Thanks to numerous scientific advancements in recent years, we are beginning to learn that improving one’s memory and keeping it in tip-top shape is not just limited to the young.
With the right lifestyle choices, you too improve your memory no matter what age you are. Here are some key habits to take if you want to improve your memory.
Consume brain-healthy foods
There are certain foods that help strengthen your memory and protect it against aging and damage. When eaten consistently, these foods can help preserve your mental faculties as you get older.
- Chia seeds, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds
- All kinds of berries
- Fermented foods
- Leafy greens
- Olive oil and coconut oil
If you notice, most of the items on this list are real foods containing a good amount of healthy fats, antioxidants, and probiotics. Essential fatty acids are building blocks to your brain while antioxidants help fight free radicals that contribute to cognitive decline. Probiotics also help take care of your second brain, your gut, which in turn enhances your main brain’s function.
Eat oily fish
Oily fish is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids which helps feed a part of your brain responsible for memory. Studies have shown that people with low DHA levels have a structurally smaller brain; the DHA in omega-3 can help with age-related changes in the brain and optimizes your memory and learning performance.
Stay away from unhealthy trans fats
Trans fats are dangerous fats found in most of today’s processed foods. It’s also responsible for many diseases including diabetes, obesity, and cancer. Not to mention, it harms your brain by causing inflammation resulting in your cell membranes getting compromised. If you’d like to hold on to your memories for longer, do yourself a favor and stay away from processed foods, snacks, and fast food. They are so dangerous that they’re even banned in some countries.
Watch out for MSG (monosodium glutamate)
Ever wonder why certain foods taste so good it’s addictive? It could be MSG in the works. MSG or monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer found in most of today’s processed foods. Once consumed by the body, it can wreak havoc on your brain causing you to feel foggy, moody, and upset. It can also lead to diarrhea, asthma attacks, and migraines. If consuming MSG in one meal can make you feel like this, just imagine its impact on your memory in the long run.
MSG is mostly found in canned soups, junk food, ramen noodles, and fast foods. Certain restaurants also use MSG in their dishes. The best way to avoid this dangerous ingredient is by cooking meals using real, whole foods and avoiding processed foods.
This means using reminders, notes, or the calendar to remember things easier. You see, when you constantly have to sift through all the clutter just to get the information you need, you are using more brain power. The power which could be better used for tasks that benefit your mind. Being disorganized also impacts your working memory. Save yourself the future trouble and bring a notebook or keep a calendar on your phone at all times.
Quit multitasking and be mindful
Stop doing multiple things at the same time. It affects the quality of whatever task you’re doing and harms your short-term memory. The result is that you feel disorganized and distracted most of the time. As I’ve mentioned in the previous point, being disorganized takes more brain processing power.
Instead, pay full attention to what you’re doing. Being mindful improves your working memory capacity and allows you to become more focused. You feel less distracted and able to finish tasks more efficiently.
Sit still and meditate
Alongside mindfulness is meditation. Meditation not only helps you become more present but it also improves your working memory. Your working memory is where you hold information temporarily until your brain decides whether it’s useful or not. Studies have shown that meditation can help with memory recall and focus.
For beginners, it can be hard to get into a meditative state especially when your brain is filled with so many thoughts. Remember, that meditation does not necessarily mean you should stop thinking. You simply just have to be aware of what you’re thinking. Think of it as being an observer of your own thoughts. Don’t get attached to it. Just be aware of it.
A good way to start is by observing your own breathing or your body’s sensations. If a thought comes up, don’t panic. Acknowledge the thought as it is, just a thought, and bring back the attention to your breathing.
Get enough sleep
Sleep plays an important role in brain function. Not getting enough of it causes you to feel tired, foggy, and irritable. In the long run, sleep deprivation affects your brain’s ability to keep memories and consolidate them.
Make sure to get enough sleep as it plays a very important role in improving your memory. It’s the time of day when your brain is consolidating memories allowing you to create store new ones. If you didn’t get enough sleep the night before, take a nap. It offers similar effects as adequate sleep and gives you the energy boost you need to last through the day.
Take brain-enhancing supplements
The market is filled with choices of supplements that are good for your brain. Nootropics, in particular, are becoming a trend. For good reason, of course. Technological advancements and the growing number of poor food choices make it challenging for the mind to function optimally.
So what’s a biohacker to do? Take nootropics of course. These brain supplements are designed to nourish your mind so you can focus better, be more alert, and resistant to brain decline.
Each nootropic has its unique effect so be sure to read on what you’re signing up for before taking them. Flow State is a supplement I take myself, not just for improving brain power but preserving my memory as well. For people who find it a challenge to adapt habits like exercise, meditation, or getting adequate sleep for memory, nootropics like Flow State are the best solution. Of course, it shouldn’t be used as a band-aid so be sure that you are also building up these healthy habits. It’s good for your memory and amplifies the effects of the nootropic that you’re taking.
Improving your memory is a matter of adopting healthy habits that contribute to a healthier brain. Try to adapt at least three or four of these habits and build it up from there. You’ll see a great difference in no time.
What about you? What techniques are you adapting to help improve your memory? Share your thoughts in the comments below.