WHILE it may sometimes seem that a failing memory is an inevitable part of growing older, it’s actually easier than you might think to get your brain’s cogs ticking over more smoothly.
Here are 14 simple steps for keeping your memory in tip-top shape:
1. Get lots of sleep
A good night’s sleep is basically a wonder cure. It’s intrinsic for mental and physical health, and, if you haven’t had enough, it can affect the quality of the memories you store, and your ability to recall them the next day.
2. Drink lots of water
Are you getting your six glasses a day? The brain is 75% water so even if you’re only a little bit dehydrated, it will shrink. Stay topped up for optimum memory power.
3. Drink coffee
The caffeine in coffee is a great stimulant for sharpening your memory and general brain functions. If you don’t like coffee, try green tea instead, it contains the amino acid L-theanine which releases neurotransmitters that jumpstart recall and boost your capacity to learn.
Getting enough exercise will help combat everything from heart disease to diabetes and stroke, and of course, boosts memory. Go swimming, running, cycling —whatever best suits you, and your brain will thank you for it.
5. Listen to music
Apparently, listening to your favourite album uses both sides of your brain, which is unusual and hugely beneficial. Try classical to kick-start your brain power even further.
6. Learn a language
Getting your head (and tongue) around a brand new language is like putting your brain through a daily – and rigorous – obstacle course.
Giving your brain peace and quiet for 15 minutes or so, will keep stress at bay, put you in a good mood and increase your focus and attention span.
8. Do yoga
Combine meditation with yoga and you’ll be ticking all the boxes: exercise + increased oxygen intake + peaceful mind = one very happy brain.
9. Quit smoking
Puffing away increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and releases free radicals (unattached oxygen cells) which attack and kill brain cells. Step away from the nicotine!
You haven’t lost any of your memories really, they’re just tucked away inside your brain for safe keeping. The more you dredge them up, by talking and reminiscing with friends and family, the more you’ll reinforce neural pathways, making accessing memories easier.
Laughing has recently been found to tackle the stress hormone cortisol, which, left to its own devices, can cause damage to the brain. So, have a good giggle and beat age-related memory loss.
12. Eat berries
Scoff blueberries —they’re packed with everything from vitamin C and fibre, to manganese and numerous antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. In particular, they are a great source of anthocyanins which have been linked to improving memory and spatial learning.
13. Eat oily fish
Omega3 fatty acids can do wonders for your memory, so make sure to have at least one portion of oily fish (mackerel, salmon, tuna) a week.
14. Watch thrillers
US scientists have found our brains employ tunnel vision when focussing on a particularly tense moment during thrillers, and this has been suggested to enhance memory recall.
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