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7 tips to help boost your memory at any age

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Gingko biloba, also known as the ‘fountain of youth’ herb is used in China due to its memory-enhancing properties. [Photo: naturopathy-uk.com]

Can’t find your car keys? Forgot your grocery list? Can’t remember the name of the medicine your doctor prescribed you? You’re not alone.

Everyone has moments of forgetfulness from time to time, especially in today’s fast-paced world. While this can be a completely normal occurrence, having a poor memory can be frustrating and should not be taken lightly.

Although there is no direct method to prevent memory loss and dementia, some lifestyle changes can be of great help.

These 7 simple steps are some of the most effective ways of sharpening memory.

1. Be physically active:

Exercise, weather intense or light, is excellent for overall physical and mental health.

As much as a consistent excercise plan keeps your body in shape, it has proven to be a boon for brain health as well. Working out boosts blood circulation to the brain and increases the size of the hippocampus. This is critical because the hippocampus is the complex brain structure which plays a starring role in learning and memory. As you age, it tends to shrink, leading to a gradual decline in memory. Luckily, regular workouts may help improve and preserve your memory.

2. Be mentally active:

Just like physical activity keeps your body in shape, activities that engage your mind helps to keep your brain in shape. And these activities might help prevent memory loss to a certain degree. Do crossword puzzles; read your favourite book; play games; learn to play a musical instrument; learn a new language or sport.

3. Stay social:

Relationships play an important role in emotional and brain health. Not only is catching up with friends and loved ones great for your mental and emotional well-being, but It also supports better cognition. Human interaction itself is an essential brain exercise. Meet your friends and try a new hobby that you’ve always wanted to learn, volunteer for a worthy cause, join a club or take a class to improve your memory and mood.

4. Practice mindfulness:

Our brains are often overstimulated, so it’s important to step back and do something that relaxes your mind. Mindfulness is a form of meditation. It allows you to be fully present in the moment by focusing on your internal thoughts and feelings and your external surroundings. There are many ways you can add mindfulness to your wellness routine. You can try journaling, breathing exercises or mind-body practices.

Mindfulness isn’t just a stress relief technique. It also contributes to sharpening your focus and working memory by relieving stress, slowing down brain aging and increasing its processing power. One study found that people who meditate often tend to have a larger hippocampus- the part of the brain that helps keep your memory intact.

5. Sleep well:

Sleep helps your brain function properly. It is critical for learning and memory. While at rest, your brain keeps on working to store new information you’ve learned in the form of long-term memories. So the more you sleep, the greater your ability to retain information.

Generally, adults need 7 to 9 hours of nightly sleep for higher energy levels and optimal functioning during the day. Studies have shown that too much sleep may be just as harmful to your brain as too little sleep. And sleep quality matters as much as it’s quantity. Poor sleep quality causes cognitive decline over time. So, practice good sleep hygiene and aim for an undisturbed night of restful sleep.

6. Eat a healthy diet:

One very important aspect of brain health and function is our daily diet. There is in-fact a direct relationship between the foods we eat and the functioning of our brains. Right and healthy nutrition can benefit the brain in several positive ways.

A healthy diet increases neurogenesis or the formation of new neurons in the hippocampus (part of the brain that regulates memory and learning). This increased neurogenesis in the hippocampus can improve our learning, mood, memory, attention, mental and physical health.

So cut back on sugar, fried foods and foods with a lot of preservatives, and increase your water intake. Try to maintain a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, fish, healthier fats and herbs or seeds that provide brain-boosting memory function.

7. Drink more water:

Water is essential for your health. All cells in your body need ample amount of water to function properly. As much as dehydration impacts your ability to think clearly, it can also make it very easy to forget things. Being even slightly dehydrated can disrupt normal brain functioning, affecting things like focus and short-term memory. That’s why it’s so important to stay hydrated at all times.

Drinking water improves brain health by simply increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain. So try drinking 7-8 glasses of water daily if you fear losing your keys again!


Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation. 

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