How To Keep Your Memory Sharp As You Age

by Kim GreeneMarch 2, 2022

Table Of Contents

30-Second Summary

It’s no secret that age plays a part in cognitive decline. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it though. In the following article, we will be touching on:

How age affects the brain and memory center

What lifestyle changes you can make if you want to improve your memory

How you can improve your memory in the here and now

How you can preserve your memory as you get older

Foods to eat that may be able to improve memory and preserve it

Whether or not memory supplements can help

Understanding Age’s Role In Memory And Cognitive Decline

As the saying goes, Father Time is undefeated. The fact is that there is no getting around some of the changes that are inevitable with age. What’s important is understanding what to chalk up to normal aging and what needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

The brain is capable of producing new cells no matter how old you are. But the rate at which it can do so will depend on a few things, such as your lifestyle choices, diet, and regular habits. Some degree of cognitive decline is to be expected and is natural as we get older.

For example, if you find yourself forgetting the name of one of your long-time colleagues or misplacing items around the house more often as you get older, this is not necessarily a cause for alarm. The fact is that this kind of stuff is common and not necessarily indicative of any serious cognitive problem.

The brain is a lot like other parts of your body: as you get older, it’s harder for it to regenerate. This is why minor memory lapses like the ones described above occur. Even following the best tips to improve memory may not be enough to stop these slight memory lapses from emerging from time to time.

This is because the hippocampus, the part of your brain responsible for memory recall, naturally deteriorates with age. As of now, there is no way to stop this decline. The hormones that protect and help regenerate new brain cells also diminish with age. Again, this is natural.

Natural, but not necessarily a cause for alarm. While you should be very mindful of what types of memory lapses you are experiencing, minor ones are all part of the natural and healthy aging of the brain. As we get older, the brain isn’t able to function like it did when we were young – much like our bones, joints, skin, and muscles.

When we are young, the hippocampus is spry and resilient – recalling information in an instant and holding on to everything like a steel trap. Memory retention and memory recall decline with age because the brain is less capable of regenerating cells. Blood flow also plays a part in age-related memory decline.

Older people tend to have a lack of blood flow to the brain. Less blood to the brain usually results in impaired memory and changes in cognitive ability.

5 Methods To Improve Memory At Any Age

While some things are inevitable, there are ways you can improve your memory right now and keep it sharp in the future. Let’s take a look at 5 effective methods:

Quit Smoking – Smoking is detrimental to brain health in general because it inhibits the ability of blood cells to deliver oxygen to the brain. So one of the most important tips to improve memory right now is to cut down or quit smoking.

Stay Physically Active – Staying active isn’t just beneficial for your physical health, 

high-quality studies have also shown that regular exercise can improve memory and cognitive ability.

Eat Memory-Friendly Foods – Some of the best foods for memory include fruits, vegetables, green tea, and fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon as it contains the brain-friendly fatty acid, DHA.   

Use your Brain – Perhaps the best way to improve memory is to engage in brain-challenging activities regularly. Read, write, play an instrument, learn a new recipe, learn a new language, or play crossword puzzles. Using your brain is ultimately what will keep it active and healthy as you age. Do your best to limit your television-watching time and other mundane tasks that more or less lull your brain to sleep. Passive activities like this have no benefit for your memory or your brain.

Get Good Sleep – Easier said than done, we know, but scientists and researchers agree that another best way to improve memory is to get enough good quality sleep. You can try sleeping earlier or drinking herbal tea before bed to help you fall asleep quicker and get deeper restful sleep in general.

A Word On Brain Supplements

There are a lot of supplements out there that claim to be “nootropic” or good for memory. The fact is that there are indeed quality supplements that contain the natural compounds that are generally healthy for brain function. For instance, antioxidants are very healthy for the brain, and some supplements like Neuriva contain antioxidants and other genuinely beneficial nutrients.

However, everyone’s brain is different, so brain supplements like Neuriva are not universally beneficial. At the very least, not everyone will experience the same brain benefits from taking the same supplement. In the worst case, some of these supplements can be harmful. That’s why it's so important to speak with your doctor or specialist about any supplement you are thinking of taking.

Some Final Thoughts

It’s important to remember that what is healthy for your body is generally healthy for your brain and will help preserve your memory. Avoid highly stressful situations as much as possible, limit drinking and smoking (or quit altogether), don’t isolate yourself, stay social, and drink plenty of water.

A healthy lifestyle will be beneficial for your body and your brain. With just a few small changes, you can be doing your memory and yourself a big favor

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