Everyone has moments of forgetfulness from time to time, especially when life gets busy
I am going to be 54 in August. And I admit that I am starting to forget things. It is a natural bi-product of getting older, but can also be a symptom of Alzheimer's or Dementia.
Now there have been no studies to date that have shown brain training can prevent dementia, but there have been ones that show that cognitive training can improve aspects of memory and thinking.
Let's take a look at ways that may be able to improve your memory naturally.
Eat Less Added Sugar
Research has shown that a sugar-laden diet can lead to poor memory and reduced brain volume, particularly in the area of the brain that store short-term memory. In once study of more than 4000 people, those with a higher intake of sugary beverages like soda had lower total brain volumes and poorer memories on average compared to people who consumed less sugar.
And of course, less added sugar helps to control your weight too.
Try a Fish Oil Supplement
Fish oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids - Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fats are important for overall health and have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation, relieve stress and anxiety, and slow mental decline.
One study of 36 older adults with mild cognitive impairment found that short-term and working memory scores improved significantly after they took concentrated fish oil supplements for 12 months.
Make time to Meditate
Meditation is not just good for your body, but also good for your brain. Research suggest that meditation may increase gray matter in the brain and improve spatial working memory.
It is also fantastic to help you relax, and has been shown to combat stress.
Maintain a healthy weight
Naturally, we all know that being overweight or obese can lead to a great many physical ailments, and increase the risk of cardiovascular problems. However, several studies have established that obesity is a risk factor for cognitive decline.
Interestingly, being obese can actually cause changes to memory-associated genes in the brain, which can have a negative impact affecting memory. Obesity can also lead to insulin resistance and inflammation, both of which impact the brain. A study of 50 people between the ages of 18 and 35 found that a higher mass index was associated with significantly worse performance on memory tests.
Get enough Sleep
This is a massive one. Over the last few years I have had a lot of issues around sleep, and this goes for a large proportion of the population.
Studies have consistently associated sufficient sleep with better memory performance. Sleep helps consolidate memories. You are also likely to perform better on memory tests if you are well rested than if you are sleep deprived.
Experts recommend an adult gets around eight hours sleep per night.
Drink less alcohol
Occasional moderate drinking isn't really an issue. We should all keep a careful eye on our alcohol intake if we want a healthy life. It is good to let your hair down and relax sometimes, However, alcohol does have a neurotoxic effect on the brain, and that includes reducing memory performance. Binge drinking can damage your hippocampus, a key area of the brain associated with memory.
Train your Brain
Exercising your cognitive skills by playing brain games is a fun and effective way to boost your memory. This can include Crosswords, Soduko, Puzzle Solving Apps, Word-Recall games etc. Anything dedicated to your memory.
A study including with adults with mild cognitive impairment found that playing games on a brain-training app for eight hours over a four-week period improved performance on memory tests.
A further study on 4715 people showed that when they did fifteen minutes of an online brain-training program at least five days a week, their short-term memory working memory, concentration and problem-solving improved significantly compared to a control group.
Plus it can be fun and rewarding when you do well.
Cut down on Refined Carbohydrates
Consuming large amounts of refined carbohydrates like cakes, cereal, cookies, white rice and white bread may be damaging to your memory.
Like added sugar, refined carbohydrates lead to a spike in blood sugar levels, which can damage your brain over time. Diets high in refined carbs have been associated with dementia, cognitive decline and reduced brain function.
This goes without saying - even though I am now going to say lots of reasons. Everyone should exercise more for their overall mental, emotional and physical health.
Research has established that it is beneficial for the brain too, and may help improve memory in people of all ages, from children to older adults.
For example, a study of people aged between 19 to 93 showed that a single bout of fifteen minutes of moderate exercise on a stationary bike led to improved cognitive performance, including memory, across all ages.
Many studies have shown that exercise may increase the secretion of neuroprotective proteins and improve the growth and development of neurons, leading to brain health.
There are many fun and interactive ways to help improve your mind and boost your memory - and that can even mean delicious things like dark chocolate. But it is your choice. You have an incredible responsibility to look after your body - you decide on exercise and nutrition. Make good choices, as that can lead to a longer and happier life - with memories!!!