Five Easy Ways to Improve Your Memory

Memory is something that many of us tend not to think about until events in life bring it to the forefront of our minds. But whether it is an exam or a shopping list, occasionally we need a bit of extra help in recalling information we took in only a few moments ago. Here are five ways you can improve your memory recall.

1.     Omega-3 supplements

Fish oils are rich in fats that can benefit a person’s overall health. Omega-3 can reduce the risk of health problems including heart disease, anxiety and memory problems in old age. [i]

Research has found that omega-3 and fish oil supplements help to improve memory. [ii] One meta-review of research on fish oil found that the supplements improved episodic memory in adults who were previously experiencing memory loss.

2.     Good sleep habits

Everybody has experienced the foggy head that comes with not getting enough sleep, at least once in their lifetime. Getting enough sleep can be one of the best things you can do to keep your memory performing at total capacity.

Sleep is essential for giving our brains the time to consolidate memories. During rest, the short-term memories we formed during the day are processed and converted into long-term memories. Unfortunately, not getting enough sleep can throw a wrench in the works and negatively impact your memory.

In one study, a group that got plenty of sleep performed up to 20% better on memory tests than those who did not have time to sleep before the tests.[iii] [iv][v]

3.     Vitamin D supplements

Most of us know vitamin D as the sunshine vitamin, as our bodies produce it when we spend time out in the sun. It is a vital nutrient, and being deficient can lead to health problems, including a memory decline.

In one study, participants who were vitamin D deficient had more trouble with memory and cognitive tasks than those who were not. [vi]

Not having enough vitamin D is surprisingly common among people who live in colder climates, where there is less sunlight during the day. Supplements can be helpful, but make sure to see your doctor if you suspect that you have a vitamin D deficiency.

4.     Curcumin

Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that belongs to the polyphenol family of compounds. As an antioxidant, curcumin has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

The research found that curcumin limits damage and inflammation caused by oxidative free radicals in the brain. [vii]

 An additional benefit comes from preventing the formation of amyloid plaques. Amyloid plaques cause damage to neurons in the brain and may cause Alzheimer’s disease. [viii]

Early testing of curcumin’s effects shows that it may increase memory and slow cognitive decline in animals. [ix]

5.     Exercise

Frequent exercise has a wealth of benefits for both body and brain. For example, recent studies show that exercise can help to boost memory formation and recall. [x]

In one study, exercise caused the brain to release proteins that protect neurons and increase neurons’ growth. When it comes to memory, having healthy neurons is essential.[xi]


[i] Su K-P, Matsuoka Y, Pae C-U. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Prevention of Mood and Anxiety Disorders. Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience [Internet]. 2015 Aug 31 [cited 2021 Jul 30];13(2):129–37. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4540034/

[ii] Yurko-Mauro K, Alexander DD, Van Elswyk ME. Docosahexaenoic Acid and Adult Memory: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Reddy H, editor. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2015 Mar 18 [cited 2021 Jul 30];10(3):e0120391. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4364972/

[iii] Potkin KT, Bunney WE. Sleep Improves Memory: The Effect of Sleep on Long Term Memory in Early Adolescence. García AV, editor. PLoS ONE [Internet]. 2012 Aug 7 [cited 2021 Jul 30];7(8):e42191. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3413705/

[v] Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, Bliwise DL, Buxton OM, Buysse D, et al. Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: A Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. SLEEP [Internet]. 2015 Jun 1 [cited 2021 Jul 30]; Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4434546/

[vi] Miller JW, Harvey DJ, Beckett LA, Green R, Farias ST, Reed BR, et al. Vitamin D Status and Rates of Cognitive Decline in a Multiethnic Cohort of Older Adults. JAMA Neurology [Internet]. 2015 Nov 1 [cited 2021 Jul 30];72(11):1295. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26366714/

[vii] Cole GM, Teter B, Frautschy SA. NEUROPROTECTIVE EFFECTS OF CURCUMIN. ADVANCES IN EXPERIMENTAL MEDICINE AND BIOLOGY [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2021 Jul 30];197–212. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2527619/

[viii] Serrano-Pozo A, Frosch MP, Masliah E, Hyman BT. Neuropathological Alterations in Alzheimer Disease. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine [Internet]. 2011 Sep 1 [cited 2021 Jul 30];1(1):a006189–9. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3234452/

[ix] Monroy A, Lithgow GJ, Alavez S. Curcumin and neurodegenerative diseases. BioFactors [Internet]. 2013 Jan [cited 2021 Jul 30];39(1):122–32. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3578106/

[x] Hogan CL, Mata J, Carstensen LL. Exercise holds immediate benefits for affect and cognition in younger and older adults. Psychology and Aging [Internet]. 2013 Jun [cited 2021 Jul 30];28(2):587–94. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3768113/

[xi] Baek S-S. Role of exercise on the brain. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation [Internet]. 2016 Oct 31 [cited 2021 Jul 30];12(5):380–5. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5091051/


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