The natural aging process involves a gradual decline in memory and cognitive abilities, such as forgetting where you placed an item or struggling to recall specific words. These mild cognitive impairments may be a normal part of aging, but it’s important to make efforts to enhance brain health in everyday life.
According to a study by the psychology research team at the University of California, San Francisco campus, cognitive abilities related to multitasking and processing speed typically peak around the age of thirty and then gradually decline.
Instead of worrying excessively about occasional memory lapses, it is crucial to develop smart lifestyle habits that can improve concentration, focus, and overall cognitive function for a longer period. Drawing from information provided by reputable health and medical sources like “Healthline,” we explore healthy habits for enhancing memory.
- Reduce Multitasking: While multitasking may appear productive, our brains are not designed to concentrate on multiple tasks simultaneously. Multitasking can lead to increased stress, reduced efficiency, and a higher likelihood of errors. Stress promotes the release of hormones that disrupt short-term memory, affecting both study and work performance. It is advisable to focus on “monotasking,” which means performing one task at a time. If possible, allocate specific times to check your smartphone or emails during work rather than constantly attending to them, thus improving the efficiency of monotasking.
- Nutrition for Brain Health: Nutrition plays a vital role in enhancing daily memory and focus by reinforcing the process of acquiring and retaining information. Antioxidant-rich berries and beetroot, which contains nitrate, enhance blood flow, ensuring the brain remains in a sharp state. Additionally, a study focusing on curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, revealed that individuals consuming curcumin showed improved memory and concentration compared to those in the placebo group.
Maintaining a balanced diet and avoiding prolonged hunger are also essential. Feeling hungry can lead to the state of being “hangry,” characterized by irritability. Decreased blood sugar levels and negative mood affect concentration and decision-making. Since the brain relies on glucose as its primary energy source, it is crucial to replenish it with appropriate food to maintain optimal cognitive function.
- Engage in Regular Exercise: Physical activity improves blood circulation, ensuring the brain receives sufficient oxygen and nutrients. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois, adults aged 55 to 80 who engaged in energetic walking sessions for 40 minutes, three times a week, showed a 2% increase in the size of the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center, compared to the control group.
- Recall Memories Before Resorting to Internet Searches: It has become common to immediately turn to internet searches when unable to remember something. This habit, developed with the advent of smartphones, does not benefit our cognitive abilities significantly. Many individuals exhibit “digital amnesia,” where they struggle to remember trivial information due to their high reliance on smartphones.
According to cognitive scientist Dr. Sarah Mednick, the human brain is a “use-it-or-lose-it” machine. Continuously learning new things and engaging in the process of recalling information activates brain regions associated with memory, such as the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. While internet searches may be necessary for tasks requiring speed, making an effort to recall information without relying on the internet can help improve memory. So, when time permits, reduce dependence on internet searches and stimulate memory recall through personal effort.
By adopting these practices, individuals can actively contribute to maintaining and enhancing their memory and cognitive function, promoting overall brain health in the long run.