Memory loss, also known as amnesia, occurs when a person loses the ability to remember information and events they would normally be able to recall. It could be something that happened seconds or minutes ago, or a memorable event that occurred in the past. The loss of memory may have occurred suddenly, or it may have been getting worse over the last year or so.
It’s normal to become a bit forgetful as you get older. Memory loss can be distressing for the person affected, and their family.
No matter what your age is, you can stop the decline and even reverse some loss by making positive lifestyle changes.
Here are few strategies to to improve your mental agility and sharpness:
Include physical activity in your daily routine
It is said that physical fitness and mental fitness go hand in hand. People who exercise on a regular basis stay sharper even in their 70s and beyond. Physical activity increases the blood supply to your brain which in turn sharpens your memory. It also reduces your risk of the chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and stroke which can lead to memory loss.
Exercise your brain
Your education level is the most striking character that indicates how strong your mental functioning is! As you learn more and more, you stay mentally active, and that keeps your memory strong. However, you can be an active learner irrespective of your level of education. You need not put very ambitious efforts, but just keep yourself updated with the current affairs. Play games which challenge your brain such as chess, crossword puzzles, etc.
Eat a healthy diet
Foods rich in anti-oxidants can decline the memory loss. So, try to have fruits and vegetables every day (black raspberries, blueberries, and raisins). Mediterranean diet can prevent memory deterioration and dementia. Include green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, fruits, etc. in your diet. Low levels of glucose in the brain can also impair the memory power, so prevent these dips in your blood glucose levels by having meals at regular intervals (five times in a day).
Stay away from saturated fats (repeatedly used oil, meat, etc.) and fried foods which can clog your arteries by increasing the cholesterol levels. This makes your brain cells inefficient and can damage your brain function. Instead, go for fat-free or low-fat foods.
Put down the cigarette pack and alcohol bottle
Smokers find it difficult to remember the names or faces of even those people whom they come across in their daily lives. It is not very clear how smoking impairs memory. Possibly the increased risk is due to the narrowing of the blood vessels leading to stroke and hypertension with smoking. Also, smoking is common in depressed people whose memory gets impaired in a faster rate. Alcohol consumption in excess can lead to confusion and memory impairment over a period of time.
Reduce your stress
The stress hormone ‘Cortisol’ tends to shrink the memory centers in the brain leading to an impaired memory. Stretches and certain relaxation techniques can manage your stress levels. Start with yoga, meditation, massage, hot baths, or listen to music, spend quality time with your friends and family members to avoid stress.
Get a good sleep
Sleep is good for overall health. Although the amount of sleep required varies with the individuals, an average of 6-8 hours of a quality sleep at night is essential for a memory consolidation.
You can improve your sleep by establishing and maintaining a fixed schedule. Avoid coffee especially before bed time as it can stimulate the brain and you may find it difficult to fall asleep. Avoid long naps in the afternoon as it can disrupt your night’s sleep. You may drink warm milk before bed to have a sound sleep.
Take vitamin supplements
Vitamins C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene can protect the memory cells from the free radicals by neutralizing them. Consuming carrots, citrus fruits and almonds can help you obtain the desired amounts of the above vitamins to prevent dementia (memory loss disease).
Few tips to overcome the common memory lapse problems
- If you are having trouble remembering the names of people you come across, use his or her name frequently when you talk to the person. Think of those people having the same name or associate the meaning with a relevant image.
- If you regularly misplace things such as your vehicle keys, glasses, etc. make it a habit to put them in a specific place. Take a look at the place you have kept the object, to recall the image when you are searching for it.
- If you can’t remember what people say, either ask the person to repeat the same or ask him/ her to speak slowly for you to concentrate better.
You may prepare notes of your to-do-list every day so that you do not miss doing any important tasks. You may set remainders or alarms if you have to do any tasks at a particular time.
Consider adopting these preventive lifestyle changes so that you slash your chances of developing the memory loss and maintain a strong memory for the years to come. Never see memory loss as an inevitable aging disorder. It is never too early or too late to start trying! Seek a doctor’s help if your memory loss is affecting your daily activities. Your doctor will perform a physical examination to check your memory status and provide treatment to prevent further damage.