Memory – it either seems like you’ve got a good one or you don’t. But hey, everyone has moments of forgetfulness … some just more than others, especially when life gets busy.
But what factors play a significant role in your memory? After all, no two minds think alike when it comes to memory, so what gives?
Turns out – a lot, actually. Everything from genetics to diet and lifestyle all have major impacts on memory retention. So if your noodle is dropping the ball on remembering stuff, here’s some healthy habits that can help improve it.
Consume Less Sugar
Want to know a fun fact in life? Excess sugar is not good for you in several facets, including weight gain, energy levels, diabetes, various chronic diseases – and now you can add poor memory to that laundry list.
Research shows that added sugar has been linked to cognitive decline. In fact, excess sugar actually reduces brain volume, particularly in the area where short-term memory is stored. So if you’re an avid soda drinker, now’s the time to crack open a few less cans.
You should treat your brain like a muscle. And what do you do with your muscles when you want to get in shape? You exercise. Working out your brain via meditation can help reduce stress and pain, lower blood pressure and improve memory.
Meditation can help increase grey matter in the brain. That’s a good thing because grey matter contains neuron cell bodies and those help you fight off the effects of cognitive decay as you age.
Get in Shape
Obesity isn’t good for your body or your brain. In fact, an unhealthy waistline can cause changes to memory-associated genes in the brain, which you guessed it, has negative impacts on memory. Furthermore, obesity is associated with a higher risk of early Alzheimer’s disease, which we all know is a progressive and nasty disease that destroys memory and cognitive functionality.
Get Your Beauty Rest
Just like building muscles, rest and sleep play a large part in the development of repaired tissue. The same rule applies to your memory.
While you sleep, your short-term memories are strengthened and transformed into long-lasting memories. It’s probably why your teachers and parents always told you to get ample sleep before your tests because it helps with retention. Aiming for 7 – 9 hours of shut eye a night is optimal not only for your memory but for your overall wellbeing.
Cut Down on Beer
A beer or two here and there won’t hurt your noggin. Binge drinking on the other hand is responsible for raising your alcohol levels and when your level reaches 0.08 grams per ml or above, studies have show an alteration in brain activity, particularly memory deciciency.
It’s a pretty simple concept. Consuming mass amounts of a substance that exhibits neurotoxic effects on the brain is probably not good for your memory. Period.
Additional memory enhancing-activities, include:
- Eating anti-inflammatory foods
- Get more vitamin D
- Consume less refined carbs
- Play brain games
- Take fish oil supplements
At the end of the day, you can’t just blame having a bad memory on genetics. Sure, those play a role, but this list is a clear indication of ways you can actively participate in improving your memory … if you can remember them.