As we reach midlife, most of us begin to have a little trouble remembering things. Generally it is the little things that get us, like names, where we've set down the car keys, or what that third item was on the list we had in our heads on the way to the store. It is called age-related memory loss, and everyone will see its effects to some degree. However, we can, to some extent, lessen it with some rather simple lifestyle changes. Here are some tips on how to improve memory that can help you keep age-related memory loss at bay.
Feed Your Brain
Good nutrition is vital to brain health, so making sure you eat a balanced diet is a great place to start feeding your brain. However, taking healthy eating one step further by adding specific, brain-healthy nutrients to your diet can be even more beneficial to improving memory. Here are some of the most important nutrients for brain health, along with the foods you will need to add to your diet.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids – Rich sources of omega 3s include fatty fish, like salmon, tuna and mackerel, flaxseed oil, chia seeds and walnuts.
Choline – Richest sources are liver, meats, seafood and egg yolks.
Antioxidants – Cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, kidney beans, pinto beans, artichokes, prunes and apples are all very high in antioxidants.
B-Complex Vitamins – B-12, B-6 and folate are the essential B-vitamins for brain health. B-12 is found in meat, poultry, seafood, liver dairy products and eggs, rich sources of B-6 include spinach, turnip greens and bell peppers, and spinach, broccoli, parsley, beets, asparagus, and lentils are excellent sources of folate.
Magnesium – You'll find lots of this essential mineral in dark, leafy greens, like spinach and turnip greens, in nuts, including Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews and peanuts, and in seeds, especially sesame and pumpkin seeds.
Iron – Iron rich foods include seafood, liver, spinach, whole grains and beans.
Exercise Your Body
When you're considering ways for getting better memory, physical activity probably is not the first thing to come to mind. However, exercise has been proven to do good things for the brain, including increasing production of neurons in the brain, including its memory center, and helping them live longer. It also increases blood flow to the brain and triggers production of brain chemicals that increase alertness, reduce stress and improve mood.
Exercise Your Mind
Just how does one exercise their mind? By trying new things, learning new skills and staying socially active. Taking a class on a subject that is new and different can help, as can trying new recipes, play games that involve strategy and problem solving – anything that changes your daily routine and stimulates your mind.
Stress has been proven to have detrimental effects on the body, the brain and most definitely on memory. If you are dealing with a lot of daily stress – and who isn't – spending some time learning stress reduction techniques, meditation for instance, can help reduce age-related memory loss.
Improve Your Sleep Habits
Last, but certainly not least in terms of how to improve memory is sleep. Deep, restful sleep is essential to brain health, since your brain does its housekeeping and repair during your sleeping hours, clearing out waste products, repairing damaged cells and manufacturing new neurons to maintain efficient brain function. So if you are not getting your eight hours, changing your life to do so is important to improving memory. If a sleep disorder is at the root of the problem, get treatment.