How to … sharpen your memory at any age

Font Size:

Many people fear losing their memory as they grow older. While genetics do play a large role in this, your habits, diet and lifestyle also have a tremendous impact on your cognitive health and sharpness.

Incorporating these small changes into your lifestyle have been shown to improve memory at any age.

Shown to improve your sleep, mood and memory, meditation is accessible and easy to incorporate into your daily routine, even if you’re pressed for time. One study found that just four days of mindful meditation improved brain function, visuospatial processing and working memory.

Eat omega-3 fatty acids
If you haven’t noticed yet, YourLifeChoices loves to talk about omega-3 fatty acids and the best ways to eat them. My personal favourite – for both health and flavour – is the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to reduce risk of eye disease, lower women’s risk of stroke, help treat depression and add years to your life. Fish has been identified as the most important element of this diet, largely because it contains so many omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to boost energy and slow cognitive decline. Mackerel, salmon, cod liver oil, herring, oysters, sardines, anchovies and caviar are all great sources. If you don’t enjoy fish, omega-3 can also be found in hemp seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds.

Keep busy
People with fuller days exercise their minds and challenge their memory more often. One study of 300 subjects aged between 50 and 89 found that those who reported having busier lifestyles performed better in cognitive function tests.

Research conducted by the University of British Columbia found that walking briskly for one hour just twice a week can increase the size of your hippocampus – the part of your brain that helps with learning and memory. The same is true for other forms of aerobic exercise such as swimming, cycling and rowing.

Monitor your blood pressure
According to MoneyTalksNews, high blood pressure is associated with a high risk of cognitive decline later in life. It can also reduce blood flow to your brain, impairing your memory and cognitive function. Moderately high blood pressure has been linked to dementia.

Work out your brain
The expression ‘use it or lose it’ is just as true for your brain as the rest of your body. In order to keep your mind sharp, you need to regularly exercise and challenge it. Learning a language, picking up an instrument or practising new skills will help to keep your mind and memory sharp.

Eat berries
Flavonoid-rich berries such as blueberries and strawberries have been shown to improve memory. A 2012 study conducted by Harvard researchers found that they are especially effective at preventing declining memory in women. The Global Council on Brain Health also highly recommends that people aged 50 and over incorporate berries into their diet.

Sit in the sun
A 2015 study found that older people with healthy memories or only mild cognitive decline had higher levels of vitamin D than those with dementia. You can absorb vitamin D by spending time in the sun or by eating eggs and oily fish.

Quit smoking
A 2011 study found that on everyday memory tests non-smokers consistently outperformed smokers. If you want to sharpen your mind, it may be time to quit smoking. The study also found that people who gave up smoking performed nearly as well as those who never smoked, showing that significant improvements are possible.

Are you concerned about age-related cognitive decline? What do you do to improve and preserve your own memory?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

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

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy


Foods that are good for your heart and your waistline

A heart healthy diet is good for your ticker and your tummy.

How to create a healthier you, boost your memory and reduce stress

Mindfulness coach Melo Calarco explains a simple technique to boost your wellbeing.

Written by Liv Gardiner


Total Comments: 6
  1. 3

    A good rule to follow, so that you never forget to do ‘stuff’ is, DO IT NOW. OR, WRITE IT DOWN.

  2. 1

    Write it down, good idea. Now where did I put that bloody pen?

  3. 0

    I have no qualifications, but these ideas may be worth trying if you can afford these special dietary (berries, oily fish, chia, etc) recommendations etc tho most old age pensioners probably can’t!
    Besides, how are these & probably most foods in everyones diets these days grown – ie chemicals, preservatives, steroids/growth hormones, etc (farmed fish)?? Could this be part of the problem? But how do we access more natural chemical free food, i can’t catch any type of regular fish for nuts, let alone a wild caught salmon or mackeral, etc.
    Besides, I’m sceptical that these things mentioned in article make that much difference anyway, but especially if genetics are a factor. My dad (& his mother) both had dementia & both had low blood pressure. Both were very active, worked very hard all their lives (& had many social interests etc) & they probably wouldn’t have even had the chemicals, etc in their natural/whole foods diet either.

  4. 0

    My mum as dementia. Before lockdown in the uk she had a great social life with friends from the local pub. Now because of the uk covid lockdown downs she is in the final stage of dematia, sleeps and hardly eats.

    • 0

      I feel for you. My aunt is in the UK – no family there either. She’s been in almost total lockdown for so long now……. She had her first COVID shot which made her feel very unwell for about 10 days and now says she is severely depressed due to the lockdown and her isolation. It’s SO very hard on the aged and they have no time left to take in the rest of their lives and us younger folk do. I’m so very sad too, as I have no way to visit and give her some company. She’s 90 in May. Best wishes to you and your mum. 🙁



continue reading


How to … fall back asleep

Waking up at night and struggling to get back to sleep can be stressful and exhausting. According to WebMB, around...


Curing the incurable: Why some patients make astounding recoveries

As a GP and someone who works in the holistic health field, Dr Jerry Thompson has long been interested in...


The 'ism' that's rife and no, it's not okay

Ageism, like all 'isms', creates a social hierarchy and disadvantages people based on an aspect of their diversity. Compared to...


When conversations become a competition

Australia has a well-deserved reputation for being a very competitive nation on the world stage. Perhaps it dates back to...


Wakey wakey - a history of alarm clocks

Matthew S. Champion, Australian Catholic University Australians are returning to our normal rhythms. The first beats of the day are...


The top-selling-souvenir from every country in the world

Do you buy souvenirs to remember your overseas holidays? If so, we imagine you have been looking at these very...


ACCC to keep a keen eye on travel issues this year

Australia's consumer watchdog expects to have its hands busy dealing with COVID-affected travel complaints this year. In his annual address...


Cruisers turn to superyachts to satisfy their cruise cravings

Typically, Australia is one of, if not, the biggest cruise market in the world. It wasn't so long ago that...