Everyone experiences the occasional bout of forgetfulness. You can be shopping for groceries and suddenly find yourself being unable to remember the food items you were supposed to buy for tonight’s dinner or you can be sitting for a very important exam and just as you are about to put pencil to paper, your mind chooses that exact moment to blank out. Sounds familiar, eh?
Forgetfulness can be oh-so-frustrating, which is why we at HealthToday decided to share some simple yet effective ideas to help you stay mentally sharp.
Yes, you read that right – socialize. Social interaction can help stave off anxiety and depression – two factors which can cause memory loss. So, the next time you are invited to a social gathering, don’t reject the offer. Even better, take the first step and organize group activities (eg, trekking, camping or picnicking) in which you and your friends can participate.
It’s called sweet slumber for a reason. Ensure you get sufficient rest every night (an average of 7-8 hours) as inadequate sleep can impair your ability to focus, learn and retain new information.
Multitasking may seem like a good trait in our busy world but it can actually dampen memory. Instead of trying to do two or more things at once, focus on a single task. This way, your brain can have enough time to encode information. Studies show that our brain requires eight seconds of intense focus to process and commit a piece of information to memory.
Yes, even our memory benefits from a healthy diet! Brain-boosting foods include whole grains, vegetables and fruits that are high in antioxidants (eg, kale, cherries and spinach). Also, eat more oily fish (eg, salmon and tuna) as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Green tea is also great for memory as it contains polyphenols which can protect brain cells from free-radical damage.
Supplements such as vitamin B complex, vitamin E, omega-3 and ginkgo biloba are claimed to have memory-boosting properties. Some researchers say that ginkgo can increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain resulting in better memory and mental performance. If you’re thinking of taking supplements to improve your memory, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Treat pre-existing conditions
We aren’t just talking about cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s; medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes have also been associated with cognitive decline. Another condition which may have an effect on memory is hormone imbalance. For instance, thyroid hormone imbalance can result in forgetfulness or mental sluggishness.
Healthline. Available at www.healthline.com
HelpGuide. Available at www.helpguide.org
Mayo Clinic. Available at www.mayoclinic.org
Prevention. Available at www.prevention.com
PsychCentral. Available at www.psychcentral.com
WebMD. Available at www.webmd.com
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