Natural Ways to Boost Your Memory as You Age


Did you know that nearly 40% of people 65 and over experience some form of memory loss? As we age, becoming a little forgetful is perfectly natural. That said, there is a difference between forgetting where you put your car keys — now and again — and consistently forgetting a friend’s name.

It is estimated that approximately 569,600 people in Canada alone are living with dementia. In the province of Ontario, around 200,000 citizens experience this form of memory impairment. 

According to an article by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, the number of Canadians who are affected by dementia is projected to rise to 1.1 million by 2038 as the population ages. This will no doubt place a strain on both individual caregivers and professional services offering Toronto dementia care.

Genetics plays a small role in memory loss as well as in neurological conditions like dementia and other forms of Alzheimer’s. But diet and lifestyle can make an impact, too. 

Here are a few natural ways to boost your memory and delay memory loss as you age.

Regular Physical Activity

A study by the American Academy of Neurology found that “people who were highly engaged in activity patterns such as frequent exercise had a 35% lower risk of developing dementia compared with people who were the least engaged.”

Depending on ability, some forms of activity suited to seniors and older adults are:

  • Aqua Aerobics: Community centres with swimming pools often offer senior-specific classes for low-impact aerobics.
  • Chair Yoga: Like aqua aerobics, chair yoga is a fantastic low-impact workout. YouTube offers some great free tutorials.
  • Walking: A walk around the block, a familiar building or down the halls of a retirement community is a great way to get some steps in. Walking can also lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer.
  • Tai Chi: While Tai Chi is traditionally a Chinese martial art that’s practiced for defence training, it’s a powerful tool for senior exercise; it helps improve flexibility, muscle condition, and endurance.
  • Dance: Dance is fantastic for seniors. It can be an activity that’s participated in either standing or seated position. Dancing also buoys the spirit and can inspire joy.

Healthy, Nutritious Eating

It’s no secret that healthy eating is fantastic for physical health. But maintaining a healthy weight and diet is also important for mental health and memory.

In addition to embracing a nutrient-rich, healthy diet, there are a few specific food types that can be cut back or added. 

Consume Less

Added Sugar: These shouldn’t be confused with naturally occurring sugars(such as those found in fruits). Research has shown that a sugar-heavy diet can lead to poor memory and reduced brain volume, particularly around the area of the brain that stores short-term memory.

Alcohol: While it’s okay to have a drink now and again, heavy alcohol consumption has a neurotoxic effect on the brain. Neurotoxicity occurs when the brain is subjected to toxins. This exposure can alter the activity of the nervous system and even disrupt or kill neurons. Neurons are important cells that transmit and process signals in the brain. Furthermore, consistently drinking can harm the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a part of the brain that plays a key role in memory.

Refined Carbs: Carbs occur in lots of food and can be hard to avoid. Refined carbs have a high glycemic index. This means that they boost the sugar levels in our blood which may damage your brain function over time. 

Consume More

Cocoa: An easy way to get a cocoa fix is through dark chocolate. Much like fruit and vegetables, cocoa has a high level of antioxidants that may help improve memory.

Nuts and Natural Fats: Due to their anti-inflammatory benefits, naturally occurring fats and Vitamin E content, nuts have been attributed to healthy brain function. Walnuts are said to be especially good for memory as they contain a high level of omega-3 fatty acids.

Pursue Mental Stimulation

There are mountains of evidence to suggest that people who regularly exercise their brain — be it academically or socially — are less likely to experience memory loss and even dementia. 

Some easy-to-actualize ways of mental stimulation are:

  • Reading.
  • Playing a musical instrument and reading music.
  • Volunteering with a local community group.
  • Knitting or crocheting and reading patterns.
  • Joining a choir.
  • Attending weekly coffee mornings.
  • Meditating. 

There’s a stigma, and even fear surrounding memory loss and dementia — around 56% of Canadians say that they’re concerned about being affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

To help, keep in mind that small changes can make a difference. Be mindful of dietary choices, take time for regular exercise and factor in mental stimulation into your day-to-day.


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