Natural methods to improve your short-term memory

Isn’t it frustrating when you enter a room because you need to get something, then immediately forget what you came in there for? Everyone has moments of forgetfulness from time to time. It’s called short-term memory loss, and it can be inconvenient and embarrassing.

Your short-term memory is where you store small bits of information usually for only 15 to 30 seconds. You use your short-term memory to remember things temporarily, such as a phone number you need to immediately jot down. It also acts as your brain’s filter, deciding what information to keep and what to discard. Short-term memory keeps your brain from being overwhelmed with useless information.

Short-term memory loss is not just inconvenient, it can also be dangerous if you are doing tasks such as cooking or driving. Fortunately, you can improve your short-term memory with natural methods.

Preventing memory loss with healthy diet and nutrition

A healthy diet is key to improving your overall health, which includes your memory. And when speaking of healthy diets, you can never go wrong with following the Mediterranean diet. It is generally considered to be one of the healthiest diet plans.

A Mediterranean diet consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts, as well as fish and seafood, and moderate consumption of poultry, eggs and dairy products. Meats and sweets are generally consumed much less frequently.

But if you want to specifically focus on improving your memory, there’s no sweeter way to do it than eating some chocolate. Dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa) has the most brain-enhancing benefits. A study at Harvard Medical School found that drinking two cups of hot chocolate increased blood flow to the brain for two to three hours and improved working memory test scores by 30 percent.

Another superfood that has been traditionally used to treat memory loss and dementia is ginger. Ginger contains flavonoids and antioxidants which may help protect memory and brain health by lowering oxidative stress and inflammation.

If you want to protect your brain from short-term memory loss, one food that you need to avoid is white sugar. Sugar increases brain inflammation, damages neurons, and raises blood glucose levels which affects your short-term memory, attention span, and mood. Eating too much added sugar has been linked to many health issues, including cognitive decline.

While certain foods are rich in nutrients, taking supplements is also a key part in keeping your brain healthy. There are certain supplements that enhance cognitive performance. Some of them include:

  • Fish oil — Fish oil supplements are an excellent source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid. DHA helps maintain the structure and function of your brain. Fish oil has been shown to improve working memory in young adults by 23 percent.
  • Curcumin — Curcumin is the main bioactive compound in turmeric. Studies have shown that curcumin can improve working memory, mood, and attention.
  • American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) — American ginseng is another known cognitive enhancer; research shows it gets to work quickly to improve short-term memory and reaction times within a few hours after taking a single dose.

Techniques to improve memory

Regular physical exercise not only keeps your body healthy, it is also a key lifestyle habit for a good memory. Cardio exercises improve short-term memory and prevent deterioration of the hippocampus, the brain’s primary memory center. Even just 20 minutes of low-intensity exercise is ideal. Another low-intensity exercise that’s good for short-term memory is walking outdoors.

Other techniques that may help improve your short-term memory include:

  • Meditation — Meditation trains your brain to focus on the present. Even beginners in meditation can experience improvements in working memory, energy and mood.
  • Write it down — Jotting down something requires concentration and will further help you remember.
  • Say it out loud — If there’s a name, number, or other information you need to remember, repeat it several times either out loud or to yourself.
  • Avoid multitasking — Doing one thing at a time can help your brain focus on retaining a memory.

Most importantly, getting enough hours of sleep is critical for your physical and mental well-being. Lack of quality sleep will affect your memory, creativity, judgment, and attention.

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