At any age, memory lapses can happen. But contrary to what most people believe, aging alone won’t cause cognitive decline.
Significant memory loss happens among aged people because of brain injury, neurological illnesses or organic disorders. Some of the health conditions that can impair one’s cognitive skills include high blood pressure, depression, high bad cholesterol, hypothyroidism, and sleep apnea.
If you are suffering from any of these health problems, you can protect your memory by following the advice of your physician.
It is always frustrating to experience memory changes. But the good news is that you can learn how to keep your mind active, thanks to years of exhaustive research!
Today, there are different strategies and a long list of natural products available to help improve and protect your memory. Here are seven you can try.
1. Exercise Regularly
Increase your cognitive function by enjoying a combination of aerobic exercise like walking or cycling with strength training.
A 20-minute exercise routine is already enough to keep your brain agile. Experts emphasize that exercise does not have to be strenuous – if you like swing or salsa dancing, this can serve as your exercise.
Just make sure to work up a sweat on a regular basis, preferably at least five times a week.
2. Get Enough Sleep
For most adults, getting at least seven hours of sleep is recommended. The key is to get enough sleep so you can wake up feeling well-rested.
The time you spend sleeping is essential since that’s when your brain forms new memories, learns new tasks and cleans up toxins.
Depriving yourself of sleep won’t just impair your cognitive functioning but will also increase your risk for health issues like obesity and high blood pressure.
3. Keep Learning
By getting yourself into the habit of being mentally active, your memory can be enhanced.
Experts strongly believe that challenging your brain with different mental exercises will stimulate communication among your brain cells.
Even if you have jobs that keep you mentally active, it is still advised that you learn a new skill, take up massage therapy courses, pursue a hobby or volunteer for a project that helps improve your memory.
Remember that learning a new skill is considered the best way to keep your brain active, challenged and sharp.
4. Follow a Brain-Healthy Diet
A diet that focuses on healthy fats like fish, olive oil, a moderate amount of wine, and vegetables can help reduce the risk of dementia. Blueberries, salmon, broccoli, and walnuts are other brain-loving foods you should include in your diet.
Adding brain supplements into your diet can also help improve your memory. Today, there are plenty of dietary supplements claiming to boost your memory.
Herbs, fish oil, vitamins, and cocktails of herbs and other ingredients claim that they can aid mental ability and memory. Products that have antioxidant or anti-aging properties like anthocyanin supplements can also help prevent memory loss since they fight free radicals.
Just be sure to consult your trusted physician before taking any supplements especially if you are on medication
Recent studies have shown that there is a direct link between the brain and social activity levels. A 2007 study found that women with a larger social network and day-to-day social contact had a significantly lower risk of developing dementia.
Scheduling phone calls or regular visits with your family and friends, taking a class, doing volunteer work, and joining a group can all help you build social connections.
6. Stimulate Your Brain
Constant mental stimulation is the best way to improve your memory. Also, it will be easier for you to remember things if you use your mind in various ways.
These include playing mind-stretching games like chess and computer games, enjoying a daily puzzle, reading newspaper and books, and opting for mental arithmetic instead of using a calculator.
7. Believe in Yourself
Learners can do worse on tasks involving memory if they are often exposed to negative stereotypes about aging and memory.
If you believe that you are not in control of your memory function, you are less likely to work at improving your memory skills. Thus, you can experience cognitive decline.
But if you strongly believe you can keep your mind fit and agile and translate such belief into practice, you will have a better chance of keeping your brain sharp.
It is true that your brain changes as you get older. But this does not mean that dementia and other serious cognitive conditions are a normal part of aging. Put these strategies into practice to ensure you have a fit and agile mind through the years.
AUTHOR BIO: Frank L. Jaksch Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer and a co-founder of ChromaDex. He oversees research, strategy and operations for the Company with a focus on scientific and novel products for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical markets. Mr. Jaksch earned a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from Valparaiso University.