Is an aging brain really the cause of memory loss? Research is now proving that lifestyle plays a significant part in getting brain fog in later years. Chemicals and other toxins, poor diet, lack of sleep and stress hurt your memory. But healthy habits can help grow new neurons in the brain's hippocampus, your memory centre that regenerates even into your 90s.

Here are 6 Healthy Tips to Improve Your Memory

  1. Get a check-up. Heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and hormone imbalances (low estrogen in women, low testosterone in men, and thyroid hormone issues) have all been linked to memory loss. Depression symptoms often include forgetfulness. Poor gut health (candida overgrowth or chronic gastrointestinal upset) can be a culprit since there is close connection between imbalanced intestinal flora (bacteria) and abnormal brain function. Medications – everything from allergy drugs to antidepressants – can impair memory.
  2. Choose carbs carefully. For mental stamina and memory-retention, choose complex carbohydrates that fuel your brain. Whole grains (spelt, kamut, quinoa, rye, brown rice, oatmeal) in cereal, baking and pasta, and legumes (lentils, peas, beans) are required to deliver proteins to the brain’s neurotransmitters. Nix refined grains and simple carbs (white bread, semolina pasta, potato chips, pastries) because research shows that these carbs eaten regularly can greatly increase the risk for cognitive impairment as you age.
  3. Practice mindfulness. Having complete mental focus on each simple task that you accomplish in your day has been proven to increase productivity, create peacefulness, and improve memory. This is because it lessens distracting thoughts. Multi-tasking (like talking on your phone while putting groceries on the counter and putting down keys that get misplaced) does the opposite. If you don’t spend the time required to absorb even simple pieces of information to your memory, you’ll be forgetful. 
  4. Move your body. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain, and reduces stress hormones that can impair memory. Also, during exercise, “neurotrophic factors” are released that stimulate your nerve cells to multiply, and protect them from damage, which benefits brain functioning. Studies show that middle-aged people who do aerobic exercise regularly actually expand the size of their brain's memory centre (hippocampus) — scientists initially thought that area grew smaller with age.
  5. Make friends. Studies show that friends are brain boosters ─ and they don’t have to be smart people! Since we are highly social beings, relationships stimulate our brains, and interactions may offer the best kind of brain exercise. Those people with strong support systems have the slowest rate of memory decline. Friends also help to keep stress in check, by making you laugh and offering hugs, and chronic stress is detrimental to brain cells and the hippocampus. 
  6. Get enough shut-eye. Research shows that sleep is necessary for “memory consolidation,” with the key memory-enhancing activity occurring during the deepest stages of sleep. One good night sleep or mid-day nap, even after a few mediocre nights’ zzzzs, positively impacts your memory the next day. Sleep loss changes genes that affect “brain growth” (synaptic reactions stimulated by events/information) that may be responsible for your brain's capacity to remember.

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