The brain’s function was believed to peak during early adulthood, gradually declining since then and leading to memory lapses and brain fog as you grow old. However, today’s lifestyle is contributing to cognitive decline as well.
Poor diet, exposure to chemicals and toxins, stress, lack of sleep, and other modern lifestyle habits can hinder the brain functioning.
On the other hand, leading a healthy lifestyle can stimulate the process of neurogenesis, when your brain produces new neurons, thus supporting the brain health.
In fact, the memory center in the brain, hippocampus, can grow new cells throughout the entire lifetime. However, you have to provide it the tools needed for the hippocampus regeneration.
These tools are not medical procedures or expensive medications for memory boost. You just have to follow these simple lifestyle habits to improve your memory.
7 Ways to Improve Your Memory Naturally
1. Eat Right
Diet plays a huge role in your memory. You should eat plenty of fresh vegetables and healthy fats, and avoid grain carbs and sugar. Great examples of memory-boosting foods are cauliflower, broccoli, celery, walnuts, and curry.
They contain antioxidants and other compounds which stimulate the formation of new brain cells and support the brain health.
Healthy fats for your brain are krill oil, fish oil, and coconut oil. On the other hand, you should avoid processed vegetable oils.
Exercise strengthens the nerve cell interconnections and prevents them from damaging, thus encouraging them to multiply. This enables your brain to work at full power.
The nerve cells release BDNF (brain-derived neuroprotective factor) and other proteins which trigger chemicals that support neural health during exercise. This, in turn, improves the learning process and other cognitive functions.
In fact, one animal study showed that regular exercise enhanced the blood flow to the brain and helped animals learn new tasks a lot quicker than animals which didn’t exercise.
It’s best to start a program which includes strength training, intensity interval exercise, core work, stretching, and regular intermittent movement.
3. Stop Multitasking
Even though multitasking enables you to do more things at once, it actually slows you down and makes you forgetful. Also, doing things at the same time as fast as possible increases the risk of errors.
Since your brain needs 8 seconds to transfer a piece of information to your brain, carrying your groceries while talking on the phone and putting down your keys will probably result in you forgetting where you’ve left them.
Therefore, stop doing more things at once and focus on one task at a time.
4. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep strengthens your memories and help you “practice” and enhance challenging skills. Sleeping for at least 6 hours will help you think clearly the following day. What’s more, naps improve the babies and infants’ brain power, as well as the brain power of adults.
Research has also shown that sleeping right after learning something new helps retention. But, sleeping doesn’t only help remember old information. It also helps you synthesize new ideas.
5. Play Brain Games
You have to constantly challenge your brain with new information to prevent it from deteriorating. One way to do that is to play brain games. You can find many of them online on different Web sites.
The professor emeritus at the University of California Dr. Michael Merzenich has made a computer-based brain-training program called Brain HQ, which helps improve different brain skills, including reading, comprehension, and memory.
When playing brain games, don’t invest more than 7 minutes on one task. It’s best to play them for 20 minutes a day.
However, enjoying this type of games is really important as otherwise, they will become just another boring task on your to-do list. Another option is to start a new hobby or learn a new skill.
6. Master a New Skill
Doing meaningful activities counters the effects of stress-induced conditions, lowers the risk of dementia, stimulates the neurological system, and improves the overall health and well-being. But, the activity must be interesting and meaningful to you to get these benefits.
One research discovered that knitting, quilting, and other craft activities help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment. Also, another research showed that learning how to take digital photography or how to quilt improves the memory in older adults.
The crucial thing is to find what holds your attention. That could be gardening, playing a musical instrument, crafting, building model ships, etc.
7. Try Mnemonic Devices
These memory tools help you to organize information into a format that’s easier to remember. They help you remember information, words, or concepts. You can try the following:
- Acronyms (remember the first letters of a phrase to help remember it)
- Visualizations (imagine a nail to remember your manicure)
- Rhymes (make a rhyme to remember a name)
- Chunking (divide numbers or phrases into smaller parts, like remembering a number in the format of a phone number)
These seven tricks will help you boost your memory and cognitive function naturally.