Memory is a fundamental part of who we are, and losing even a tiny bit of it can be frustrating, worrying, and unsettling. However, we are all prone to memory loss as we get older. Here is how you can naturally improve your memory!
Even so, having moments of forgetfulness can be normal sometimes, especially when one is busy. It happens to everyone, both young and old. This is usually due to normal changes in the brain structure and function.
The good news is, you can avoid any form of memory loss naturally by making a few changes in your diet and lifestyle.
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for good health, including improving your memory.
Obesity negatively affects every aspect of your life, including your memory. What Makes You Gain Weight.
Research shows accumulative evidence that excessive weight gain or obesity can cause brain structure and function changes, leading to cognitive impairment.
Obesity is associated explicitly with the frontal lobe and hippocampal dysfunction.
The frontal lobe is the anterior part of the brain located behind your forehead. It’s responsible for memory formation, emotion, and behavioral control.
On the other hand, the hippocampus is embedded in the temporal lobe (sits behind the ears) and is responsible for learning and memory consolidation.
In one study, participants with a higher body mass index performed poorly on a memory test.
Obesity has also been shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative condition that affects cognitive abilities and memory.
2. Eliminate added sugar from your diet
The brain uses sugar for fuel in the form of glucose. However, an excessive amount of sugar may slow cognitive function and decrease memory and attention.
Researchers believe too much inflammation from sugar impairs memory.
A study published in Behavioral Brain Research found that a high sugar diet increased inflammatory markers in the hippocampus region. In contrast, a standard diet low in sugar recorded no inflammatory markers.
But luckily, inflammatory memory damage is entirely reversible, and by eliminating sugar from the diet, one can maintain a clear and better memory.
Further research shows that high sugar diets, including beverages, may reduce brain volume, especially in the hippocampal region, which is associated with short-term memory.
3. Get enough sleep
Inadequate sleep is generally associated with poor memory, among other cognitive problems. It particularly interferes with memory consolidation, which involves processing and transforming short-term memory into long-term memory.
On average, experts recommend that adults should have between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Other benefits of getting enough sleep include a strong immune system, increased ability to manage stress and solve problems, better concentration, increased energy levels and increased physical health.
Read Also, 6 Sleep Inducing Teas For Bedtime.
4. Limit refined carbohydrates
Just like dietary sugar, refined carbohydrates are broken down into sugar during digestion. This may increase your risk for various health issues like reduced cognitive function or decline and dementia.
In one study, consuming ready-to-eat breakfast cereal at least daily resulted in poor cognitive function than those who consumed it less frequently.
5. Include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet
Free radicals and oxidative stress are constantly attacking your brain. This causes inflammation which increases your risk of cognitive impairment. Consuming Anti-inflammatory Foods will help prevent inflammation and reduce inflammatory markers and promote brain function. See Vegan Brain Booster Foods.
Such foods should be high in antioxidants, healthy fats, protein, and other anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Leafy greens like spinach, collards, broccoli, and kale
- Healthy fats like olive and avocado
- Nuts like walnuts and almonds
- Fruits like blueberries, strawberries, cherries, and oranges
- Spices like turmeric
6. Engage in regular exercise
Research shows that regular exercise may help protect your short-term and long-term memory.
Exercise also increases memory by fighting inflammation, increasing oxygen supply to the brain, building resistance against stress, stimulating the growth of new neural connections, and releasing endorphins that fight stress. 10 Surprising Health Benefits Of Walking Daily, 8 Life-Changing Benefits Of Exercise.
7. Build healthy relationships
Research shows that meaningful and supportive relationships can protect the brain against cognitive impairment or underperformance.
Both physical affection and laughter with others increase the release of oxytocin, a “happy hormone” that promotes cognitive health and function.
What Causes Memory Loss
- Depression may cause confusion and forgetfulness, making it difficult to focus on work, perform a task or think clearly
- Vitamin B12 deficiency may affect your red blood cells and nerve conduction leading to impaired memory and cognitive function
- Hypothyroidism slows your metabolism, which may affect your thinking and memory.
- Alcohol intoxication can affect your mental abilities and capabilities
- Lack of sleep impairs memory consolidation, which builds and retains memories. It may also increase your risk of forming false memories.
- Some medications such as antianxiety drugs, cholesterol-lowering medications, anti-seizure, antidepressants, high blood pressure drugs(beta-blockers), narcotic painkillers, and Parkinson’s drugs may cause memory loss.
- Elevated blood pressure may cause memory loss and fuzzy thinking
- High cholesterol is a great risk factor for stroke, which has been shown to impair memory
- Uncontrolled blood sugar levels in diabetes may increase the risk of experiencing cognitive issues
- Obesity, especially abdominal obesity, reduces blood supply to the brain causing metabolic disturbances that may eventually lead to memory loss
A clear memory is essential for your day-to-day activities and productivity. However, you may at some point experience some level of forgetfulness. And if there’s no underlying health condition, such memory loss can be considered normal. But still, it may not sit well with you.
The common causes of memory loss include depression, stress and anxiety, vitamin B12 deficiency, diabetes, alcohol, medication, obesity, underactive thyroid, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
The first and most effective step to combating memory loss is identifying and addressing the specific cause.
You can then proceed to promote your memory and brain function even further by maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding added sugar, getting enough sleep, limiting refined carbohydrates, building healthy relationships, engaging in regular exercise, and consuming foods rich in anti-inflammatory properties.
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