Have you been forgetting things lately and want to know if there are any ways to improve memory?
There are so many things to remember in today’s fast-paced digital world.
Your phone pin, computer login, garage code, security alarm code, work deadlines, kids” schedules, meal planning, app logins, and debit card pin, to name a few.
It’s no wonder why we forget things—feeling a bit overwhelmed?
You’re not alone.
Every day, millions of people ask themselves the same questions. Why do I forget things? Is this a sign that something’s wrong?
The bigger question is, How do you improve your memory?
There’s good news.
Research has shown many ways we can improve memory retention and brain function at any age, to combat cognitive decline and help prevent future memory issues.
Let’s get smarter!
Memory loss is normal as we age.
How many times have you lost your car keys? Or wondered where your glasses are, only to realize they’re on your head? This forgetfulness is normal.
Scientific research suggests that average memory loss is not a sign of severe disorders like Dementia or Alzheimer’s. But science has also proven that brain function and improved memory can be attained by following simple steps and lifestyle changes.
7 Science-backed ways to Improve Memory
- Train Your Brain
You’ve heard the expression, “use it or lose it,” when it comes to losing muscle; the same goes for your brain. Stagnant learning and development decrease brain “muscle” and can lead to cognitive decline.
When we learn new skills and challenges, the brain produces more neurons and creates neural pathways, a state known as neuroplasticity. The more we learn, the more brain muscle we build.
Take up a new class or a hobby involving using your hands and brain power. Painting, Art, and Woodworking classes are excellent ways to stimulate the lobes of the brain and help improve memory.
- Mnemonics, Acronyms, and Abbreviations
For memory recall, mnemonics use anything (system), like rhymes, associations, and abbreviations.
Associations mnemonics could be a song or a poem that links to a specific memory or place. These systems are excellent tools for storing and categorizing memories. For example, FOMO (fear of missing out) is a mnemonic device because it’s an acronym.
- Get in the Groove
If you want to know how to improve short-term memory, routines are the way to go.
According to Alzheimer’s Project, routines are crucial for maintaining stability and eliminating stress for people with dementia and the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
Set up daily schedules and stick to them! You can use a calendar app or a simple whiteboard with weekly plans written in marker.
- That’s Puzzling
Puzzles are fun and a fantastic way to train your brain and improve your memory at any age.
Sudoku, crossword, jigsaw puzzles, and memory improvement games can reinforce and maintain neural pathways. When you get satisfaction by completing or solving a puzzle, the brain releases dopamine, a chemical that regulates mood and helps retain memory.
Organization is a key factor in maintaining brain health and cognitive awareness.
Studies have shown that coming home to a clean and organized home helps release dopamine in the brain. Alternatively, dealing with a dirty and messy kitchen can release cortisol, negatively affecting mood, sleep, and overall health.
In fact, people that are more organized and neater tend to shop healthy and eat healthier foods, which improves memory.
Don’t wait for spring cleaning. Start organizing today.
- Say it
A University of Waterloo study found that the dual action of speaking and hearing oneself had the most beneficial impact on memory.
Dubbed the “production effect,” it determined that active involvement helps with learning and memory retention. Speaking aloud adds a production element to words, and makes them more distinct, which helps with long-term memory.
- Get Zen
Meditation is a proven method for reducing distractions and maintaining focus.
When we “get zen,” blood flow is increased in the brain, strengthening blood vessels in the cerebral cortex that reinforces memory storage.
Meditation also reduces stress and can lower blood pressure resulting in a healthier body and brain.
12 Natural Ways to Improve Your Memory
- Hit the Gym
Exercise has a multitude of benefits for both the body and the brain.
Regular exercise increases blood flow and helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, two disorders related to memory loss. Increased blood flow and oxygen in the brain create more neurons and neural pathways that increase memory retention.
Start slowly and increase your exercise routine weekly. The important thing is to get started and stay active.
- You’re Sweet Enough
The brain consumes more energy than any other organ and is fueled by glucose, a form of sugar. Too much sugar has a negative impact on brain function.
Research has shown that a high-sugar diet can lead to cognitive decline and disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Sugary drinks and fatty foods can result in obesity and cardiovascular disease, which affects memory and cognitive awareness.
- The One Thing You Need to Lose
Losing weight improves memory and neuroplasticity.
A twin study performed in Sweden showed that adults in midlife that were overweight or obese had a higher risk of obtaining Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia later in life.
It’s also known that as people gain weight or become obese, the brain tissue shrinks. The two forms of tissue that make up the brain are Grey and White Matter. The Grey Matter is the tissue, and the White Matter is the fiber that connects the tissues. When a person becomes obese, the Grey matter decreases, which results in a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Lower Calorie and Carb Intake
Someone once said,” You are what you eat.” That reigns true to this day.
Eating foods loaded with fat, calories, and carbohydrates is a surefire way to shrink your brain and increase your cognitive decline risk.
Read food labels and watch what you eat to keep a slim waistline and boost brain power.
- Foods to Improve Memory
Here’s a list of brain-boosting foods;
Nuts contain protein and healthy fats that lower blood pressure and help maintain healthy arteries. A healthy body supports a healthy brain.
- Green, leafy vegetables
Studies have shown that adding green, leafy vegetables to your diet, like broccoli, spinach, and kale, helps boost brain health and cognitive awareness. These green superfoods contain brain-boosting nutrients and vitamins like Vitamin K, Beta Caratine, and Lutein.
According to the NIH (National Institute of Health), legumes contain phytochemicals and polyphenols that beneficially improve brain function.
- Fish/Omega-3 fatty acids
We’ve all heard of the health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids but did you know they can help prevent Alzheimer’s?
Fish, loaded with healthy Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and cod, lowers the damaging proteins that form clumps in the brains of Alzheimer patients.
- Dark chocolate/Cacao
A study by Loma Linda University in California showed that consumption of dark chocolate (70% cacao or greater) improved brain neuroplasticity and brain waves.
Researchers at the University of California showed that people who consumed caffeine before being shown a series of images had better short and long-term memory recall than those taking a placebo.
Berries are a super healthy food packed with antioxidants and flavonoids. A Harvard study showed that flavonoid consumption ( 2 servings per week of berries) slowed cognitive decline in women by over two years.
- What Foods to Avoid
- Highly Processed foods
A study by Ohio State suggests that highly processed foods, like ice cream, chips, cookies, and frozen pizza, harm memory in aging brains.
Long-term alcohol consumption affects the stomach’s ability to absorb nutrients. People with AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder) who drink too much can rob the body of vitamin B-1 and thiamine, leading to dementia and permanent memory loss.
Cheese is high in saturated fat that clogs the brain and heart arteries. Cheese also causes inflammation which is directly linked to cognitive decline.
- Red Meat
The consumption of red meat has long been linked to cognitive decline.
A study conducted by UK Biobank showed that a single serving per day increase in processed meat consumption led to a 44% increased risk of dementia and a 52% increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
- Intermittent Fasting
An article published by Pub Med for the NIH shows that intermittent fasting helped improve memory and slow cognitive decline. It’s also proven that intermittent fasting improves hippocampal function, a part of the brain where emotion, memory, and autonomic function are processed.
- Improve Heart Health
Eliminating stress, lowering blood pressure, and eating a heart-healthy diet can go a long way toward improving your memory.
Improved cardiovascular health increases blood flow and oxygen levels to the brain, lowering cognitive decline risk and improving short and long-term memory.
- Laugh it Off
Laughter relieves stress and limits the release of cortisol hormones in the brain. Cortisol is known to alter memory and cognitive awareness.
Get silly. Go to a Comedy Club or watch a funny movie. Try to inject humor into your daily routine. Your brain will thank you for it!
- Socialize More
A University of Michigan study shows that socializing with others for 10 minutes per day slowed cognitive decline and improved memory recall.
Humans are social creatures, and social interaction is crucial for brain and heart health improvement.
Wake up your inner social butterfly-give an old friend a call or spend some time with relatives.
- “Book ‘em, Dano.”
Reading is a form of exercise for the brain. The more we read, the more we create new neural pathways and increase brain power and memory.
Book reading stimulates the brain and forces concentration which helps prevent memory loss.
Public libraries are a great resource in the community. Find a topic that interests you, visit the library and read a book on it.
Do you remember where “Book “em Dano” originated? The answer lies at the end of this article.
- Sleep it Off
Healthy sleep habits directly affect cognitive function and memory—sleep deprivation results in a lack of concentration and the ability to learn new things. In addition, our brains need time to process new information and consolidate memories, actions that take place during a good night’s sleep.
Implement a sleep routine and stick to it. Go to bed and wake up at set times. Limit the use of cell phones and computers before bedtime. Create a calm, dark, and comfortable environment for sleeping
5 Newly Discovered Ways to Improve Memory
- Lefty or Righty?
Try using your “off-hand” to complete tasks like brushing teeth, writing, or using a computer mouse.
Using your less dominant hand stimulates the brain and helps create new neural pathways.
- Walk and C___G__at the Same Time?
Do you see how I made your brain fill in the blanks? Cute, huh?
Scientists are unsure why but chewing gum while learning stimulates the hippocampus region of the brain, where memory is stored.
So, go ahead and chew your favorite stick of gum; it may help improve memory for medical school or The Barr exams!
- Roll With the Flow
Rolling your eyes from side to side is a newly discovered way to improve memory.
Researchers believe the horizontal movement of the eyes helps link the two hemispheres of the brain for increased memory recall.
- Yankee “Doodle” Dandy!
According to Harvard Health, they cite a report on medical students who doodle;
“A simple 30-minute doodle helps them remember information, fills in gaps in their thinking, and provides a much-needed reprieve from the loads of information they must wade through.”Harvard Health
Doodling helps fill in gaps when the brain is learning, increases concentration, and improves memory.
- Clench Fists
Researchers from Montclair State University showed that clenching your right-hand helps create a strong memory of actions and events while clinching the left hand improves memory recall.
- Sit up Straight
Good posture improves blood flow to the body and brain, which improves cognitive function.
- Full fontal
Using unusual fonts when typing and reading force the brain to concentrate more.
Studies show that increased concentration for reading unusual fonts helped students with short-term memory while studying.
- Rosemary, baby ( no, not the movie)
Researchers suggest low consumption of Rosemary powder in diets helped improve memory speed.
Studies have also shown that the Rosemary scent is related to higher memory scores in testing.
- Tai Chi
Tai Chi exercises require deep concentration and regulating breathing and heartbeat. This rhythmic concentration increases blood flow and brain functionality.
Comparative studies of Tai Chi exercises vs. walking shows that Tai Chi participants had higher Grey Matter brain density and improved episodic memory.
- “Teach Your Children Well” (I love that song).
Teaching others the skills you have learned over your life is a fantastic way to stimulate your brain and improve memory in middle age.
Teaching requires memory recall and concentration, which enhances long-term memory and boosts brain health.
Improve Your Memory and Improve Your Life
Now you know 19 remarkable ways to improve memory (+ 5 newly discovered) that you can use to boost your brain power and lead a happier and more memorable life.
You started this journey a bit unsure of the forgetfulness you were experiencing.
You weren’t sure if there was an issue with your memory or if you could be at risk for something more severe.
But now you know.
You have everything you need to keep your brain in tip-top shape and improve your memory for years.
Let’s get started today!
The phrase “Book “em Dano” was a line from the T.V. Show Hawaii 5-0.
- What helps to Improve Memory?
A healthy diet, proper sleep, and exercise are just a few of the ways that help improve memory. Leading a healthy lifestyle improves body health and, in turn, improves brain health.
- Can ADHD improve memory?
ADHD is a condition, but the methods used to treat ADHD in children help improve memory. Mnemonics, visual associations, and sensory cues all help to improve brain function and memory recall.
- How do you improve your memory as you age?
Reading, completing puzzles, and exercising are fantastic ways to improve memory as you age.
- What foods boost memory?
Green leafy vegetables, salmon and cod, and a diet free from processed foods with high fat and calories are the best foods to boost memory.
- At what age is your brain the sharpest?
Your brain is at peak performance between 18-20 years of age. But, scientists have discovered that we can improve memory and brain function throughout our lives.
- How can I improve my concentration and memory while studying?
Chewing gum and alternating fist clenching are two newly discovered ways to help improve memory while studying.