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9 Tips On How To Improve Your Memory

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9 Tips On How To Improve Memory

While it is natural to have short-term memory and recall issues when you grow old, it can be avoided by making simple lifestyle, dietary tweaks. Adding foods like berries, red wine, nuts, soya, spinach, beans to your daily diet and slashing alcohol are found to have a positive effect on memory. At the same time, yoga or regular exercise ensures improved focus, concentration.

We all know that one person in our lives who can distinctly remember events, their dates, where they occurred and what everyone was wearing when it did. They remember routes as if they are etched in their brains, never forget names and almost always remember addresses and phone numbers. An elephant’s memory is something we all covet. And let’s admit it, ever since the advent of the smartphone, we haven’t really had to remember a lot of stuff–the phone remembers it all for us. It even reminds us of birthdays and when we have to take our pills. So it’s natural for our memory to be a little rusty nowadays. And anyway we tend to become forgetful as we age. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’ve often wondered how to improve your memory power and how to improve concentration, you need to read this.

Whether you’re a grown individual or have kids who deal with problems concerning concentration or have to care for the elderly with short-term memory and recall issues, there are plenty of solutions to try.

9 Ways To Improve Memory

1. Go High On Flavonoids

There is a large volume of research that proves the wonders of flavonoid-rich foods for improving memory. They work to protect vulnerable neurons, enhance existing neuronal function and stimulate neuronal regeneration.1

Binge on red, blue and purple berries like blueberries and cranberries, plums, apples, pears, peaches, bananas, citrus fruits, nuts and beans, teas, red wine, unfiltered fruit juices (particularly grape juice), herbs and spices, peppers, tomatoes, onions, and eggplants.

2. Say Bye To Booze

Several animals studies have shown that alcohol impairs memory. It primarily hampers the ability to form new long-term memories. Research suggests that the higher the volume of alcohol consumed, the greater the memory impairment. And if these large quantities are consumed rapidly, they can produce a memory blackout, making you forget key details of events or even the entire events.2

3. Just Have More Soya

Soya, made of soybeans is popularly used as a meat substitute in many countries and is rich in isoflavone phytoestrogens. A study examined the effects of high versus low soya diets on attention, memory and frontal lobe function in young healthy adults of both sexes for 10 weeks. Males and females on the high-soya diet showed significant improvements in short-term and long-term memory along with increased mental flexibility.3

4. Look At Cute Stuff!

Well, we’re not kidding you on this. According to a research conducted at Japan’s Hiroshima University, looking at cute images of baby animals yields careful behavior and better concentration. One hundred and thirty-two students participated in a series of experiments involving different activities like playing the game Operation or finding a number in a random sequence. When these attempts were followed up with looking at cute baby animal photos, the participants improved their performance ratings by 44 percent on an average.4

5. Eat Like Popeye

A diet rich in iron and folic acid ensures improved memory and concentration. It is not only a must for growing children but also the elderly. Iron deficiency contributes to the less efficient supply of oxygen to the brain and also decreases brain energy production. Folic acid deficiency decreases intellectual capacity and impairs memory in the elderly. For an adequate supply of these vital nutrients, gorge on green vegetables like cress, spinach, leeks, lentils, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and liver, eggs, maize, chickpeas, almonds, and chestnuts. Beef, organ meats, beans such as kidney beans, fortified cereals, apricots, and nuts are other top choices.5

6. Be A Social Butterfly

According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, elderly people in the US with an active social life may have a slower rate of memory decline. Marital status, volunteer activities, and contact with parents, children, and neighbors were used to analyze social integration in the study involving elderly subjects observed over six years.6

Another study observing 1138 older individuals revealed that even a one point increase in social activity score was associated with a 47 percent decrease in the rate of decline in global cognitive function. The 12-year-study concluded that the rate of global cognitive decline was reduced by an average of 70 percent in folks who were socially active regularly.7

So don’t be all cooped up inside the house always. Go out, cultivate relationships, call up those friends and make memories – you’ll actually remember them if you’re more social.

7. Get Some Physical Exercise

The hippocampus in the brain is the seat of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system. As we age (or even with alcohol abuse), the size of the hippocampus shrinks. According to a research, one year of aerobic exercise training was found to be successful in turning back the clock and increasing hippocampal volume by two percent. The age-related loss in volume of this part of the brain was actually reversed by one to two years, resulting in improved memory function.8

8. Try Some Yoga, Too

It’s the age of ADHD and with so many distractions it’s hard to concentrate and focus for adults and children alike. That’s where yoga comes in. According to a study of 159 high-stress and 142 low-stress adolescent students, it was concluded that those who practiced yoga scored higher on concentration levels and exhibited better short-term memory. The students were divided into experimental and control groups for seven weeks with the experimental group practicing yoga asanas, pranayama, meditation, and prayer.9

9. Get A Life

Research suggests that actively engaging in a variety of lifestyle activities such as listening to music, going to the movies, gardening, cooking, volunteering, playing games and cards helps maintain cognitive health in late life. These cognitively challenging activities especially help the elderly keep their wits and memory intact. The more challenging the activity, better the results. Activities like reading books, doing the crossword, attending classes, drawing and sketching, reading the newspaper rate higher for the elderly according to the study done on 436 older women. A greater variety of participation in activities, regardless of cognitive challenge and frequency, led to an 8 to 11 percent decrease in the risk of impairment in verbal memory and global cognitive outcomes.10

Well, who doesn’t really want a razor-sharp memory? Adopt these healthy lifestyle changes and see if they work.

References   [ + ]

1. Spencer, Jeremy PE. “Food for thought: the role of dietary flavonoids in enhancing human memory, learning, and neuro-cognitive performance.” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 67, no. 02 (2008): 238-252.
2. White, Aaron M. “What happened? Alcohol, memory blackouts, and the brain.” Alcohol Research and Health 27, no. 2 (2003): 186-196.
3. File, S. E., N. Jarrett, E. Fluck, R. Duffy, K. Casey, and H. Wiseman. “Eating soya improves human memory.” Psychopharmacology 157, no. 4 (2001): 430-436.
4. Nittono, Hiroshi, Michiko Fukushima, Akihiro Yano, and Hiroki Moriya. “The power of kawaii: Viewing cute images promotes a careful behavior and narrows attentional focus.” PloS one 7, no. 9 (2012): e46362.
5. Bourre, Jean-Marie. “Effects of nutrients (in food) on the structure and function of the nervous system: update on dietary requirements for brain. Part 1: micronutrients.” Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging 10, no. 5 (2006): 377.
6. Ertel, Karen A., M. Maria Glymour, and Lisa F. Berkman. “Effects of social integration on preserving memory function in a nationally representative US elderly population.” American journal of public health 98, no. 7 (2008): 1215-1220.
7. James, Bryan D., Robert S. Wilson, Lisa L. Barnes, and David A. Bennett. “Late-life social activity and cognitive decline in old age.” Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 17, no. 06 (2011): 998-1005.
8. Erickson, Kirk I., Michelle W. Voss, Ruchika Shaurya Prakash, Chandramallika Basak, Amanda Szabo, Laura Chaddock, Jennifer S. Kim et al. “Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108, no. 7 (2011): 3017-3022.
9. Kauts, Amit, and Neelam Sharma. “Effect of yoga on concentration and memory in relation to stress.” ZENITH international journal of multidisciplinary research 2, no. 5 (2012): 1-14.
10. Carlson, Michelle C., Jeanine M. Parisi, Jin Xia, Qian-Li Xue, George W. Rebok, Karen Bandeen-Roche, and Linda P. Fried. “Lifestyle Activities and Memory: Variety May Be the Spice of Life. The Women’s Health and Aging Study II.” J Int Neuropsychol Soc 18, no. 2 (2012): 286-294.