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Habits to keep your memory sharp

By age 60, more than half of adults will have concerns about their memory. There are ways to slow the decline of your memory, however.

What you eat, drink, whether you exercise and your levels of stress can all have an impact on your memory.

Research in the area suggests there are a number of things you can do every day to keep your mind fine-tuned.

Regular exercise can improve memory recall. In particular, studies show that regular exercise can improve spatial memory – the type of memory that lets you know where you are or where you are going at any given time. Routine exercise has been proven to improve cognitive abilities besides memory, as well as being highly beneficial for your physical wellbeing. Healthy body, healthy mind.

Working memory acts as an instant ‘cue’ card, where new information is temporarily held while you are working with it. Once a memory is no longer useful, you will usually let it go entirely. If it has future use, you transfer it to your long-term memory for later recall.

For most adults, the maximum we can hold in our working memory at any one time is about seven items. However, meditation has the potential to strengthen your working memory and improve your ability to recall extra information. Meditation does this by switching off your brain, which sounds paradoxical, but an empty mind eases the stress and helps by reducing the ‘noise’ surrounding a memory – therefore making it easier to find in your brain’s long-term filing system.

Change your diet
Research from the University of Reading and the Peninsula Medical School shows that eating fresh berries may help to slow down memory loss. A study found that supplementing a daily diet with blueberries might improve the performance of working memory, which, in turn, may prolong information recall in the long term.

Blueberries, in particular, are high in flavonoids that may strengthen existing connections in the brain. More research is needed to back these findings, but the health benefits of eating fresh berries go beyond improving working or long-term memory – they’re good for you regardless.

Eating several servings of fruits and vegetables can also protect memory. Foods from plants are chock full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that may protect against age-related deterioration throughout the body.

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to maintain good memory. In fact, believe it or not, most of our memory consolidation occurs when we sleep. Research has shown that sleep deprivation also affects our ability to store information, making it difficult to learn new things or to retain any information that we process. It goes without saying then, that poor sleep patterns lead to a poor memory. So, if you ever needed an excuse for an afternoon nap, now you have one.

Do you have any tips for maintaining memory? Why not share them?

Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner. 

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Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.
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