Drop these bad health and fitness habits to protect against memory loss

The sensory overload we get from being bombarded by emails, social media, and an around the clock supply of digital entertainment through streaming services means we often subject ourselves to overstimulation. How we perceive the world and our lives online affects how and how well we remember things, a 2021 study published in the Sage Journal suggests. 

Coupling overexposure to the online world with brain fog, the very real aftermath of Covid for some, where they suffer from poor concentration and fuzzy memory, it’s worthwhile to understand how our day to day habits can negatively affect memory. 

Numerous studies have shown ways to preserve and boost memory; here we look at some of the habits to drop to help keep our minds sharp. 
#Get moving

#Turn off the television

#Drop the junk food

According to a report from Harvard Health Publishing, staying physically active is key to a sharp memory. Between 120 to 150 minutes of moderate exercise can help fend off inflammation, reduce insulin resistance, and boost heart health, which contributes to brain cells’ overall health and promotes the growth of new blood vessels. 

More importantly, the report suggests that those who exercise regularly have greater volumes in the brain regions that are associated with memory. 

The good news is, it’s never too late to get moving; studies have shown improvement in brain function and volume with just six to 12 months of moderate exercise. 

Photo: Shutterstock

Instead of getting active, many of us fall into the trap that is our couch. With the likes of Netflix feeding us with a constant stream of content, it’s easy to fall into this lazy pattern. Though enjoying a bit of time in front of the television seems harmless enough, a University College London research found that it harms memory in those 50 and above.

Those spending more than 3.5 hours in front of the television a day recorded a loss of language memory over six years. These individuals lost up to 10 per cent of their verbal memory compared to just 5 per cent loss among those who consume less television programming. 

Photo: Shutterstock

We’ve all experienced a crash in productivity after a heavy lunch and how too much sugar can destroy or focus. But these foods have long-term damage to the mind as well. According to an Australian study published by the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society, scientists recorded significant weight gain and long-term memory impairment in rats that consumed a sugar-heavy diet for just one week. 

The good news is, plenty of foods boost memory, from omega-3 rich salmon to inflammation-busting turmeric. Most recently, a study found that cranberries effectively lower bad cholesterol and keep dementia at bay. 

The University of East Anglia (UK) study indicates eating one cup of cranberries a day is positively linked to better memory among those between 50 and 80 years old. These findings come as no surprise as other berries like blueberries, which are also rich in anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, are said to be rich in antioxidants that can slow the ageing of the brain. 

Also see: 5 scenic hikes in Hong Kong for every fitness level