We live in the digital era, where we are exposed to too much information.
Information overload can make it difficult to concentrate on tasks.
Besides, in the modern world, distractions are just a mouse click away, with the desire to frequently check Facebook and Twitter feed or catch the latest episodes on Youtube.
Concentration is essential when learning new things, meeting deadlines, and increasing performance.
On the other hand, your busy schedules may take a toll on your memory.
While it is normal to forget time to time, poor memory can be really annoying.
However, lifestyle and diet can improve memory unless it is part of a medical condition.
If you are looking to improve memory and concentration, you will need to make changes to your lifestyle habits.
Here are some proven ways and tips that will help you improve concentration and retain information.
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5 Techniques To Improve Memory And Concentration
Fuel the brain with the right foods
The brain needs fuel to function properly.
Eating certain foods while avoiding others is an important strategy in improving long term memory.
Choose proven-memory diets
Some diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, and MIND diet have been proven to have memory-enhancing properties.
Mediterranean diet is a healthy diet supported by science.
Research 1 shows that individuals who follow this diet have improved memory, live longer, and have low cases of Alzheimer’s disease.
It improves memory and concentration and lowers age-related cognitive decline.
It encourages the daily intake of healthy fats, vegetables, whole grains and fruits, weekly consumption of eggs, fish, poultry and beans.
Also, it encourages taking plenty of water and moderate use of red wine.
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet
This diet encourages whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, nuts and legumes.
Researchers from Utah State University report that individuals who follow the DASH diet have a slower rate of mental decline and a better attention span.
This diet aims to lower blood pressure; high blood pressure is a common risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The MIND diet is a blend of both Mediterranean and DASH diet [Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet].
It encourages taking 10 cognitive boosting foods and limiting 5 foods that lower brain function.
This includes taking fish, poultry, olive oil, wine, green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, whole grains, beans, and other vegetables.
Limit red meat, pastries and sweets, butter and stick margarine, cheese, and fast foods.
Take plenty of water
Hydrating the brain is vital in enhancing memory and concentration.
The brain constitutes 73 percent water; water is significant in removing toxins, delivering nutrients to the brain, and acting as a shock absorber for the brain.
This enhances concentration and focus.
Research shows that it only takes 2 percent dehydration to impair brain function, including lowering attention, immediate memory skills and psychomotor skills.
Ensure to take at least eight to ten glasses of water each day.
Limit added sugar
Added sugar is associated with chronic diseases, poor body functions, and cognitive decline.
A 2016 study 2 shows individuals who take a lot of added sugar have lower brain volume and poor memory.
Refined sugar may cause reduced attention span, depression, poor memory formation and short term memory.
Ensure to check food and drink labels for added sugar and limit the intake of those with added sugar.
Often companies use the name high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, fruit juice concentrate, and raw sugar, among others, to mean added sugar.
Use alcohol moderately
Alcohol may have a positive or negative effect on the brain, depending on the amount.
Too much alcohol may cause problems with cognitive functions, especially memory and concentration.
Research shows that repeated binge drinking damages the hippocampus, a brain region that plays a significant role in memory.
However, moderate intake of alcohol may improve memory; this means one drink for women and two drinks for men per day.
Moderate intake of alcohol lowers the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
Increase your intake of memory/concentration enhancing foods
Sticking to a healthy diet is beneficial to your brain; however, certain foods stand out when it comes to improving memory and improving concentration.
Most of these foods reduce free radical damage, improve blood flow to the brain, stimulate the release of brain chemicals, and form the structural component of brain cells.
They include cocoa, walnuts, blueberry, avocadoes, lutein, cold-water fatty fish, curcumin, sea vegetables, olive oil, coconut oil, peppermint tea, and caffeine.
Be physically and mentally active
Physical activity significantly contributes to your concentration levels and memory skills.
Research shows that individuals who exercise for about 75 minutes and 225 minutes each week have increased attention levels compared to those who lead sedentary lives.
Regular exercise is linked to improved memory and reduced risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
Exercise increases concentration and memory in all age groups.
Additionally, brain games have been proven to increase memory recall and concentration levels.
Word-recall games, jigsaw puzzles, scrabble, crosswords and other online brain training programs have been shown to enhance concentration, memory, problem-solving and memory recall.
Engage in mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness meditation involves deep breathing techniques, body relaxation, awareness of body and mind, and mental imagery.
Research shows that individuals who practice mindfulness have improved concentration levels and better memory.
Besides, it is associated with a reduced risk of age-related mental decline.
Engage in mindfulness by taking deep breaths and paying attention to your surroundings.
This will help to accelerate concentration and improve information processing.
Have plenty of sleep
Sleep deprivation may impact your memory and concentration negatively.
Sleep helps to consolidate short term memory into long term memory.
Therefore, lack of sleep may make it difficult for the brain to form new memories.
Research 3 shows that individuals who take naps or sleep enough performed better in memory tests compared to those who did not sleep.
Adults need at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep to enhance their mental health.
Have ‘green breaks’
There has been overwhelming support of natural environments in boosting concentration.
Taking nature walks in the park, sitting in your garden, or having plants in your office may boost your concentration levels, productivity and satisfaction.
Research shows that a 15 to 20 minutes walk in the park improves concentration and memory compared to walking in an urban setting.
Besides, it has been seen to help in brain development in children.
A 2014 study showed that including plants in the office improved employees’ productivity by 15 percent.
You may not have house plants, but ensure to take a walk in the park or somewhere green to improve on mental productivity and concentration.
Memory and concentration can be improved by making some changes to your diet and daily routines.
For example, you can practice brain games, take nature walks, practice mindfulness, take memory boosting foods, limit refined sugar, take plenty of water, and have quality sleep.
There are many ways to boost memory and concentration; you can start with our five proven ways and watch your cognitive function blossom.