6 of the best ways to improve your memory and brain health

Brain Health

by Baylor Scott & White Health

May 8, 2023

Despite any age differences, we all have something in common—who wouldn’t want a better memory and a sharper mind? That desire grows stronger in many of us as we grow older and our bodies age. These biological changes include loss of brain mass and a breakdown of neurotransmitters, the brain chemicals that send messages between cells. These changes could mean decreased short term memory, as well as an increased risk for types of dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease.

Today, health experts know that the decline in brain health can be slowed and that new neurotransmitter connections can be made by training the brain—at any age.

Follow these tips to help you improve your memory and your brain health.

Exercise regularly

Researchers have long linked exercise to better brain health, crediting it with improvements in cerebral blood flow that increase brain metabolism. This in turn stimulates the production of neurotransmitters and the formation of new synapses. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that you strive for at least two and a half hours of aerobic exercise a week.

Stay socially engaged

There’s ample proof that strong relationships contribute to longer, healthier lives. Maintain close friendships and go out of your way to meet new people. Engage in conversations with friends and family. That’s critical to memory because if you did not hear it and process it to begin with, you won’t recall it later.

Challenge your brain

One of the keys to improving your memory is to test yourself, which goes beyond reading. You need to be able to recall and apply what you learn. Some suggestions are to play a recall game after reading to see what specific facts you can remember.

Challenge yourself with problem-solving puzzles. Participate in real-life activities, such as learning a musical instrument, picking up a new hobby or volunteering. Or get the best out of brain exercise and social interaction—play games with friends, debate policy or recite poetry and book excerpts from memory.

Eat essential foods for the brain

Foods high in essential fatty acids and foods high in antioxidants, such as vitamins E and C, help protect the brain. For the best diet for brain health, follow the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention

for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet:

  • Fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, at least once per week
  • At least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable daily
  • Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries at least twice per week

Focus on reducing stress

Stress can damage the brain’s memory center. Give yourself some time every day to do something that you find relaxing, and consider stress-reducing activities such as exercise, meditation or yoga. Talk to your doctor if you’re having difficulty managing stress in your life.

Get restorative sleep

Restful sleep is critical for good memory function and can reduce your risk of dementia. Sleep six to eight hours each night. If you’re experiencing trouble sleeping, ask your doctor for help.


You can start maximizing your memory and improving your brain health by following these few simple ideas to create some very beneficial habits. Talk to your doctor about more ways to keep your mind, body and spirit strong as you age.


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