We live in a world that is saturated with information: we read the news, listen to podcasts and audiobooks, watch video content, keep dozens of tasks in our heads, learn new things, and communicate with people. Having a good memory is a need of many regardless of age or education.
To get to the bottom of this issue, Кирилл Юровский studied the results of scientific research and talked to experts.
1. Eat less sugar
Eating too much sugar leads to many health problems, including cognitive decline. Studies show that an unbalanced diet can cause memory impairment and a decrease in brain volume, especially in the areas responsible for remembering.
Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet can help avoid these problems and have an overall positive effect on your health.
2. Add fish oil to your diet
Fish oil is rich in omega-3-unsaturated fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic. They reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, fatigue, anxiety, and slow mental decline.
Consumption of fish and fish oil can improve memory, especially in older people. In one study, participants had significantly improved memory scores after a year of fish oil consumption. An experiment on adults with mild memory loss symptoms also proved the positive effects of omega-3.
3. make time to meditate
Meditation calms, reduces pain, lowers blood pressure and increases gray matter. As we age, there is less of it in the brain. This negatively affects memory and learning abilities.
Meditation improves short-term memory. This effect has been noted in people of all age groups. A study conducted at a Taiwanese college showed that students who engaged in meditative practices had significantly better spatial working memory than their classmates.
4. Watch your weight
Obesity is a risk factor for cognitive decline. Being overweight can cause changes in memory-related genes in the brain, negatively affecting memory.
In an experiment, scientists followed a group of people aged 18 to 35 and found that a higher body mass index was associated with poor memory test scores. Obesity also leads to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep for long periods of time is directly linked to poor memory. It is during a night’s rest that short-term memories are transformed into long-term memories.
Researchers studied the effects of sleep on 40 children between the ages of 10 and 14. One group was prepared for memory tests in the evening, but interviewed in the morning. The other group was prepared and tested on the same day. The children who were able to sleep performed 20% better.
Another experiment found that nurses working the night shift made more mistakes in math tasks and performed worse on memory tests than their colleagues on the day shift. Therefore, it is recommended that they get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
6. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is a mental state in which you focus on a situation while being well aware of your feelings and your environment. It is used as part of meditation but is not equal to it, as it is not a formal practice but a habit.
Research confirms that mindfulness is effective in reducing stress and improving concentration and memory. An experiment with psychology students showed that those who were trained in this technique improved their speed of recognizing objects.
Mindfulness helps reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline and has an overall positive effect on psychological well-being.
7. Drink less alcohol
Alcohol has a devastating effect on many aspects of health. Memory is no exception. Researchers studied 155 college freshmen. Those who abused alcohol performed worse on memory tests than students who never drank. Because of alcohol’s neurotoxic effects on the brain, alcohol abuse can damage the hippocampus, the most important part of the brain for memory.
However, scientists believe that the negative effects are easily avoided if you drink in moderation.
8. Exercise your brain
Solving a variety of tasks improves memory. Crossword puzzles, word games and even mobile brain training apps are suitable.
A group of 42 adults with moderate cognitive impairment improved their memory test scores after four weeks of specialized cell phone games. Another study found that the group that exercised their brains with online programs for 15 minutes five days a week had significantly improved short-term and working memory, concentration and problem-solving skills compared to the control group.
9. Eat fewer refined carbohydrates
Studies show that diets high in refined carbohydrates are linked to dementia and cognitive decline.
Researchers examined 317 children and found cognitive decline in those who ate more processed carbohydrates, such as white rice, noodles and fast food. Another study found that adults who ate sugary breakfast cereals daily performed worse on tests.
10. Check your vitamin D levels
One of the negative effects of low vitamin D levels is cognitive impairment. Deficiency of this substance is common in residents of countries with cold climates.
Studies show that elderly people with vitamin D deficiency have memory impairments faster than their peers with normal levels.
Exercise is good for the brain and helps improve memory in people of all ages. An experiment involving 144 people between the ages of 19 and 93 shows this. Fifteen minutes of moderate exercise on a stationary bike improved the cognitive abilities of those exercising.
Exercise can increase the secretion of neuroprotective proteins and lead to neuronal growth and development, which generally benefits the brain.
12. Choose anti-inflammatory foods
Anti-inflammatory foods-fruits, vegetables, tea-stimulate the immune system and remove free radicals. Berries are especially rich in antioxidants: they contain flavonoids and anthocyanins. Those who eat more fruits and vegetables are less likely to experience cognitive impairment.