If you’re relatively young and healthy, improving your memory might not be the health goal you’re most concerned about right now. However, memory impairment should not be taken lightly, as memory is linked to many other brain functions and is a window into a person’s overall cognitive health.
Is it really possible to improve your memory? Research suggests that yes, it is possible. Expert advice on how to improve memory and other cognitive functions, such as concentration and decision-making, is as follows:
– learn new information regularly
– follow an anti-inflammatory diet
– to exercise
– get enough sleep
– possibly try some supplements
6 ways to improve memory
How to improve your memory and concentration? Here’s what to focus on and how to improve your memory naturally:
1. Keep learning new things
Challenging yourself and “getting out of your comfort zone” is a great way to encourage neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to form and reorganize synaptic connections in response to learning and to experiences. Neuroplasticity basically describes how your brain literally adapts to challenges and things you do over and over again by forming new connections, and it’s a great way to improve memory. It can be easy to get into a monotonous routine in old age, but continuing to develop new skills is key to keeping the brain sharp and alert. The best exercises for stimulating the brain are those that require concentration, total commitment and some mental effort. Any activity or hobby that requires hand-eye coordination and complex motor skills is also great for the brain.
Ideally, you want to practice exercises that you can get better and better at over time, because progress is rewarding and fun. here are some examples
– learning a new instrument or a new language
– build objects with his hands
– play chess
– to play golf
– do crosswords or play board games
2. Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet
An important aspect of improving memory is giving your brain the fuel it needs to protect itself against damage (like free radicals and oxidative stress) and function at its best. This is why an anti-inflammatory diet is one of the natural ways to improve memory. A diet aimed at protecting cognitive functions should include products rich in antioxidants (colorful fruits and vegetables), proteins, healthy fats and other anti-inflammatory ingredients. You’ll want to include plenty of “brain foods” that support focus and memory, such as:
– Healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, coconut, walnuts, egg yolks, ground flax seeds and flaxseed oil.
– Foods high in antioxidants, such as leafy green vegetables, peppers, onions, citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, dark cocoa, acai, turmeric, herbs, etc.
– Cold water “oily fish”, such as salmon, tuna, halibut, trout, mackerel, sardines and herring.
– Super foods such as wheat germ, seaweed
– Green tea and coffee in moderation
– Wine in moderation (about one glass a day for women, two for men)
Studies have shown that regular physical activity helps protect short- and long-term memory. It helps your brain stay sharp
– Increasing circulation and oxygen to your brain
– promoting neuroplasticity by stimulating growth factors and neural connections
– managing inflammation and supporting a healthy immune system
– Reducing the risk of disorders that can contribute to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
– Strengthen resilience to stress
– Reduce fatigue
– release endorphins that fight depression.
Aerobic exercises like brisk walking, swimming, and cycling are some of the best options for seniors to learn how to improve memory through exercise.
4. Get enough sleep
Sleep has a big impact not only on your energy level, but also on your concentration, memory, problem-solving skills, emotional regulation, and creativity. Researchers have even found that getting enough sleep plays a role in memory consolidation, which takes place during the deepest phases of sleep. On average, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night to feel their best. Here are some tips for better sleep:
– Stick to a regular schedule to support your circadian rhythm (i.e. your internal clock). Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning.
– Limit screen time at night, and do something relaxing instead, like reading, mediating, or writing. Blue light emitted by electronic devices such as TVs, tablets, phones, and computers can affect your ability to sleep well. Calming activities, such as listening to music, meditation, or yoga, can improve cognitive abilities, including concentration, creativity, memory, and learning. One study found that meditation and music significantly improved subjective memory function and objective cognitive performance in adults with cognitive decline.
– Reduce your consumption of alcohol, caffeine, sugar and spicy foods, especially at bedtime.
– According to some studies, taking a nap, especially after learning new information, can also help you remember more easily.
5. Prioritize relationships to combat loneliness
Studies show that meaningful relationships in a person’s life and a supportive social circle can actually help defend the brain from damage because they decrease loneliness. To improve your mood and brain function, make an effort to nurture relationships and reach out to others often. Try to find a community in which you can actively engage, such as a sports team, volunteer organization, etc.
Laughing with others, along with physical affection, helps release “happiness hormones,” like oxytocin, which can support cognitive health. Intentionally seek out positive people and spend time with them. Playing with children and pets is another great way to reduce stress, which can make life more fun and help you take things less seriously.
A word of advice: if you have trouble keeping up with an active social life and remembering events, try to stay organized with calendars, planners, maps, shopping lists, folders and address books. Doing these kinds of things has been shown to be associated with better memory in older adults.
6. Consider taking supplements like nootropics
How can I quickly improve my memory? Let’s say you’re cramming for an exam and looking for ways to help you retain information. Nootropics can help you. These supplements, some of which contain caffeine or other stimulating ingredients, tend to aid concentration and possibly memory.
Nootropics cover a wide range of drugs, herbs and supplements that promote focus, such as:
– adaptogenic herbs, such as ginseng and rhodiola
– medicinal mushrooms, such as cordyceps
– amino acids, such as L-carnitine
– DHA/fish oil
– B vitamins, especially B12
– Coffee or green tea extract
– Gingko biloba
Each nootropic supplement works in a unique way and has its own specific mechanisms of action. Many are able to alter the levels of certain neurotransmitters, enzymes or hormones in the brain, such as:
– the adrenaline
These supplements can therefore increase energy and motivation, promote blood circulation and help protect the brain from oxidative stress – another option for improving memory.
Optimize short-term memory
If you’re more focused on recalling short-term information than preserving your long-term memory, here are some other tips for improving memory:
- Study in a place free from distractions (no TV, music, phone, etc.).
- Use mnemonic devices, that is, associations you make between terms and things you know well. You can also add humor to make the ideas more memorable.
- Learn information over a long period of time rather than cramming it.
- Focus on general concepts.
- Group similar concepts and terms together, in order to mix new elements with those you already know.
- Use visualization, photographs, tables and other graphics.
- Repeat the information out loud.
Risk factors for memory impairment
Researchers have found that a number of lifestyle habits and health issues are often associated with memory loss. Here are some of the major risk factors for cognitive decline and memory impairment:
- Have a history of heart disease or diabetes.
- A diet low in antioxidants and healthy fats, but high in processed foods, added sugar and saturated fats (from, for example, factory-farmed red meat, whole milk, cheese products and desserts such as ice cream).
- Hormonal issues including thyroid imbalances, low testosterone and low estrogen.
- Chronic stress. Too much stress can actually damage brain cells due to its effects on hormone levels, inflammation, and even gut health.
- Taking certain medications, such as cold and allergy medications
- A sedentary lifestyle.
- An unhealthy balance between work and leisure/lack of time for relaxation.
- Loneliness and having few close relationships.