17 Science-Backed Ways How to Improve Memory

17 Science-Backed Ways How to Improve Memory

Mind Your Zen / Health  / 17 Science-Backed Ways How to Improve Memory

17 Science-Backed Ways How to Improve Memory

Highly Effective Tips Guaranteed to Improve Memory

Many people believe memory loss is unavoidable as they go through life. Fortunately, there are many things that can be done to enhance memory and cognitive function at any age. These steps include lifestyle changes, the use of supplements, and even learning a new language or taking up a hobby. Below are some fool-proof tips to improve memory and protect the brain from the effects of aging.

1. Hydrate the Human Brain With its Favorite Beverage

It is not merely what a person eats that affects his or her memory, but also what he or she drinks and how often. The human brain is approximately 75 percent water and even a two percent decrease in this amount can diminish memory and other cognitive skills. Measurable brain shrinkage is caused by even mild dehydration and this significantly interferes with short-term memory. There is no one-size-fits-all rule for water consumption. Rather, one should divide his or her weight in pounds by half and drink that many ounces of water on a daily basis.

2. Avoid Sugar and Enjoy a Better Memory

The average American consumes over 150 pounds of sugar each year, even though it is one of the worst substances for memory and brain health.

The Hidden Dangers of Sugar

Many people are afraid of developing diabetes from eating too much sugar, but sugar is also linked to depression, learning disorders and poor memory formation. Chronically high levels of sugar in one’s blood can lead to repressed activity in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. The latter is the section of the human brain that is most strongly associated with memory. Studies also show that sugar may be a primary culprit in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders that have extremely negative effects on memory. Therefore, it is wise for essentially anyone to avoid excessive use of this substance.

3. Achieve Memory Enhancement Through Meditation

The average individual experiences a continuous flow of thoughts during every waking moment. Experts state that most people have approximately 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts each day. For this reason, meditation may not sound like much of a mental exercise, but slowing down perpetual thinking can improve memory and make it easier to recall a broad range of facts and details stored in one’s mind.

Extensive Research Proves Meditation Boosts Awareness, Memory and Focus

Scientists at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro-imaging refer to meditation as “push-ups for the mind.” Additionally, the health benefits of meditation have been published in over 1000 different studies.

The following are among the proven mental benefits of regular meditation:

• Better performance at work
• Increased attention and focus
• Mood enhancement
• Stress reduction
• Memory improvement

Brain Growth for a Better Memory

A part of the brain called the hippocampus is largely responsible for the storage of memories. It is a proven fact that meditation helps to expand this part of the brain, and therefore has a positive effect on memory.

4. Learn a Second Language to Enhance Memory

Learning a new language or even simply becoming familiar with an unknown dialect is an excellent way to prevent memory loss and improve one’s current memory. Although few individuals actively seek out learning a new language for the purpose of memory enhancement, it has been proven to boost brainpower in essentially anyone, even those who are not scholarly.

Keeping the mind sharp and protecting memory through learning a new language is also one of the few things a person can do that has a double benefit: not only does it sharpen the mind and increase one’s memorization skills, it is a fun and interesting activity that will benefit the person throughout his or her life.

5. Protect Against Memory Loss By Participating in a Hobby

Most people would not be surprised that computer coding or playing chess gives the brain an ideal workout. However, those who are not fans of games with a high degree of difficulty or who are not technologically inclined can still significantly protect their memory by taking up a new hobby.

Hobbies of All Kinds Ward off Premature Aging

Virtually all types of hobbies, the latter of which are referred to as “purposeful activities” by researchers, protect the brain from aging, ward off depression, and improve memory. Additionally, such activities do not have to be the kind that requires intensive thinking or problem-solving skills. Below are some hobbies that are relatively easy, but still ultimately able to help enhance memory on a long-term basis:

• Woodworking
• Sewing
• Drawing
• Quilting
• Knitting
• Sketching
• Gardening
• Photography
• Ceramics classes

6. How Food Can Boost Memory

Although certain individuals may be somewhat skeptical when told that eating specific foods can improve their memory, this is a scientific fact.

A Tasty Solution to Memory Loss

Adding specific foods to one’s diet is a simple fix for many types of memory loss: the source of the aforementioned benefits is a broad range of nutrients that are found in specific foods. Researchers have discovered that these foods can do the following:

• Protect brain cells from damage and aging
• Support brain cells’ structural components
• Boost the production of precursors to essential brain chemicals
• Strengthened memory by enhancing blood flow to the brain

The nutrients in specific foods that result in the benefits outlined above include vitamins, minerals, probiotics, essential enzymes, healthy fats and amino acids. Foods that people should add to their diet if they want to improve their memory include those outlined below:

  1. Walnuts
  2. Cold water, fatty fish
  3. Sea vegetables
  4. Avocado
  5. All types of berries
  6. Turmeric
  7. Dark chocolate
  8. Green leafy vegetables
  9. EggsCoconut oil
  10. Olive oil
  11. Why Music is the Best Brain Medicine

Most people would agree that it is rarely a matter of whether or not one likes music, as much as it is the type of music he or she prefers. Essentially all people enjoy some genre of music, which is a wonderful thing when one considers the fact that listening to music helps people develop a more efficient memory, as well as a higher IQ.

Music Works Out the Entire Brain

There are not many activities that simultaneously engage both sides of the human brain. However, music is one such activity. Passive listening encourages individuals to tag events, people, places and even names to particular songs. Mental development is stronger among those who listen to music on a regular basis when compared with those who only play music occasionally. Learning to play an instrument is even better than passive listening, even if the person never reaches a high level of skill with the instrument of his or her choice. Similar to taking up a hobby, regardless of the person’s specific skill level, his or her memory will benefit from the effort.

8. Using Sleep to Wake up a Sluggish Memory

Almost everyone knows that experts recommend adults get eight hours of quality sleep. Because sleep is critical for mental well-being and physical health, insomnia can result in a host of medical problems. However, most individuals are unaware of the fact that a faulty memory is a classic symptom of sleep deprivation.

Memories are Consolidated During Sleep

The reason insomnia can result in a poor memory is because memories are consolidated while one is sleeping. During this time, the body repairs the brain by washing out toxic debris and organizing memories from the previous day. This is why lack of quality sleep can negatively affect memory, judgment, creativity, and focus. Researchers at the Pennsylvania State Hershey Sleep Center have discovered that losing even one night’s sleep can negatively affect a person’s mental performance as much as getting drunk or dealing with a hangover.

9. Smoking Harms Human Memory Banks

Almost everyone knows that smoking is bad for their health in many ways. However, there are probably not many individuals who realize that every drag on a cigarette allows millions of free radicals to kill or damage brain cells. This leads to loss of memory and in some cases, early onset of old-age dementia.

Sobering Statistics About Smoking and Alzheimer’s Disease

In one study there was evidence to suggest that smoking more than two packs of cigarettes on a daily basis increases the risk of early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by over 150 percent. This essentially means that certain individuals will develop Alzheimer’s disease for no other reason except the fact that they smoke cigarettes. Interestingly, even young smokers have significantly poorer memories than their non-smoking counterparts.

10. Proper Breathing Improves Memory, Cognitive Function and the Ability to Learn

Anyone who has ever watched a pet or baby during a snooze has probably noticed that it is not the child or the pet’s chest that rises and falls, but rather his or her stomach. This is because they are breathing as all living things were meant to breathe; from the diaphragm.

Stress Changes Breathing Patterns

Unfortunately, the level of stress associated with today’s modern lifestyle has most individuals breathing in a shallow manner from the chest, rather than from the diaphragm, as mentioned above. Shallow breathing, also called chest breathing, limits the amount of oxygen that brain cells can absorb, and this has an extremely negative effect on memory.

Making the Switch to Diaphragmatic Breathing

Twenty percent of a person’s total oxygen intake goes to the brain, and each cell can only live several minutes without oxygen. Diaphragmatic breathing, also called belly breathing, maximizes oxygen intake and therefore enhances memory and increases mental function. Breathing from the diaphragm is not difficult, one must simply take a deep breath until he or she feels expansion in the area of the abdomen. This means that oxygen is going deep into the body and more of it is reaching the brain. Studies show that over the period of a decade, belly breathing can improve memory by as much as 50 percent.

11. Why Some People Take Their Brain for a Walk

Although it may sound too simple to be beneficial, taking a walk and better thinking go hand-in-hand. Since the time of the ancient Greek philosophers, the link between increased cognitive function and walking has been acknowledged.

Scientific Evidence to Support Centuries-Old Philosophies

It is now a proven fact that walking not only builds a sharper and bigger brain, it clears the mind of “mental clutter,” thus promoting connectivity among brain cells. Most importantly, it increases the flow of oxygen to the brain and offsets brain shrinkage by encouraging the growth of new cells. Brain shrinkage is one of the primary culprit associated with memory loss. One or two 10-15 minute walks on a daily basis increases hippocampus volume, and subsequently improves memory.

12. Spending Quality Time With Friends

Many people are interested to discover that those with the slowest rate of memory decline are also the people with the most active social lives. Measurable memory improvement occurs when individuals spend as little as ten minutes of time conversing with friends.

Laughter Truly is the Best Medicine

When friends get together and enjoy a significant amount of laughter, it may boost memory even further. This is because laughter suppresses cortisol, the latter of which is a stress hormone. Cortisol affects the brain in many negative ways and has a bad effect on memory.

However, it is important to understand that socializing should be done in person in order to achieve the aforementioned benefits. “Chatting” on social media or spending time on Internet forums do not produce the same positive results as face-to-face interaction.

13. Shun GPS in Lieu of Critical Thinking Skills

Technology can be a wonderful thing, but not if it results in the human brain getting less and less stimulation. For example, on a routine commute, most brains are on “autopilot,” and therefore critical thinking is not in the mix.

Take a Road Less Travel to Improve Memory

Using an unfamiliar route to go from one place to the next activates the brain’s hippocampus and cortex, which are largely responsible for memory. However, it is important for one to understand that if he or she chooses this exercise, GPS will simply invalidate the positive results. This is because the use of this technology makes individuals mentally lazy and destroys critical mental skills that mankind has taken centuries to develop. For this reason, taking an alternate route and using information already stored in the brain to figure out where to go next is an excellent way to exercise the mind and improve memory.

14. Use Proven Memory Supplements

For some individuals, quality memory supplements go along way toward preventing cognitive decline and enhancing their ability to recall important facts and episodes from the past. Memory supplements are a major business, and some products of this type are effective, while others are not.

What to Look for in a Quality Memory Supplement

When selecting a memory supplement, it is important to shop for one that includes therapeutically effective amounts of one or more proven memory enhancers in its formula. The essential ingredients listed below are all clinically proven to have a positive effect on memory:

• Vinpocetine
• Velvet bean
• Arctic root–Rhodiola Rosea
• Magnesium threonate
Huperzine A
• Panax Ginseng
Ginkgo biloba
• Curcumin
• Bacopa–Bacopa monnieri
• Citicoline
• Alpha-glycerophosphocholine–Alpha GPC
• Acetyl-l-carnitine–ALCAR

15. Sensible Use of Caffeine Can Boost Memory and Alertness

Not surprisingly, caffeine is one of the most popular mind-altering substances in the world. Individuals use it to upgrade their productivity, focus, mood, and memory. Although in certain amounts it is helpful, drinking too much coffee can lead to anxiousness, insomnia, irritability, and even caffeine addiction. For this reason, people should limit coffee consumption to one to three cups per day before 2 PM in order to enjoy great benefits without negative side effects.

16. Boost Memory and Cognitive Function with Essential Oils

Essential oils are manufactured from plants. The process involves extracting their naturally occurring volatile compounds to create a finished product in the form of oil. These oils are not ingested, but rather applied topically or inhaled. There are several that have been proven to offer an instant memory boost, such as the following:

• Peppermint
• Rosemary
• Orange
• Sandalwood
• Anise

17. Maintain a Healthy Weight and Enhance Memory

There is a strong link between memory loss and obesity. Upon examination, overweight individuals have less brain matter and during autopsies, their brains appear years older than the brains of individuals who have maintained a healthy weight.

Facts About Obesity, Memory and Cognitive Decline

The more overweight a person is, the more brain shrinkage he or she will experience throughout life. This results in a host of negative side effects, such as cognitive decline, inability to focus, and significant memory loss that increases at a rapid pace until old age.

For this reason, overweight individuals suffering from memory loss that is not due to an underlying health disorder should allow this unfortunate side effect of obesity to motivate them to make healthy lifestyle changes and shed excess weight.

Practically everyone wants a good memory. Fortunately, by following the tips outlined above, an enhanced memory is well within reach. As always, contact a doctor for a proper evaluation if memory loss becomes a serious issue.


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