Improving the Memory Naturally
The mind is a formidable database. The information stored in that database is one of our most valuable assets. Improving our memory, then, is one of the most important ways to make the most of the human mind.
Holistic approaches might have the answer to improving memory function. Because the holistic philosophy seeks to treat a person as a whole — rather than as a collection of symptoms, such as plain forgetfulness — it is particularly well suited to enhance the faculty of memory. By addressing the various dimensions of memory, from the physiological to the behavioral, these key holistic techniques can dramatically improve your memory.
- Food is one of the most powerful influences on memory.
A diet high in antioxidants, for example, can help protect brain cells involved in memory from age-related damage. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, and flaxseed can help slow cognitive decline in adults. Similarly, olive oil is known to improve memory with its omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, while raw honey calms nerves and relieves anxiety to promote relaxation and rest, which is essential for effective memory.
Foods that are rich in polyphenol compounds are also associated with increased brain signals and enhanced memory. These foods include chocolate and most fruits and vegetables. Fruits with the highest polyphenol levels include blueberries, strawberries, walnuts, and Concord grapes. At the same time, patients with a deficiency in B vitamins and folate demonstrated forgetfulness, memory loss, confusion, dementia, and depression. Stocking up on fish, poultry, whole grains, and leafy vegetables will help you get the B vitamins you need.
- Herbs have long been cited as a powerful memory aid, though scientific research has demonstrated mixed results. Still, signs point to some key benefits.
One study revealed that a combination of ginseng and ginkgo biloba was the most effective formula for increasing brainpower. A preparation of 60% ginseng and 40% ginkgo was the most effective formula when it came to improving the memory of the study volunteers.
Rosemary is another herb famous for its effects on memory. Several studies have explored the effect of the herb’s scent in particular. One study, in particular, concluded that participants exposed to the scent of rosemary essential oil demonstrated a significant improvement in performance on memory-related tasks.
The use of herbs in a targeted and responsible way can help multiply the effects of other memory-enhancing techniques.
- Actively interact with your memories. Effective memory is also a matter of approaching our information in the right way.
Several techniques can immediately improve memory. Grouping similar concepts together and relating new information to old memories are two powerful ways to improve retention and recall. By establishing relationships between new ideas and existing memories, the mind can better retain and apply its data. At the same time, teaching new ideas to other people — which requires recall and focus, and helps refine and reinforce your existing information — is another powerful way to improve memory. Actively seeking out new information, rather than just passively absorbing it as it comes, also helps in the coding of new information.
These techniques focus on the behavioral and mental processes associated with memory, another powerful way to improve this dynamic faculty.
- Manage your stress.
Stress is one of the greatest barriers to a strong memory.
Stress hormones are known to influence the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain that governs high-level “executive” functions such as working memory and decision-making. One recent study discovered that repeated stress causes a significant loss of glutamate receptors, which reduce cognitive processes carried out by the prefrontal cortex. The researchers in the study also found that if they blocked the mechanism causing this reduction, they could prevent the stress-induced decrease in memory.
Countless other studies arrive at similar conclusions. They all point to the basic fact that stress is a chief enemy of an effective memory. What is more, both chronic stress (stress experienced over a prolonged period of time) and acute stress (high, short-lived stress experienced in the fight-or-flight response) both significantly impair memory. Reducing stress by relaxing, meditating, taking structured breaks from work, and exercising can go a long way in improving retention and recall.
Keep Your Mind Healthy
Together, these techniques can have a profound effect on the overall quality of our memory. The right foods and herbs address the biological basis of memory, while a proactive approach to processing information addresses its mental and behavioral aspects. Lifestyle changes, meanwhile, can help manage stress and boost memory capability, creating stronger and more accessible information. Memory is a multi-dimensional faculty, and these holistic techniques can help address it from all angles. Further, healthy habits like these will help lower cholesterol and increase energy levels along with improving memory function.