Dementia is one of the most dreaded diseases of aging, currently affecting over 5 million Americans. Severe forms of dementia can result in forgetting the names – and even faces – of loved ones.
But even if you don’t have dementia, you may still experience memory loss in daily life. Maybe it’s misplacing your keys all the time or forgetting an appointment, or even strongly trying to remember what you came to pick up in the room you’ve just entered.
Memory loss can be caused by a wide range of factors, ranging from genetics to diet to medications, among many others. But here’s the good news: You do not need to suffer from the displeasure of memory loss.
In this article, we look at five things you can do to improve your memory:
Believe it or not, what you eat significantly impacts your cognitive abilities. If that’s not the case, why else do you think doctors are strongly particular about the food a mother gives her baby?
But as we grow into adults, most of us change the way we eat for the worse – thanks to our fast-paced lives. From junk food to alcohol, we eat foods that decrease our brain capacity. A health study showed that the Standard American Diet (SAD) decreased learning ability and reduced performance in memory tests.
That’s why it’s important you watch what you eat. For starters, choose vegetables, legumes, eggs, fish, olive oil, nuts, and fruits. Avoid alcohol, sugar, red meat, packaged food, and do well to stop smoking. Eating healthily will also reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Engage in Physical Exercise
The importance of physical exercise cannot be overstated. Physical activity increases blood circulation around the body, including the brain. Improved circulation means that your brain cells get all the extra oxygen and nutrients it needs to function optimally.
What’s more, when you exercise, you release higher levels of dopamine in your brain. Asides from helping to improve your mood, dopamine also improves memory and focus.
Here’s the good thing: You do not need to spend hours in the gym to benefit from exercise. Simple exercises like walking, jogging, and cycling helps promote nerve cell maturation and overall brain efficiency. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.
Challenge Your Brain
Remember the old saying: use it or lose it? The same applies to memory and cognitive abilities. If you don’t sufficiently challenge your brain, it eventually begins to deteriorate. That’s why challenging your brain is a lifelong activity.
There are several ways you can challenge your brain. Some examples include:
Learn something new
Studies have shown that learning a new skill increases the density of myelin (or white matter) in the brain, which helps to improve overall cognitive functions such as attention to detail, concentration, problem-solving, and memory recall. It also reduces your chance of developing dementia.
Leaning a new language, a musical instrument, or any other skill will do the trick. Even reading wide and volunteering provides you with ways to challenge your brain.
Play brain games
If you’re looking to challenge your brain in a fun way, brain games are perfect for you. Popular brain games include chess, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, and sudoku. Spending just 15 minutes a day on brain games can help improve concentration and cognitive skills.
Stay Socially Engaged
Humans are a social species. In fact, we are one of the most social species of all mammals. Hence, we need to interact with other humans to maintain our sanity constantly. That’s precisely why solitary confinement is a severe form of punishment. What’s more, studies have shown that those with a strong social network are less likely to develop dementia.
Preserving healthy relationships helps you feel cared for and understood. This, in turn, causes your brain to release oxytocin, which helps counteract the debilitating effects of stress on mental health.
That’s why you need to interact with others. Talk with others. Join groups. Get involved in organizations, clubs, or religious organizations. Get a pet (if you’re a pet lover). In summary, ensure that you keep your social engagement alive.
Get Enough Sleep
Unfortunately, many people downplay the importance of sleep. Yes, we lead busy lives. But that’s no excuse for depriving your body and mind of the nourishing and refreshing benefit of sleep.
You see, poor sleep adversely affects mood while increasing anxiety disorders. Lack of sleep is also linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes, among many others.
That’s why it’s important to get anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Good sleep is not a luxury! It’s a requirement for a healthy life!
We know health-related issues can be nuanced and overwhelming, but we are here to help. Reach out to us HERE today for more information. We are looking forward to hearing from you!