One scary thing that people notice as they get older is their memory starts to fade. As you age, bouts of forgetfulness can become more common, especially when exacerbated by the stresses of working a job and taking care of a family and home. Your genetics can also play a part, which might lead you to wonder what you can actually do to improve your memory.
According to researchers, diet and exercise can play an important role in helping to prevent memory loss as you age. Here are some natural ways to improve your memory.
Take a Vitamin D Supplement
Low levels of vitamin D can have a negative impact on your cognitive abilities. To keep this from happening, you should get tested for a vitamin D deficiency when you go to the doctor. If your vitamin D level is low, then your doctor can prescribe a vitamin D supplement that should raise your levels back to normal.
Reduce the Amount of Alcohol You Drink
Consuming too much alcohol can also have a detrimental effect on your brain function, especially if you binge drink. To avoid damaging your memory with alcohol, limit your consumption to no more than two drinks on any given day.
Eat Food High in Antioxidants
Foods high in antioxidants help to reduce inflammation in the brain, a leading contributor to memory loss. Free radicals, which can cause inflammation are brought about in part by high levels of stress, as well as by processed foods or those high in fats and oils. Foods such as berries contain flavonoids, great for reducing free radicals in the brain, plus they taste great.
Get the Proper Amount of Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can cause you to have memory problems. Studies show that people who fail to get the proper amount of sleep perform worse on tests and make mathematical errors more often. To avoid this, get between seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Get More Exercise
Another great way to improve your memory is to get plenty of exercise. Exercising moderately for just 15 minutes leads to a marked improvement in cognitive function, regardless of age, according to multiple studies. Examples of moderate exercise include brisk walking, mowing the grass, or swimming.
Using relaxation techniques and meditation can increase the amount of grey matter in the brain, which can increase cognitive function. Studies show that meditating and engaging in relaxation techniques on a daily basis improves short-term memory in a variety of age groups, from people in their 20s to the elderly.
Cut Your Carbs
You can also cut your daily intake of carbohydrates to improve your memory. Foods high in refined carbs, such as cake, cereal, and white rice can increase blood sugar levels in the body. Studies show that eating such foods can weaken both short-term and working memory.
Eat Less Sugar
Eating a diet laden with sugar can negatively affect your memory. Not only does sugar reduce brain volume, it also has a negative impact on short-term memory. This is especially true in individuals who have a high daily intake of sugary beverages, such as soda.
Play Brain Games
Individuals who participated in 15 minutes of online brain-training programs for at least five days out of the week had better short-term and working memory. They also were able to concentrate and problem-solve better than those who didn’t participate in such programs.
Take Fish Oil Supplements
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Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a great antioxidant that can cut the amount of free radicals in the brain. You can find fish oil in supplement form at your local pharmacy. Fish oil also reduces inflammation in the brain, a leading contributor to a decline in memory.