10 Ways To Improve Your Memory!
(ThyBlackMan.com) Are you having trouble remembering the little things? Like what you ate last week at that new restaurant (or even if you liked that new restaurant)? Experts say that such “senior moments” are normal even if it occurs decades before you can begin to think about tapping into your 401(k).
Studies are uncovering how our mundane, everyday habits – what we eat, the pills we take, how we rest, and even our confidence levels – have a big impact on our brain. Here’s what experts say are the newest strategies guaranteed to keep your memory quick, agile, and sharp.
1. Check Your Iron
Iron helps the neurotransmitters essential to memory function properly and your brain can be sensitive to low amounts. A poor diet or heavy menstrual periods, such as those during perimenopause, can cause your iron levels to drop enough to affect your recall abilities, even if you don’t have anemia.
2. Turn Off Background Noise
We all multitask, a necessary survival skill of the digital age, but did you know that just listening to the news while you answer your e-mail could limit how well you’re able to recall both? Normally, when you take in new information, you process it with a part of the brain called the cerebral cortex, but multitasking greatly reduces learning because people can’t attend to the relevant information. That’s because the brain is forced to switch processing to an area called the striatum, and the information stored there tends to contain fewer important details.
Luckily, this kind of memory problem has an easy fix: Simply pay undivided attention to whatever you really want to recall later.
3. Refresh Your Mind
Yes, you know that meditation can reduce stress, which research shows can damage brain cells and your ability to retain information over time. But the ancient practice can do more than just soothe your soul: It may also sharpen your memory. According to a University of Kentucky study, subjects who took a late-afternoon test after meditating for 40 minutes had significantly better scores than those who napped for the same period.
Even more surprising, when the subjects were retested after being deprived of a full night’s sleep, those who meditated still scored better than their study counterparts. How could that be? Meditation, like sleep, reduces sensory input, and this quiet state may provide a time for neurons to process and solidify new information and memories.
4. Control Your Cholesterol
A healthful cholesterol level is as essential for mental sharpness as it is for cardiovascular efficiency. When plaque, caused by “bad” LDL cholesterol, builds up in blood vessels, it can hinder circulation to the brain, depriving it of essential nutrients. One possible consequence: memory problems.
5. Double-Check Your Meds
One side effect of taking many prescription and over-the-counter drugs can be a worrisome increase in memory lapses. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, antispasmodics, beta-blockers, chemotherapy, Parkinson’s medications, sleeping pills, ulcer medications, painkillers, antihistamines, and even statins can all affect your memory.
As you get older, drugs tend to stay in your system for a longer period of time, increasing the likelihood of troublesome interactions. Fortunately, any drug-related impairment will likely improve as soon as the drug is discontinued. Speaking with your doctor about adjusting your dose or switching medications is often a simple solution.
6. Munch an Apple
A couple of apples a day may keep the neurologist away. Apples have just the right dose of antioxidants to raise levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that’s essential to memory and tends to decline with age. In addition, antioxidants in apples help preserve memory by protecting brain cells against damage from free radicals created by everyday metabolic action, such as the processing of glucose by the body’s cells.
7. Rev Up Your Heart
Old-fashioned cardio can also keep your memory spry by improving a number of aspects of brain functions. Last year, researchers from the University of Illinois, Urbana, put two groups of older, healthy adult volunteers on different regimens. One group did aerobic training three times a week for 1 hour; the other did non-aerobic stretching and toning.
MRIs taken after 3 months showed that the aerobics group actually increased their brains’ volume (which could reflect new neurons or cells) and white matter (connections between neurons) in the frontal lobes, which contribute to attention and memory processing. The aerobic exercisers, who ranged from age 60 to 79, had the brain volumes of people 2 to 3 years younger, said Arthur Kramer, PhD, who reported his results in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. Taking a 1-hour walk at a brisk, slightly breathless pace three times a week will likely confer the same benefits.
8. Believe In Your Brain
Do you find yourself worrying about forgetfulness? Give it up! Any anxiety you feel about your occasionally wayward memory later in life may actually make it worse. In a recent North Carolina State University study published in Psychology and Aging, healthy older folks scored poorly on memory tests after being informed that aging causes forgetfulness.
9. High-Tech Brain Power
Your teen knows best: Video games are good for your brain. What’s an eight-letter word for brain booster? The answer could be Nintendo. Experts say playing one of the new games specially designed to improve your focus could have the indirect effect of getting your memory in shape.
10. Glass of Red For Your Head
Here’s a pleasing Rx for boosting brainpower: Flex your noodle by doing crossword puzzles and brain teasers for an hour or so, then cool down with a glass of wine – it, too, may help preserve your memory. Alcohol’s benefits to the heart – it can help lower cholesterol levels – may also protect against memory loss by improving circulation to the brain.
Written By John Williams