocoa. Dark chocolate that contains 70% or more cacao is the best for maximum health benefits.
You can enhance your memory in many ways that are fun, simple, and delicious. A good piece of chocolate or reducing sugar intake can be great ways to reduce sugar intake. These scientifically-backed tips can improve your brain health, ensuring that your memory stays sharp.
Is it possible to improve memory through a healthy lifestyle?
One of the great characteristics of asparagus as a veggie is that it has a good amount of folate, a B vitamin that can help you cope with stress.
How does lifestyle affect memory?
The health of the body and the mind and, consequently, the health of the brain is affected by a number of factors, including diet, medications, stress levels, exercise, smoking, and relaxation. Mood can also have a huge impact on your memory.
How can memory be improved?
Among the proven methods to preserve memory are a healthy diet, a regular exercise routine, quitting smoking, and healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar level. Being mentally active is also very important during old age.