We generally associate poor memory or cognitive issues with old age, disorders like dementia, or people who have taken a knock on the head.
It is quite normal to experience lapses in memory or brain function when navigating busy times or enduring long-term stress. It is also perfectly normal to see a change in memory as one gets older. Regardless, it can be a frustrating development, and something that can actually be addressed with natural measures over time.
These are some simple methods that have been shown to improve memory, given careful attention and consistency.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Studies have shown that adults should indulge in 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, and that not maintaining a healthy sleep pattern can negatively affect your memory and, let’s face it, your whole psyche.
2. Exercise Your Brain
There are dozens of brain game apps that you could download, but you could also simply pick a skill that you’ve always wanted to learn, and give it a go. This could be learning another language, starting to play chess or learning to play an instrument.
The brain benefits a huge deal from being challenged, as it breaks away from stubborn existing neural pathways that have been forged by the time we are adults.
3. Eat Less Sugar
Believe it or not, high sugar intake has been linked to cognitive decline, over and above weight issues and diabetes. One study, which examined over 4000 subjects, found that those who had a higher sugar intake were more prone to short-term memory problems, and literally had lower brain volumes.
4. Eat Well
Meeting your body’s overall needs is another giant leap toward a healthy memory. A balanced diet will affect so much more than your weight and physical health — it affects your mental function too. If you are specifically looking to boost your brainpower by using nutrition, the following foods are proven mental powerhouses:
- Fatty Fish – Approximately 60% of your brain is made up of fat, and half of that in itself is omega 3 fatty acids. If you can’t stomach fish, a fish oil supplement is highly recommended.
- Coffee – You might be delighted to know that coffee, in moderation, is actually good for you. The popular little roasted bean contains caffeine, which is great for alertness, mood and concentration. It’s also rich in antioxidants, which contribute to long-term mental health too.
- Blueberries – Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, blueberries are also a great source of anthocyanins, which have been found to help the brain fend off oxidative stress and inflammations, and other conditions that might contribute to loss of mental sharpness.
- Dark Chocolate – Cocoa powder is loaded with brain fuel, including flavonoids, caffeine and antioxidants. Research has shown that flavonoids in particular modulate areas of the brain that deal with learning and memory, and can lead to significant improvement in cognitive functions.
- Nuts – Nuts are packed with brain-healthy nutrients, including vitamin E, fatty acids and other natural compounds that can boost both mental and physical health. Some of the nuts that are particularly good for your brain are walnuts, almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts.
- Vitamin C – Foods like oranges, kiwi, strawberries, bell peppers and guavas are rich in vitamin C, which, as it turns out, is more useful than just fending off colds and flu. Vitamin C is a mighty antioxidant that helps combat free radicals, which are blamed for cell damage throughout the body, including the brain.
- Green Tea – Much like coffee, green tea contains the wonder ingredient caffeine, as well as loads of powerful antioxidants. It also contains another wonderful little compound called L-theanine. This is a natural anti-stress amino acid that helps you relax, and some people believe it helps prevent dementia.
5. Meditation for Gray Matter
Practicing meditation soothes the mind, reduces overall stress and anxiety, and it has been linked to alleviating physical pain. Moreover, meditation has been shown to improve memory and cognitive functions.
Studies found that meditation actually generates gray matter in the brain, which usually declines as we grow older. Gray matter contains neuron cell bodies, and it plays a crucial role in many of the brain’s functions, such as memory and thought processes.
6. Mindfulness for Memory
Besides meditation, research affirms that practicing mindfulness – that is, being present – helps regulate and improve the brain’s overall function. The human brain is not intended for multitasking, and being present-minded on one moment at a time increases mental awareness and improves concentration.
7. Exercise Your Body
In addition to making you irresistibly gorgeous, exercise can make you quite smart too! Exercise stimulates the secretion of neuroprotective proteins and also helps the body to grow neurons. There is also a strong link between exercise and lowered risk of dementia in old age.
The Tip of The Iceberg
These steps are only the beginning of many healthy habits that you can begin practicing to ensure that your brain stays young and sharp for as long as possible. With a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips, there is no reason why generations to come shouldn’t age with the dignity of mental wellness at their disposal.