Do you need to boost your memory? Have you walked into a room and struggled to remember why you went there in the first place? Or were you introduced to someone at a party only to forget their name within minutes? If you’re sheepishly nodding in agreement, take heart, you’re not alone! Memory lapses often accompany the aging process. However, it’s becoming increasingly common among the younger demographic due to the frenetic pace of modern living. You can ward off memory loss and significantly boost your memory, by incorporating these 6 helpful tips into everyday life:
1. Be Deliberate about Diet
Evidence-based research indicates that diet has a major impact on memory. Blood sugar spikes affect memory hence reducing sugar intake should be your starting point. Include whole grains and other low glycaemic index foods such as whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, oats, sweet potatoes, non-starchy vegetables and fruit into your meals to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Readers Digest Canada recommends we eat a “brain-healthy diet” rich in Vitamin E and C, beta carotene, dark green leafy and brightly colored vegetables.
Fatty fish like sardines, trout, and salmon contain Omega 3 acids which are essential to building brain and nerve cells.
Food that is high in antioxidant flavonoids such as tea, berries and dark chocolate should feature high on your menu plan. Flavonoids help to prevent memory loss by increasing blood flow to the parts of the brain responsible for memory.
2. Practise Mindfulness
“Mindfulness lowers stress and improves concentration and memory,” says Jillian Kabala, a registered dietician in Westhampton, New York. Mindfulness teaches you to be present in the moment and to focus your attention. Attention is a crucial component of memory. Mindfulness techniques include:
- Paying attention to the present moment
- Concentrating on your breathing
- Resetting your attention when it wanders by bringing it back to the here and now.
3. Embrace Exercise
Several studies indicate that exercise can improve cognitive ability. In a study undertaken by the University of British Columbia, it was found that regular aerobic exercise boosts the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Heidi Godman in the Harvard Health Blog advises that “regular exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills.” Not an exercise buff? Any physical activity that gets your heart pumping sufficiently to cause a light sweat will help, including household chores like vacuuming and scrubbing down the bathroom.
4. Stay Mentally Active
Mentally challenging activities can amp up your mental agility levels, thus boosting memory. Tackle a crossword puzzle, challenge your teenager to a game of chess. If stimulating brain games don’t float your boat, try learning a new skill. Scott Barry Kaufman in the NPR Broadcast states that “Learning a new skill can strengthen connections within the brain and can strengthen entire networks of neurons within the brain.” So go ahead and pursue that passion you’ve always dreamed of – whether it’s creative writing, Latin American dancing or joining a pottery studio.
5. Reduce Alcohol Intake
Alcohol has neurotoxic effects on the brain. The ethanol contained in alcohol alters the brain structure and impedes memory performance. Excessive alcohol consumption affects the brain’s ability to transfer information from short term to long term memory, causing the hippocampus to shrink which changes neurons and reduces the size of brain cells. Limiting your alcohol intake is key to remaining brain-healthy.
6. Sleep on It
Adequate sleep is essential to your overall health. During sleep, short term memories are solidified and transferred into long-lasting memories. Health experts recommend 7-9 hours per day. The brain needs adequate sleep to boost your memory and learning functions so be sure to get your required hours of shuteye.
By incorporating these habits into your lifestyle, you will improve your brain health, boost your memory, and enjoy the benefits of mental clarity.
About the Author
Carmel Murugen studied social work and business management and has over 25 years’ experience in social welfare. She is a freelance writer specializing in the fields of family and relationships and health and wellness. When she’s not working with people or writing about them she enjoys planning her next travel adventure. https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmel-murugen-1b966742/
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