Taking care of your brain health is a smart way to preserve and even improve your memory. (The other is to learn memory skills.) The brain responds to the environment you provide.
If you eat poorly, don't exercise, and miss out on restful sleep, your brain can't operate at its best. And your memory will suffer.
To improve the health of your brain, incorporate as many of the following principles in your life plan as possible. Make changes in your lifestyle so these become habits, second nature:
Brain Foods. Eat antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries and asparagus, lean protein such as fish, healthy fats including eggs and nuts, and high-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables. And drink lots of water! It's a winning combination for the brain.
Healthy Body Weight. You might find this surprising, but being overweight is associated with memory loss, learning impairment, brain shrinkage, and even increased risk of dementia. Study after study has demonstrated this. So get your weight under control if you can.
Brain Games. Play brain games for at least 10 minutes every day. Depending on which games you play, this strengthens brain skills including memory, concentration, problem solving, thinking speed, and mental flexibility.
Cardio Exercise. Perform intense cardiovascular exercise several days per week. This stimulates neurogenesis (brain cell growth) in memory areas of the brain including the hippocampus.
If you sit hours a day at a computer, consider investing in a treadmill desk. It's not intense cardio, but according to research you'll enjoy a boost to memory, attention, and even longevity.
Healthy Diet. What you eat affects your brain power. Too much fast food, soda, and other empty or harmful calories is guaranteed to slow your brain and hurt your memory.
Meditation. Benefits of mindfulness meditation include stress relief as well as better concentration, working memory, self control, and long-term memory.
Memory Loss. Correct any bad habits or medical conditions that might be causing loss of memory. Take steps to protect your brain against Alzheimer's disease and other age-related forms of dementia.
Restful Sleep. Get sufficient restful sleep to consolidate memories and provide mental energy. Modify your sleep schedule as appropriate, and use sleep aids if needed.
Stress Relief. A high level of stress impairs learning, memory, and judgement. Manage your stress, first by understanding how stress affects your brain and your health. Then take steps to relieve the stress in your life.
Vitamins & Supplements. Take memory-boosting vitamins and supplements as needed to provide your brain with extra nutrients that may be missing from your diet.
As you can see, there isn't a single approach to optimizing brain health. You have to approach the goal from many angles. Work consistently to make progress in these areas over time.
Taking care of your brain health is only half the battle. As the ancient Greeks and Romans knew and wrote about, the direct powerful way to improve your memory is to learn and use memory techniques. You can learn more about these techniques and other habits for improving your memory on my memory skills page.
Last Updated: 1/30/2022