Memory is one of our most precious assets, apart from being our diary and personal agenda, thanks to it we can carry out processes as basic as processing the information that comes to us through the senses. Remembering the things that happen to us is only one of its functions but it also allows us to work with the information and thus understand it , it retains the data long enough so that we can assemble the stimuli that come to us one through another and be able to draw a meaning. Therefore, it is very important to keep it.
Unfortunately with age, memory deteriorates, as in many diseases such as Alzheimer’s . This process is irreversible once it begins but we can do something to reduce its effects as much as possible. If we train our memory we will be slowing down the process of cognitive deterioration that people with dementias have and also the natural deterioration that all of us will suffer as time passes. On the other hand, you should also take into account that there are other factors that affect memory such as using certain types of medication, cardiovascular diseases or diabetes.
Memory can be improved in many different ways but in general if we lead healthy habits we will have less chance of it deteriorating over time, or at least not as much as originally.
1. Eat a good diet
There are foods that are especially recommended to strengthen memory and cognitive ability in general.
– The nuts. Have you noticed that these nuts are shaped like a brain? It seems a coincidence, doesn’t it? Well yes, walnuts are rich in polyphenols, nutrients that help prevent oxidative stress and thus ensure that our brain stays young for longer.
– Ginkgo biloba. Seen as a prodigious vegetable for its medicinal properties, although there are some scientists who are skeptical that it is really that beneficial. It is a tree native to Japan, eastern China and Korea, one of the oldest in existence and famous for being prescribed by neurologists to reduce the effects of cognitive degeneration . It is assumed that if we take the extract of this plant we will improve the irrigation of our brain, favoring its oxygenation, therefore our memory and intellectual functions in general will improve. They also improve the symptoms of these patients such as dizziness, headaches, changes in character, etc.
– Bruise. Supplement derived from the root of maca. Contains type B vitamins, fiber, essential minerals and minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus … Recommended for increasing brain flow and improving memory and concentration.
– Blue fish. Fish that are rich in omega-3 type polyunsaturated fats improve our ability to remember and in general cognitive functions. Some fish that contain it are salmon, mackerel and sardines.
2. Get enough sleep
To better remember and promote mental activity, it is advisable to sleep the necessary hours. When we rest we are consolidating memories and we select what information to keep and what to discard from our brain. A study led by Rebeca MC Spencer from the University of Massachusetts reveals this.
3. Get regular physical exercise
According to Kirk I. Ericson of the University of Pittsburgh, practicing aerobic exercise on a regular basis is able to increase the size of the anterior hippocampus, thus improving the person’s spatial memory . It does not have to be high intensity aerobic exercise, just walk quickly to begin to notice the effects. It is highly recommended especially for older people who cannot be exposed to high intensity exercises.
4. Use mnemonic rules
These rules are used to remember complicated data that would otherwise take a lot of time and effort to do. They are based on association, basically a memory must be associated with an image or other memory that we have already recorded in our memory. To create them, words, rhymes or numbers are usually associated to remember other things. For example, to remember the symbols of the periodic table in a certain order we can create a phrase, for example for group 1: H, Li, K, Rb, Cs, Fr ( Today Lina Kiere Stealing Francisco’s Heart ).
5. Practice meditation
A study published by Mzarek and colleagues in 2013 at the University of California revealed that meditation helps improve people’s working memory if practiced regularly, in fact there were improvements after just two weeks of training. The experimental group made up of students obtained higher results in concentration, working memory and reading comprehension.
6. Focus attention
It is related to the latter. When you want to remember something in particular, you should focus your attention only on that, forgetting everything that is around. You should never start multitasking because half of the information will end up being lost . Remember that the fewer distractions we have around, the more likely it is to focus on what we want to remember, so before starting to study something it is advisable to do it in a quiet environment.
7. Do mental exercises
You should not only train your body physically but also mentally. How? Practice easy mental exercises every day. Sudoku puzzles, crosswords, memory exercises, find the differences games, mazes, word searches, etc. help slow down cognitive decline. Other activities that require reading and writing will also benefit you.
8. Use concrete memorization techniques
There are techniques that can improve memory if they are practiced every day as the “memory palaces” can be, they are techniques that some important speakers such as Cicero used to give their speeches. It is about imagining a room decorated with pictures, sculptures or pieces that help us remember other things. It is useful to remember speeches or texts that we have to write. For example, you can associate each paragraph of a text with an image, so that you only remember the room, you can remember the main ideas. However, this particular technique is not recommended for everyone, it is complicated for the elderly., with the beginning of dementia or very low cultural level, being easier to learn by young brains.