Memory is essential in shaping who we are. Memories are the map of our life. And, as they say at Harvard University, “it creates our internal biographies, the stories we tell ourselves about our own lives.”
Therefore, losing your memory as you age is a dramatic situation. And that ultimately means losing one’s own identity. Plus, it affects virtually every aspect of life, from shopping to spending time with loved ones.
Although certain genetic diseases can contribute to memory loss, it is also true that there are healthy habits and activities that can help us, from a young age, to prevent memory loss in old age. Improving our concentration can also improve our memory.
As Harvard explains, some of the lifestyle changes that come with age to prevent cardiovascular disease also serve to improve memory. So we have two for one: stop smoking, drink alcohol in moderation and sporadically and minimize the consumption of sugars and ultra-processed foods.
Eliminating bad habits is part of the puzzle that improves memory. This must be supplemented, they say from Harvard, by new healthy habits. For example, “we can eat foods that help our memory, such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, tea, coffee and oily fish.” All, according to the American University Department of Health, improve health while strengthening the brain.
Regular exercise to improve memory
It seems obvious, but exercise is our body and brain’s best friend. According to Harvard, its regular practice promotes the growth of brain cells and the production of neurotransmitters, which improves our memory. “A mix of aerobic (cardio) and strength training exercises is preferable,” they recommend.
Additionally, exercise is beneficial for our sleep hygiene. “If you don’t get enough sleep, you risk damaging your cognitive abilities and memory,” warn American academics. Therefore, they recommend, it’s best to try to sleep between seven and nine hours a day. And exercise can help you do just that.
Take care of your mental health to prevent memory loss
One way to keep your brain young, they say at Harvard, is to challenge it throughout your life. Stimulation and learning are essential in this regard. “Traveling, learning new languages or playing an instrument, giving art or cooking classes, doing puzzles or playing board games improve the growth of new cells in the brain,” they indicate.
Meditation and controlling stress levels are also essential to take care of the brain. Just like, they say, maintaining good social relationships.
Taking care of your mental health is also essential for improving memory. “If you think you are suffering from depression, seek help from a doctor,” they insist. In addition, they assure that it is vital, as we age, to review with the family doctor the possible side effects of certain medications, including memory loss, and to see how to avoid them.
Consult a specialist to preserve your memory
Frequently checking hearing, vision, cholesterol levels and blood pressure is essential to avoid abnormalities that, according to Harvard, “can easily cause memory loss” or cognitive decline.
Additionally, remember that there are many exercises that can be done to improve memory. And they recommend, if in doubt, to consult a specialist. “Neurologists have developed different activities that can help you memorize names, pending tasks, data and other information,” they point out from Harvard.
Neurologists are therefore those who can best guide and advise you on this path to improving memory.
I’m a big fan of short stories about people – I’m a pro at tech and smartphones, serial literature, and writing in my spare time.