We have all experienced some memory problems from time to time. You may have forgotten where you left your car keys or missed an appointment. This is fairly common but there are various ways in which you can improve your retention and recall; this is outlined below. Poor memory is often considered a “normal” part of aging, but this is not so. If you are otherwise healthy there is no reason to expect a decline in your mental function. However, a healthy diet and lifestyle and plenty of mental stimulation is required to keep your memory sharp.
If your memory loss is more extensive then there may be an underlying cause including:
- nutritional deficiencies
- hormonal imbalances such as an underactive thyroid or menopause
- alcoholic brain damage
- drug or heavy metal poisoning. Regular use of marijuana will greatly affect short term memory
- poor circulation to the brain due to disease of the cerebral arteries can cause memory defects so it is important to take care of the circulation
Conditions which affect attention and concentration, like depression or anxiety, will also interfere with memory, because if any material to be learned is not registered and assimilated properly, you will have no hope of recalling it later on. Memory loss can also be a symptom of Alzheimer’s Disease (see Alzheimer’s Disease) or other dementias. Any significant memory problems should be investigated by your doctor.
Treatment and general recommendations
If you tend to be generally forgetful, here are some simple tips to help you remember things:
- Write notes or lists for yourself.
- Use visual cues. For example, stickers can come in handy to stick in an obvious place where you will see them. A sticker on your toothbrush will definitely remind you of that dentist’s appointment, or one on the dashboard of the car will ensure you pick up that package after work.
- Talking to yourself can be helpful, such as “I’m putting my car keys on the windowsill”.
- A lot of us have trouble remembering people’s names. When you are introduced, say their name out loud and make a conscious effort to register it in your memory bank. You may choose to associate their face with some visual cue. For example, a woman named Elizabeth can be imagined dressed up as a queen, or a man named Michael with Mickey Mouse ears on his head! This sort of visual association can be used to remember other things as well. To recall the name of your heart tablet ‘digoxin’, you might imagine an ox digging in a field. The sillier the picture the better!
- Be predictable and always put things like glasses and keys in the same place.
- Keep your brain active by reading, problem-solving and recalling past events.
- Reduce stress through regular exercise, meditation, yoga or relaxation exercises.
- If you suspect you may be suffering from heavy metal poisoning, hair mineral analysis can determine if this is the case. A sample of hair that includes the most recent growth close to the scalp is taken, usually from around the nape of the neck, and sent to an appropriate laboratory.
- Finally, motivation is vital for good memory. Students obviously have the motivation to learn new information in the form of wanting to pass exams. For the rest of us we may need to create a motive, such as remembering the contents of a newspaper article because it would be of great interest to your brother.
- “The Liver Cleansing Diet”. Follow the principles of eating in this book and make these principles a way of life.
- “Alzheimer’s – What you must know to protect your brain”. This book includes a 4-Point program with brain boosting foods and recipes, brain boosting supplements, lifestyle improvement and brain games to strengthen the brain.
- Follow the general healthy eating principles in the “Liver Cleansing Diet book.
- Include often – free-range eggs, wild caught fish, pastured meat and poultry, nuts and plenty of raw foods.
- Avoid – refined sugars, grains, omega 6 rich industrial seed oils, processed foods, ‘junk’ foods.
- Essential fatty acids trigger the release of the neurotransmitter cholecystokinin in the brain, which helps to ‘fix’ new information in the memory. Eating seeds and nut butters and taking evening primrose oil would be a suitable way of consuming such fatty acids.
Recommended supplements for memory problems
Take 1-2 capsules daily with food – selenium supplements can improve brain function and cerebral blood flow to boost memory.
- Fish Oil
Take 2 capsules two or three times daily – Omega 3 fatty acids are found in large quantities in the healthy human brain.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.
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