Foods, Tips, and Supplements
It is not uncommon to misplace your keys, or forget the name of that colleague, or even miss a dental appointment. When you have a lot going on in your life, it is understandable that your memory may lapse, and things get forgotten.
Absentmindedness is one thing, but memory loss is something we all fear, and it happens as we age. Luckily, there are some natural options out there you can employ to improve your memory and ward off cognitive decline.
Some memory loss does not mean that you will develop Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, but it can be frustrating. Genetics plays a part in memory loss, but it is not the only influencing factor.
You can make certain lifestyle and dietary changes as well as try natural supplements to help improve your memory and prevent the development of dementia. The best part is that these are completely natural methods and no medication is required.
Better Food, Better Mind
1. Try turmeric: More than just spice, turmeric provides a host of health benefits. The key compound, curcumin, is a strong anti-inflammatory agent and an antioxidant.
This means it protects your brain and improves your memory from multiple angles. By removing harmful free radicals and preventing inflammatory damage, turmeric supplements can prevent cognitive decline and boost your memory.
Studies have even found that by reducing oxidative damage, turmeric lowers the likelihood of amyloid plaque development, which is a key contributor to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Reducing your sugar intake: The typical Western diet contains a lot of sugar. Sauces, salad dressings, sodas, energy drinks, and processed foods are all high in sugar, which increases your risk of memory loss.
Studies have shown that a high-sugar diet is linked to a reduction in brain volume, specifically in the area related to short-term memory. Because sugar is also related to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, lowering your intake can improve mind and body.
3. Limit your alcohol: A glass of wine every night can have some minor health benefits but drinking the entire bottle will definitely cause some harm. A heavy night of drinking leads to memory lapses, so imagine the effect alcohol has on your brain when consumed heavily over time.
Alcohol has neurotoxic effects on your brain and binge or heavy drinking leads to memory loss. The section of the brain important for memory development, the hippocampus, is damaged with excessive alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol is fine so long as moderation is maintained.
4. Cut out refined carbohydrates: Right up there with sugars are refined carbs. These include your cereals, cakes, cookies, and even white bread. They may look and taste good, but the effects on your brain are bad.
With their high glycemic index, these foods cause blood sugar spikes that are linked to reduced cognitive function. Research has shown that starting your day with ready-made cereal results in poorer concentration and decreased working memory performance throughout the day.
5. Get enough vitamin D: Whether you soak it up through the sun or take supplements, vitamin D will help take care of your memory. Low levels of vitamin D in the blood have been linked to increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline.
6. Eat more antioxidant-rich foods: Antioxidants scavenge free radicals which damage tissues and cells. Oxidative damage can impair brain function, and it also causes inflammation, which can lead to memory decline.
Higher consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants, is linked to lower risk for dementia.
7. Increase your omega-3s: Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly found in fish oil, and you can easily up your intake by eating more fresh fish or buying a supplement.
Omega-3s are powerful anti-inflammatory agents and protect your brain from cognitive decline. Short term and working memory improves with regular administration of fish oil supplements.
8. Eat more chocolate: With powerful antioxidants known as flavonoids, cocoa helps to stimulate blood vessel and neuron growth and increases blood flow to your brain.
To get the most benefits from chocolate, make sure you buy dark varieties with at least 70% cacao. The higher the cacao the more flavonoids and increased brain protection.
Living a Brain Healthy Life
Once you have the dietary changes in place, the next step to improving your memory is to make necessary lifestyle changes.
9. Maintain a healthy weight and stay active: By cutting out refined carbs, sugars, and alcohol, your new diet will promote weight loss. A healthy body weight is important to keeping both your body and mind in optimal shape.
Obesity has been linked to cognitive decline as it changes the memory-associated genes in your brain. Being overweight is also linked to increased insulin resistance which triggers inflammation.
Dietary changes combined with regular exercise will help maintain a healthy weight. As little as 15 minutes a day of moderate exercise boosts cognitive performance and memory, showing that exercise is good for both physical and mental health.
10. Get the sleep you need: The recommended amount of sleep is between 7 and 9 hours per night. Without proper sleep, you put your brain at risk.
Sleep is essential for recharging and allows your brain a chance to consolidate and process information from the day. Regular sleep deprivation results in impaired memory and poor cognitive performance, so for optimal brain health, make sure you catch those Z’s.
11. Train your brain: Your brain is a complex organ that requires stimulation. Playing cognitive games that are dedicated to boosting memory is a great way to prevent cognitive decline.
In several studies, regular practice of brain teasers and puzzles resulted in improved memory performance in individuals with mild-cognitive impairment. Even if signs of memory loss are starting to show, grabbing a crossword puzzle can help reverse the problem in no time.
12. Meditate: Anxiety is a part of life because we all come under stress during a normal day. Stress causes inflammation, which impairs brain performance.
Spatial memory is the ability to hold and process information effectively, and regular meditation boosts this form of memory by ensuring stress is out of the picture. Meditation has also been shown to increase gray matter in your brain.
13. Be mindful: Similar to meditation, mindfulness is training your brain to focus on the present. Not a formal practice like meditation, this is a mental state you practice, and it can be used anytime, anywhere.
Mindfulness reduces stress and improves concentration and memory as well as overall mental well-being.
The Bottom Line
Your brain has a lot of responsibility, so it needs a lot of care. With the right diet and lifestyle choices, you can boost brain health, improve memory, and ward off dementia.
Supplemental support is an additional way to give your brain the daily boost it needs, and, ultimately, living a brain-healthy life will help make sure that your memory sticks around as long as you do.