8 ways to improve your memory

Posted at 03/16/11 4:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines - It's normal to forget important dates or a name when making introductions, but if it happens too often and starts to cause you trouble, chances are you're having memory problems.

This does not only apply to older people. Dr. Michelle Anlacan, a consultant neurologist at The Medical City in Pasig City, said there is also a growing number of youngsters who suffer from poor memory, primarily because they tend to pay less attention to things.

"Their most common problem is attention. They're not paying attention to what they were doing or what they were thinking at that time. There are so many things going on. We like to multitask and it's not really a good thing for our brain," Anlacan said in an interview on Mornings@ANC on Wednesday.

She added, "There are things that you cannot do because of this memory problem. If you are an accountant, you can't be an accountant anymore if you can't do your balancing and accounting. Those are impairments and disabilities that we watch out for."

Stress, depression, vitamin deficiency, circulatory problems, age, alcohol or drug use, sleep disorders and head injury are some of the factors that may cause memory problems.

Anlacan said, however, that it's not yet too late to prevent this. Here are her 8 ways to help sharpen our memory:

Be organized. This will lessen your chances of misplacing things and forgetting deadlines.

Pay attention. Instead of multitasking, try to finish one thing first before doing another. Multitasking causes you to pay less attention, which may lead to memory problems.

Be on top of things. Try to learn to do things on your own instead of depending too much on other people, such as your secretary.

Do something different. Learning a new dance or language will help sharpen your memory.

Exercise. We like to exercise to keep our blood flowing, but we also have to exercise our brains. Try to engage in different mental games such as sudoku and crossword puzzles.

Eat more fruits and veggies. You don't have to go out of your way to buy things that claim to improve your memory. Just eat your vegetables and fruits -- the more colorful the better -- and you should be okay. It's best to have these occupy more than half of your plate during meals.

Sleep more. Your body needs to rest so it can take in and retain more information. Get a good night's sleep, or take a quick nap on weekends or during your free time.

Take care of your head. Any head injury or head bump may increase your risk of memory problems. If this happens, see a neurologist, especially if you lose consciousness.