Can’t remember why you walked into the room, or what you ate for lunch yesterday? Your memory may not be at 100%, but have no fear! You can improve memory and mental sharpness with a few simple tips. Here are 15 ways to boost your memory.
15 Ways to Boost Your Memory
Walk away from the screen.
That goes for all of your screens. They are too much of a distraction. Research shows that a lack of memory capacity can correlate with the brain’s ability to actively ignore distraction. So stop getting sucked into the Facebook rabbit hole. Improve memory and clear your mind by eliminating the distractions altogether!
Go exercise instead.
You probably could have guessed that that was coming, couldn’t you? The bottom line is that people who exercise do better on memory tests. It doesn’t have to be hardcore circuit training or marathon running. Simply staying active will keep your memory sharp. For example, adults who take more steps perform better on memory tasks than those who are more sedentary. Exercise targets a region of the brain within the hippocampus that controls memory decline. So put down the iPad, get off the sofa, and hit the gym!
When you’re done exercising, sleep on it.
People who nap are more likely to think more cognitively and creatively. Even a nap of an hour can significantly improve memory. Ladies, if you want your men to remember what you said to them eighteen times already so you don’t have to repeat it anymore, send them to their rooms for a nap.
Have a lot on your to-do list? Read it over before you go to bed at night. Sleep improves our ability to carry out our intentions, because it helps us remember what they were in the first place!
Eat on a Regular Schedule.
Cut out the late night snacking, especially while you’re studying or reading. That mindless eating REALLY IS mindless in that it can actually dull some of the functions of the brain. Eating at the wrong time can also disrupt sleep patterns, which can make your memory even worse.
Use your imagination.
People who create images in their heads tend to have better recall abilities than those who try to recall information using other methods. When my kids were younger, before bed we would visualize ourselves during the best parts of our day. Who knows, maybe by reviewing them using our imaginations we were storing them as long-term memories!
Reduce your stress levels.
Stress not only messes with our bodies, it can slow down our brains. Research shows that sustained stress can actually erode our memories by reducing the amount of information we can store. Even young adults who don’t cope well with stress have an increased risk for experiencing memory problems later in life. Luckily, if you took the advice from above about getting up from your screens and exercising, you may already be on the path to reducing your stress levels.
Sip on green tea.
This one may sound like a joke, but it’s not. (Why did the chicken run barefoot across the road just doesn’t work.) However, studies show that running barefoot outdoors is leads to better cognitive performance than running with shoes. Perhaps it is because barefoot activities can improve balance and posture, reducing stress on the body.
Or perhaps the benefits are in the ground itself. Earthing (the concept of being outdoors barefoot), is having contact with the Earth’s electrons by walking barefoot outside, transferring the energy from the ground into the body. Emerging research shows that the Earth’s electrons induce significant physiological changes to the body, including reduced pain, better sleep, and a shift in the autonomic nervous system. While going barefoot may not always be practical advice, it’s interesting nonetheless!
Keep your weight in check.
There is increasing evidence of a link between reduced memory and overeating. Additionally, excess bodyweight may be associated with changes to the structure and function of the brain and its ability to perform cognitive tasks. Excess weight gain can create changes to the body that disrupt memory-associated genes, leading to cognitive decline.
Plus, eating a high-fat diet may do more than increase your waistline; it can wreak havoc on your memory too. Reducing the amount of dietary fat and empty calories can improve memory and reduce stress.
Reduce your sugar intake.
How you eat affects how you think. A diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning. People with higher blood sugar levels are more likely to have memory problems. Studies have shown that consuming sweetened beverages can impair your ability to learn and remember information.
When you splurge, have a bite of dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate is known to have multiple health benefits. Naturally occurring properties found in cocoa called Flavanols can even reverse memory decline in healthy adults. A little bite of chocolate every day can’t hurt, as long as the portions are kept under control!
Drinking hot cocoa may help older people keep their brains healthy. Participants in one study who drank two cups of hot cocoa per day for 30 days showed improved memory and thinking skills. Just make sure that your hot cocoa contains more cocoa than sugar so that you don’t cancel out the benefits.
Add salmon to your meals.
Want to pass that test with flying colors? Increase your Omega-3 fatty acid intake. Diets rich in Omega-3’s are shown to improve cognitive performance, even in highly functional young individuals. Higher levels of omega-3 DHA are also associated with better sleep. A diet lacking in omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients commonly found in cold-water fish such as salmon and sardines, as well as walnuts and kiwi fruit, may cause your brain to age faster and lose some of its memory and thinking abilities. Not only do Omega-3 fatty acids help improve learning and memory, they can also fight against depression and other mood disorders. If you are not much of a fish eater, you can still get your Omega-3’s from flavored fish oils (such as lemon, lime, orange cream or pina colada) or other supplements.
Learn about Resveratrol.
A compound found in foods such as red grapes and peanuts may help prevent age-related memory decline. Resveratrol has been touted for its potential to prevent heart disease, and now researchers believe it also has positive effects on the area of the brain that is critical to functions such as memory, learning and mood. If red grapes and peanuts aren’t your thing, you can always get resveratrol supplements too.
Consume lots of berries.
Eating blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and other berries may help prevent memory loss. Berries contain high levels of antioxidants, which protect brain cells from damage by free radicals and prevent inflammation that leads to impairment.
Spice it up.
Spices are a fantastic ways to add flavor to your meals while improving your memory. Adding just one gram of turmeric to breakfast can be beneficial. Turmeric (or curcumin) has been shown to improve memory and reduce the risk of dementia. An extract found in cinnamon bark contains properties that may lessen the development of Alzheimer’s disease. And another study found that rosemary can improve cognitive performance.
So there you have it. Feel free to bookmark or print this post, just in case you don’t follow these tips for boosting your memory… and then forget where you read them!
Disclosure: There may be affiliate links in this post.
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