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Six Memory Tips

These tips are for people young and old. It is true that memory loss often comes with old age, but that doesn't mean it's always a result of getting older. Often there are specific causes, and a declining ability to remember things can be halted and sometimes reversed. You can start with these six tips.

1. Learn to relax more.

Cortisol, which at high levels interferes with the part of the brain that handles recent memories, is released when you are stressed. That crucial brain has even been shown to shrink after long periods of chronic stress. What can you do? Start by taking several deep breaths through your nose several times daily, while letting the tension drain from your body. You might also learn to meditate, and practice regularly.

2. Quit smoking and avoid smoke.

Cigarettes are linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and even before there is a diagnosis, there may be reduced blood flow to the brain. This means reduced oxygen to the brain, which decreases brain function in general, and memory specifically.

3. Reduce brain toxins.

Most illegal drugs are toxic to the brain, but so are many prescription medications. These drugs have been associated with memory loss after prolonged use: Lithium, digitalis, reserpine, Inderal (propanolol), Aldomet (methyldopa), and Tagamet (cimetidine), as well as some high blood pressure medications.

4. Eat well.

Many nutritional factors affect memory and general brain function. For example, brain function can be negatively impacted by a deficiency in vitamin B-12, folate and niacin (Vitamin B-3). Think your memory lapses might be due to deficiencies? You can have a blood test to check the levels of these vitamins in your system, or try taking some good supplements to see if that brings improvement.

5. Get brain exercise.

Perhaps one of the easiest of these memory tips to put into practice, this can also be one of the more important ones. Learn something new, or start an intellectually challenging hobby or activity. It has been shown that even doing crossword puzzles regularly slows the decline of age-related memory loss.

6. Protect that brain case.

Severe head trauma can cause loss of brain function. No surprise there. But the evidence is growing that the cumulative effect of repeated minor injuries can do the same kind of damage. Put on that helmet when bicycling or in any situation where your head might get hurt.

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