People often talk about “healthy lifestyle choices” and how it can improve their lives and prevent disease. This is effective when the message is short and to-the-point. Although those conversations may change your life, they go in one ear and out the other. This article is all about getting into the details of what healthy lifestyle means. As well enumurate the various lifestyle choices and exactly the effects of lifestyle choices on memory health.
Having a sharp memory has a host of benefits, both for work and in our personal lives. However, there are many factors that can affect our memory, including our lifestyle choices. From what we eat to how we stimulate our brains, all of these things can either help or diminish our ability to remember information when we want or need to.
Lifestyle Choices Effect on Your Memory health
Talking about effects of lifestyle choices on memoery, one needs to understand that these same lifestyle choices can also affect our chances of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, and specifically, Alzheimer’s disease. On a positive note, there are also ways to strengthen our brain health and lower our risk for memory loss and cognition decline as we age.
Have you ever walked down the grocery aisle, looked at the ‘healthy’ healthy food, and found yourself wondering if you really needed those extra fruits, or veggies in your basket? Well I certainly have. My question isn’t necessarily one of our own health (although I do eat a salad almost everyday), but rather, our ability to perform at work. Let’s face it, throughout the course of our workday, we perform a number of cognitive tasks that require high-level thinking. Whether it’s working on a fancy proposal for an important client, or just answering emails…we need to be cognitively available.
Here are different lifestyle choices that can either benefit or cause damage to our memory.
Several presented studies show that our diet directly affects our brain health. Researchers believe that having a healthy diet, particularly one that consists of eating foods that are low in cholesterol, can positively affect heart health, which in turn also improves brain function, such as memory.
Foods that contain omega-3 and green leafy vegetables that are high in antioxidants are proven to benefit the brain.
Since diabetes has also been linked with Alzheimer’s disease, doctors believe that reduced consumption of simple and refined carbohydrates, such as products containing large amounts of white sugar, can also help preserve cognition and overall brain health.
Stress, even just momentarily, can impair memory and cognition. Being stressed makes it difficult for us to process information and store it effectively in our brains. It can also affect what we can remember from what really took place. This is one reason eye-witness accounts are not always reliable, although stress may enhance short-term memory in some cases.
Chronic stress can cause damage to our long-term memory, making it difficult for us to correctly remember things that happened in the past or suddenly forget things that have been known to us for a long time. One concrete example of this would be new mothers. New moms, who are constantly tired and sleep-deprived, often forget important details.
Physical Activity Lifestyle Choices
Exercising regularly will not only keep your body toned, but it can also slow and prevent cognitive decline, including memory loss.
We all know that exercising can boost our mood. It can also sharpen our focus when doing cognitive tasks. Regular physical activities can help improve the mental functioning of older adults, especially those who are already showing signs of early onset of brain decline.
Exercising can also help improve heart health, which in turn can also slow down the incidence and effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases. Studies show that having high blood pressure can further damage our ability to retain information. Obesity has also been linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
You don’t have to be a gym rat to enjoy the brain benefits of exercising regularly. Simple cardio activities, such as walking, jogging, swimming, or even gardening, can greatly help.
Smoking And Memory Health
Smoking is noe of the lifestyle choices that impact badly on yyour memory health. The negative effects of smoking, particularly to the lungs and cardiovascular system, have long been proven. Aside from those health concerns, research has revealed that smoking can affect memory, too. Because smoking causes damage to blood vessels, the amount of oxygen delivered to the brain is reduced, making it difficult for the brain to function
Smoking cigarettes has been shown to have negative effects on memory health, both in the short- and long-term. In the short-term, smokers may have difficulty paying attention and recalling information. They may also have trouble with multitasking and decision-making. In the long-term, smoking can lead to memory loss and dementia.
Smoking not only harms your own health, but also the health of those around you. Secondhand smoke is linked to a variety of problems, including memory problems.
Drug Abuse – One of The Dangerous Lifestyle Choices
The abuse of drugs, legal and illegal, can have a profound effect on memory health. Drug use can lead to brain damage and memory problems, as well as other mental health issues.
Drugs can cause changes in the brain that lead to memory problems. For example, alcohol abuse and other hard substace like methamphetamine, heroin, morphine, MDMA (ecstasy), or cocaine can damage the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that helps store memories.
This can lead to blackouts, or periods of time where a person cannot remember what happened. Drug abuse can also cause problems with executive functioning, which includes things like planning and decision making. This can make it difficult to remember things like appointments or deadlines.
Drug abuse can also lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression, which can impact memory. When someone is struggling with mental health issues, they may have trouble focusing on tasks or retaining information.
New, Challenging Hobby
A new hobby can bring more than just something to do during your extra time. Studies show that developing a new hobby or taking up classes can greatly stimulate the brain, resulting in slower brain decline and improvement in memory.
However, this new hobby of yours has to be challenging for you to truly see improvement. In a recent study, participants who took part in classes that are new to them and are perceived to be challenging improved their working memory, even long after their classes. Meanwhile, participants who only did mildly challenging activities, such as watching a movie or doing an easy crossword puzzle, showed no improvement in their memory.
Our ability to retain and recall information is a skill, which means that we can further enhance and improve it. By working our way towards a healthier and more active lifestyle, we are not only improving our physical health, but we are also sharpening our brain and, of course, our memory.
The Bottom Line
While it is crucial to do things such as exercise and eat a healthy diet, there is still no one solution for memory health that works for everyone. In order to maintain optimal memory health, you need to find the things that work for you and the way your mind functions. You can never “fix” a poor memory – instead, you may want to focus on mitigating factors that contribute to poor memory or stave off age-related decline in cognitive function.