With the busy lives we all are living in this modernized world, forgetfulness is being common, regardless of age. Even though it is something sounding much normal these days, poor memory causes frustration. One of the main reasons behind memory loss issues is genetics, mainly in cases of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are also other reasons as found in several surveys and research conducted across the world. Some of those reasons include diet and lifestyle.
How to Increase Memory Power?
Wouldn’t it be great if we could find a natural solution to the problem of memory loss? How about if we tell you there are natural ways available to boost your memory? Yes, we are not kidding!
Here, we have got you 20 proven and tested ways on how to increase your memory power. Check them out and alter your lifestyle and diet accordingly.
1. Try consuming a fish oil supplement
We all know how rich fish oil supplements are in Omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). They are fats essential for maintaining overall health and also lower the risk of cardiac issues, relieve stress, reduce inflammation, slow mental decline, relieve anxiety and stress.
In several studies, it is proven that the consumption of fish and fish oil supplements may increase memory power, mainly in older adults.
In a study, 36 older adults having mild cognitive impairment were given concentrated fish oil supplements for a year. The results showed that their working memory and short-term memory scores improved eventually.
There was another review were 28 studies combinedly showed that adults with mild symptoms of memory loss when kept on fish oil supplements rich in EPA and DHA, experienced an increase in episodic memory.
Both EPA and DHA are essential for the working and overall health of your brain and even helps in reducing inflammation in the body. This is further linked to cognitive decline.
To sum up: Fish oil supplements are high in the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. When you consume these products, you can potentially improve working, short-term and episodic memory, mainly in older adults.
2. Take out time and meditate
Meditation is a solution for almost all health issues as it brings positive effects on our health in certain ways. Meditation is soothing and relaxing. It is found that it is a process that reduces pain and stress, lowers blood pressure and also improves memory.
To your surprise, meditation can increase gray matter in our brains. Gray matter consists of neuron cell bodies. As you start aging, gray matter in the brain reduces and this impacts your cognition and memory. Through meditation and relaxation procedures, you can improve short-term memory. Not just in older adults but people in their 20s and above can also see these positive effects of meditation.
These are not just facts we found online, but are results of several kinds of research and surveys conducted by experts in the field.
One of the many studies demonstrated that college students of Taiwan who were into meditation practices had noticed improved spatial working memory that other students who were not a part of these practices.
What is spatial working memory? It is the ability to hold and process information in your mind related to the positions of objects in space.
To sum up: Meditation doesn’t only prove to be good for your body, it is good for the brain too. According to research, meditation can increase gray matter in the human brain, thus, improving spatial working memory.
3. Consume less added sugar
Eating added sugar excessively is linked to many chronic diseases and health issues, one of them being cognitive decline.
As per research, sugar-laden diet can result in poor memory and lowered brain volume, specifically in the brain area that functions to store short-term memory.
Consider the example – a study of over 4000 individuals inferred that people who were on a higher intake of sugar-based beverages had reduced brain volumes and poorer memory as compared to the individuals who take less sugar.
Reducing your sugar intake won’t just help you improve your memory but also your overall health.
To sum up: Research shows that individuals who consume a high amount of added sugar regularly may have lower brain volumes and poorer memories as compared to those who are on less sugar intake list.
4. Have a balanced & healthy weight
Not many consider this true or valid, but your weight does play a significant role in maintaining a good memory power. A Healthy and balanced weight helps in keeping your mind and body in good condition.
In several studies, experts established that obesity is one of the risk factors for cognitive decline. Obesity can affect your memory negatively by causing changes to the memory-associated genes in the brain. Due to obesity, you might also suffer from insulin resistance and inflammation. These two conditions also impact your memory negatively.
In a study where 50 people between 18 and 35 years in age, experts found that people with higher body mass index were associated with significantly worse memory test performance.
Obesity also leads to Alzheimer’s disease. It is a progressive disease that destroys cognitive function and memory.
To sum up: Obesity is a common risk factor for cognitive decline. You should maintain a healthy body weight (even at a young age) to avoid issues of poorer memory and other obesity-related problems in the future.
5. Practice mindfulness
Like meditation, mindfulness is also a relaxing state that brings calm and peace to your mind, body and soul. It is a state of mind that makes you focus on your present situation and helps maintain awareness of your feelings and surrounding. Mindfulness is used in meditation, but these two are not the same. While meditation is more like a formal practice, mindfulness is a mental habit that can use in any situation.
Studies show that mindfulness is efficient and effective to lower stress and improve your memory power and concentration. In a study of 293 psychology students, they showed that the ones who underwent mindfulness training had better recognition-memory performance while recalling objects in comparison to the students who didn’t get the mindfulness training.
Not just this, but mindfulness is also linked with a lower risk of age-related cognitive decline. It is known to improve the overall psychological well-being of a person,
Now, you know what to do! Make sure to include mindfulness techniques into your daily lifestyle. This way, you can pay more attention to your present conditions, concentrate on your breathing and reset your attention when you feel your mind is wandering.
To sum up: Mindfulness is associated with improved memory performance, It is even linked to decreased age-related cognitive decline.
6. Consume less alcohol
Consuming a high amount of alcohol can lead to a lot of health issues including a negative impact on your memory power. Binge drinking is a concept/pattern of drinking that increases your blood alcohol levels by 0.08 grams per ml or above. Studies show that it changes the brain and leads to memory deficits.
In a study that included 155 college freshmen, researchers concluded that students who consumed more than six drinks in a short period of time, either every week or every month, faced difficulties in immediate of delayed memory-recall tests, whereas who were never into binge drinking didn’t face this difficulty.
Alcohol results in neurotoxic effects on the brain. Regular binge drinking can even damage your hippocampus. It is apart of the brain playing a vital role in memory.
While having a drink or two is completely fine, avoiding the consumption of a high amount of alcohol on a regular basis is a good call to keep your memory power protected.
To sum up: Alcohol increases your blood alcohol levels that lead to memory deficits. It is advisable to reduce the amount of alcohol and avoid binge drinking on a regular basis.
7. Don’t cut down your sleeping hours
Less sleeping hours and compromising sleep are associated with poorer memory by research experts recently. Sleep is essential in memory consolidation – a process where short term memories are worked upon and transformed into long-lasting memories.
According to research studies, if you do not sleep well, you are unknowingly impacting your memory. In a study that worked on the effects of sleep in 40 children from the age of 10 to 14. One group was trained for memory tests in the evening that was to be conducted the next morning after sleeping well at night. The other group was trained and tested on the same day, with no sleep between testing and training.
In the results, the group that slept for the night performed 20% better than the other group that didn’t get to sleep for the memory tests.
In a similar study, researchers found that nurses who work in the night shifts made excessive mathematical errors and 68% of those nurses scored less on memory tests as compared to the nurses working in the day shift.
Health experts always suggest adults get around 7-9 hours of sleep every night for balanced health,
To sum up: Sleep plays a vital role in improving your memory power. People who sleep well score high on memory tests.
8. Train your brain
Exercising your cognitive skills is important and you can do that by playing brain games. You can train your brain this way and keep boosting your memory. Games like word-recall games, crosswords, Tetris and some mobile apps memory training games are perfect ways to improve your memory power.
In a study involving 42 adults having mild cognitive impairment, experts found that making them play games on brain-training apps for almost 8 hours over a period of four weeks resulted in better performance in memory tests.
Another important study on 4715 individuals inferred that when these individuals invested 15 minutes in the online brain-training program for a minimum of five days in a week, there working memory, short-term memory, concentration and problem-solving improved a lot as compared to a control group.
Additionally, brain-training programs can reduce the risk of dementia in older people.
To sum up: Invest time and mind in the games that challenge your brain and help you improve your memory power.
9. Test Your Vitamin D levels
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that plays a significant role in the body. Lower levels of Vitamin D leads to a lot of health issues, including reduced cognitive function.
A study conducted on 318 older people for around 5 years inferred that the ones who have Vitamin D blood levels less than 20 nanograms per ml lost their cognitive abilities and memory faster than the ones having normal vitamin D blood levels.
Lower levels of VitD is related to a higher risk of dementia. The deficiency of Vitamin D is common these days, mainly in people with darker skin and in colder climates. Talk to your doctor to get a blood test done in order to see if your body requires a VitD supplement.
To sum up: The deficiency of Vitamin D is common, mainly in a colder climate. It results in reduced cognitive function and loss of memory.
10. Exercise regularly
Exercising daily helps overcome several health issues, both physical and mental. Research shows that daily workouts help in improving the memory of people of all age groups.
In a study that included 144 individuals of an age group of 19 years to 93 years, experts showed that daily exercise of 15 minutes on a stationary bike resulted in improved memory and cognitive performance in each individual.
There are several studies that show exercise tends to boost the secretion of neuroprotective proteins and strengthen the growth and development of neurons. This, in turn, leads to improved brain health.
Regular exercise in mid-life also leads to a reduced risk of dementia in older days.
To sum up: Exercise highly beneficial for individuals of any age and also works great for your mental health. Even if you do moderate exercise daily for short periods can improve your memory power and cognitive performance.
11. Reduce the intake of refined carbs
Taking a high intake of refined carbohydrates like cereals, cookies, cakes, white bread and white rice can damage your memory. These food items have got a high glycemic index, which suggests that the body digests these carbohydrates quickly resulting in a spike in blood sugar levels.
Studies show that the Western diet, as recorded to be high in refined carbs, is associated with reduced cognitive function, cognitive decline and dementia.
A study that included 317 healthy children inferred that the kids who took more processed carbs such as noodles, white rice and fast food have a poorer short-term memory, working memory and reduced cognitive capacity.
In another study, experts showed that adults consuming ready-to-eat breakfast cereal daily had reduced cognitive function that those who consumed cereal less regularly.
To sum up: Similar to added sugar, refined carbs result in high blood sugar levels. This can damage your brain over time. Diets that are high in refined carbohydrates are associated with dementia, reduced brain function and cognitive decline.
12. Switch to anti-inflammatory foods
When you consume a rich diet with anti-inflammatory foods in large amounts, it can help you improve your memory power. How to increase your memory power with anti-inflammatory foods?
Anti-inflammatory foods include antioxidants in them and it lowers inflammation in the body by minimizing the oxidative stress caused due to free radicals. You will find antioxidants from foods like teas, vegetables and fruits.
A review of nine studies involving 31,000 people concluded that people who consumed more vegetables and fruits were at lower risks of dementia and cognitive decline. However, those who didn’t consume a good amount of fruits and vegetables in their diet were at a higher risk of memory loss.
If you don’t know yet, berries are high in antioxidants like anthocyanins and flavonoids. You can prevent memory loss by consuming berries frequently.
To sum up: Anti-inflammatory foods work great for your mental health, mainly berries and foods that are high antioxidants. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet to make sure you eat more anti-inflammatory foods.
13. Consider curcumin
Curcumin is a substance/compound usually found in high concentrations in turmeric root. It is known to be one among the various category of compounds called polyphenols. It is a potent antioxidant producing powerful anti-inflammatory effects in your body. There have been several animal studies that inferred curcumin minimizes inflammation and oxidative damage in the brain and even reduces the number of amyloid plaques.
Amyloid plaques build up on neurons, causing cell and tissue death that further leads to memory loss. In fact, it can even be an important factor behind the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Though it requires more detailed research on humans to find the effects of curcumin on the human brain, animal studies indicate that it can be an effective element to improve memory and avoiding cognitive decline.
To sum up: Curcumin is a useful antioxidant. Some animal studies show that it helps in the reduction of amyloid plaques and inflammation, But, proper human research results are still awaited.
14. Avoid bright screens before sleeping
The blue light emitted from your cell phone, computer and TV screens inhibit the production of melatonin. It is a hormone that controls your sleep cycle. A poorly regulated sleep cycle can really affect sleep quality.
Due to insufficient sleep and rest, the neurons in the brain become overworked and fail to coordinate information, making it quite difficult to recall memories. So, it is advised that you stay away from your devices at least 30 minutes before moving to the bed. Turn the lights off too.
To sum up: Looking at the bright light from the screen of your device can reduce the production of melatonin that affects your sleep cycle. So, stay away from your device before going to bed.
15. Avoid some specific medications
While you should continue taking the medicines prescribed by the doctor, you should make sure to follow all the dietary instructions and lifestyle changes too.
Some medical prescriptions, like statins for high cholesterol, can be linked to ‘brain fog’ and memory loss. Eating healthier and losing weight plays a significant role in treating high cholesterol.
Some other mediations that might affect your memory power are antidepressants, metformin, sleeping aids, antianxiety medications and antianxiety medications.
To sum up: Certain medications can be harmful to your memory. Talk to your doctor about managing the medical conditions to not rely on medications for a lifetime.
16. Don’t rely completely on Google
Stop rushing to open Google for every little query. We know modern technology has made us lazier and less active. But your memory needs to be retained from time to time, Googling everything can make your ‘mentally lazy’. When you try to retrieve a piece of information manually, that is, using your mind, it reinforces the neural pathways in your brain.
To sum up: Stop relying on Google for every information and use your brain.
17. Add Cocoa to your diet
Cocoa is not just a delicious food item but also essentially nutritious, offering a strong dose of antioxidants known as flavonoids. As per research, flavonoids are specifically beneficial to your brain.
They may help in stimulating the growth of blood vessels and neurons to improve blood flow in areas of the brain that function for memory.
In a study, 30 healthy people were under observation and it was found that the ones who consumed dark chocolate with 720mg of cocoa flavonoids showed better results on memory tests. On the other hand, those who consumed white chocolate without any amount of cocoa flavonoids.
To avail maximum benefit of chocolate, choose dark chocolate having cocoa content of 70% cocoa or more. This way you will get a high amount of antioxidants, such as flavonoids.
To sum up: Cocoa is high in antioxidants that can help you improve memory performance. Choose dark chocolate over white chocolate to get the essential flavonoids.
18. Reduce the usage of GPS
Another disadvantage of technology on our memory power. We mostly rely on GPS while driving. We do not bother remembering directions anymore and depend on GPS for navigation. This shrinks a part of our brain, hippocampus, which controls the spatial memory and moving information from short-term to long-term memory. And, poor hippocampus health is associated with cognitive decline and dementia.
So, it is better to use your brain to remember and navigate directions instead of simply opening your GPS and solving the situation at hand.
To sum up: You need to make your brain more active and make less use of technology like GPS for navigation. Try remembering directions on your won.
19. Repeat and retrieve
Repetition helps to form connections between neurons in our brain and makes it easier to remember certain information. Suppose you come across a new word, try using it in a sentence and repeat it a couple of time in a day to make sure it gets recorded in your brain.
According to research, simple repetition is of no use when used on its own. You need to sit down and retrieve the information without looking for it in a notebook where you wrote it. Test yourself by trying to retrieve the information.
To sum up: Repeat and retrieve is a beneficial way of testing and learning to memorize particular information without using technology.
20. Try abbreviations, acronyms and mnemonics
You can use mnemonics devices in the form of abbreviations, acronyms, songs or rhymes. They have been tested for long as effective techniques for students. You must have been taught a few mnemonic devices to remember long lists. For example, the color of the spectrum is easier to remember as an acronym – VIBGYOR (Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red)
To sum up: Mnemonics helps remembering long lists, thus, making your memory sharp.
In a Nutshell
Now that you know how to increase your memory power, you can bring these methods in use and improve the state of your brain.
Tell us what works for you best!