Each one of us experiences some amount of memory lapse once in a while. The event or incident is considered natural because retention of memory is directly related to the amount of attention we pay to the received stimuli and the manner in which we perceived it. Perceived information remains in the memory bank only for some milliseconds. It is only when we pay attention to it that the imprinting mechanism in the brain stores it permanently.
But the ability to recall information depends upon many factors. Emotion, for example, has a great impact on memory. Emotional events tend to leave lifelike images within the mind and are therefore easy to recall. Memory is also dependent upon the state of an individual’s mental and physical health. There are many ways to enhance memory, and these range from nutrition to exercise to memory supplements to cognitive memory aids. All are known to aid in storage and recall of information.
Nutrition plays an important role in the maintenance of memory, and it has been observed that there is a very low incidence of age-related memory loss and mental conditions like Alzheimer’s in India, where the yellow spice turmeric is used extensively in preparing curries.
Saturated fats cause inflammation of the brain due to free radical damage. Free radicals in the body are high-energy particles that bounce wildly and damage cells. Unsaturated and Omega 3 fatty acids, on the other hand, are more protective. Salmon, sardines and flaxseed are good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Antioxidants contained in vegetables and fruits are also known to combat free radicals and have been known to be effective in preventing brain damage.
Physical exercises including aerobics are important, as they increase the need for oxygen. Mental exercise is also equally important for memory enhancement, as it keeps the brain working. Solving puzzles, learning new skills and getting involved in current affairs increases neural connections, which are important for memory storage and recall.
The education system too has undergone a paradigm shift, and the system now uses cognitive memory aids to ensure more permanent learning and knowledge. The rote system of education was based on learning through repetition. This was not only boring, but also caused a lot of suffering to students. Cognitive aids are systems that focus on making the learning process interesting so that better and easier retention of information can be ensured. There are also technological devices that are meant for memory enhancement of people suffering from memory loss due to advanced age.
Natural memory enhancement can also be achieved through herbal products for memory. Ayurveda and Chinese medicine have very effective herbs for use as nerve tonics.