We can all be forgetful at times. Misplacing your keys or forgetting the name of a person you just met have happened to the best of us and are normal occurrences from time to time.
More serious memory loss is something that happens naturally with age. Genetics can also play a role, especially when it comes to serious diseases like Alzheimer’s. Lifestyle can also play an important role in memory function.
Poor memory can be frustrating, but incorporating healthy choices in your daily routine can help to improve and prevent it.
1. Make Changes To Your Diet
While there is no single “super-food” that will magically prevent memory loss, following certain guidelines similar to those used to protect our hearts can have a lasting impact. Consuming a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is recommended. When it comes to protein, reach for fish and plant-based sources like legumes. Choose healthy fats like olive oil or avocados and avoid added sugars, highly processed foods and trans/saturated fats.
Foods that are proven to improve brain function are usually high in omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and antioxidants. Including more of the following into your diet can prove beneficial:
- Leafy greens
- Fatty Fish
2. Omega-3 Supplements
There are 3 types of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA, DHA and ALA. DHA and EPA are particularly important for cognitive function and are primarily found in fatty fish like salmon.
Fish oil supplements are a great way to ensure that you are getting your omega-3 needs met. Vegan omega-3 supplements are also available for those who eat a plant-based diet.
Exercise is essential to maintaining a healthy body weight and reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Physical activity has also been shown to positively affect brain health.
Exercise has a beneficial effect on the chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells and the growth of blood vessels in the brain.
Physical activity also improves mood and sleep, two factors that play a role in our memory and brain function.
4. Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep deprivation can leave us feeling groggy and out of it. Even after we finally catch-up on sleep, we often struggle to recall details on those days where we weren’t well rested.
Our memory consolidation, the process in which short-term memories are stored and transformed into long-lasting memories, is directly affected by how much sleep we get.
It is recommended adults get between seven to nine hours a night for optimal health.
5. Reduce Alcohol Intake
It’s no secret that a night out drinking can leave you feeling foggy on the details the next morning. However, excessive alcohol intake can have long-term effects on our memory.
Alcohol causes neurotoxicity in the brain. Repeated binge-drinking episodes inflict damage to the hippocampus, the part of our brain that controls our memory function.
It’s perfectly healthy to have a drink or two every now and then, but remember not to over-do it.
While age and genetics play a significant role in how strong our memory is, there are still ways you can prevent memory loss. Eating healthy foods, getting enough exercise, taking omega-3 supplements, getting plenty of sleep and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption are five lifestyle changes you can incorporate to help improve your memory.