8 Tips To Improve Memory

Memory is the ability of the brain to store, retain, and subsequently recall information. Occasional lapses in memory is alright, simply a sign that the person is a bit too busy or preoccupied. While, a consistently poor memory has to be given attention to check for cognitive function decline.

We can’t do much to unmodifiable factors such as genetics, age and medical conditions that affect the brain. However, modifiable factors on diet and lifestyle can be done! While not all memory loss is preventable, here are some techniques to try to help improve your memory!

 

#1 Not depending on brain health supplements, eat more wholegrain, have more fruits and vegetables instead

At this point of them, there is not much significant evidence, on isolated vitamins or minerals on brain health.

 

Studies have shown a positive improvement in cognitive decline with higher intake of fish, but not from taking omega-3 or fish oil supplements.

Vitamin E supplements on the other hand, when taken in high dose do not prevent disease or reduce symptoms of dementia, but may increase risk of hemorrhagic stroke instead.

 

B vitamins, especially B6, B9 and B12, are often associated with brain health, as they help to break down homocysteine, where a build up of high levels increase risk of neurogenerative disease. B vitamins also help in new brain cells development. You may only need Vitamin B in the form of supplements if you are proven to have Vitamin B deficiency, otherwise the supplementation do not have clear benefit for brain health, as you can easily get sufficient amount of vitamin B through diet rich in wholegrains, and legumes.

 

In a large clinical trial, Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) study, people with mild or normal cognitive impairment were given 120mg of ginkgo or placebo twice a day for almost 6 years, results found that ginkgo biloba did not lower the overall rate of developing dementia and a strong evidence shows that it does not prevent memory decline.

 

Looking at natural help, researchers found that people who consumed the most daily servings of vegetables and fruit (six or more servings per day) were less likely to develop poor thinking skills than the ones who consumed least (two or less servings).

 

It was thought that the naturally occurring antioxidants and bioactive plant substances, such as vitamins A, B, C, and E, carotenoids; flavonoids; and polyphenols found in fruit and vegetables may help reduce brain oxidative stress, and may prevent age-related brain function decline like memory loss.

 

 #2 Brain Training

15 minutes of brain training activities that challenges person’s ability to recall details and quickly memorise patterns for at least 5 days a week had improvements in brain function. The participants' working memory, short term memory, and problem-solving skills all significantly improved when researchers compared them to a control group doing crossword puzzles.

 

Engaging in brain games, such as crosswords, chess, and bridge, as well as creative outlets like painting, playing an instrument, or learning a language, have not been proven to protect against memory loss, but may help with everyday thinking skills. Staying busy and active with schedules may also be a mental stimulation, which leads to intellectual growth.

 

#3 Exercise

After a single bout of exercise, even a short moderate-intensity one, shows to increase brain activity and improves memory. And the greater the intensity, the greater the improvements. There will be more brain boost if you go for a higher intensity activity compared to when

continuing to exercise at a lower and same intensity. Aim to

gradually progress to achieving 70- 80% of your maximum

heart rate.

 

An interesting fact, is that those who exercised 4 hours after

learning session are found to be able to retain information better

than those who exercised immediately after lessons, and those

who did no exercise at all. It is not tested if another time frame

might produce similar effect. It is could be due to in the process of converting newly learned information into long-term memory in brain,  it requires certain brain chemicals that are released more during exercise such as dopamine.

 

#4 Meditation

Many studies show meditation improves brain function by reducing markers of brain degeneration, and improves both working memory and long term memory. A habit of meditation may increase brain plasticity, which is the ability to change and adapt itself, in response to learning and experiences, which helps keep brain healthy.

 

#5 Sleep

When people don't get enough sleep and have disrupted natural sleep cycle, memory creation processes in brain, attention and concentration abilities will decline. Reaction time lengthens, people also become less attentive, and have slow responses to environmental signals, leading to reduced absorption of new information and poorer reaction to dangerous situations.

 

#6 Repeating aloud

Repetition aloud, in a quiet environment, increases the likelihood you'll record the information. With each repetition, your brain has another opportunity to process and store the information.

 

#7 Drawing

It was found that, drawing is a method to help retain new information,

more effective than re-writing notes, visualization exercises or passively

looking at images, even if people weren't good at drawing. Better

retention of information was shown when people used drawing rather

than writing to encode the new information, and this effect was

especially evident among older adults.

 

#8 Do not overlook importance of hearing aids for elderly

Hearing loss can affect cognitive abilities because understanding speech requires a complexed processing in the brain. Among the many adults ages 65 and older who have some level of hearing loss, not all of them wear the hearing aids. On average, it takes people 10 years from the time the first symptoms of hearing loss appear, until the time when they seek treatment after it had turn severe, hearing loss may have already casted a big impact on the cognitive performance over the years.

 

(updated : December, 2019)

Disclaimer : The website may contain information relating to various conditions and treatment, gathered and sourced from reputable sources. However, this is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, it is solely intended for informational purposes only. Patients should always consult with a doctor or healthcare provider for thorough medical advice and information about diagnosis and treatment.

 

Reference:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181206114724.htm

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326068.php

https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/improving-memory

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/eating-more-fruits-and-vegetables-may-help-men-with-memory-loss

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/dont-buy-into-brain-health-supplements

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