Ask the Experts

Garden City Hospital is here to help. Now you can browse, search and view answers to frequently asked health questions. Have a personal health question you need answered? We can do that too! Simply submit your question and we will get it to the appropriate GCH health expert for an answer.

Ask the Experts is for general information purposes only. It should never be thought of as medical advice or treatment, nor should it be used in place of a thorough medical screening or an exam by a licensed medical professional. Medical advice should be sought from an emergency room, urgent care center, or licensed medical professional. If you need help finding a physician, use our online physician directory to locate a Garden City Hospital Health Expert that’s right for you.

Check the Sunday issue or your local O&E for more answers from the GCH Health Experts.

Note: Questions are selected both randomly and based on relevance or frequency. Not all submitted questions will be answered. Answers will be posted on GCH.org and not supplied directly to the submitter. To maintain personal privacy, we do not require any personal information be given to submit questions.

Q

Lately, I have noticed I have been forgetting where I put my keys, parked my car, and people’s names. It bothers me. What can I do to give my memory a boost?

A

Attention is a major component of memory. In order for information to move from short-term memory into long-term memory, you need to actively pay attention. Distractions, such as television, music and multitasking make retention harder, which leads to mistakes and other issues. A strong memory depends on the health and vitality of your brain. Here are three simple rules to improve yours.

1. Get plenty of sleep and exercise. Just as an athlete relies on sleep to perform his or her best, your ability to remember increases when you nurture your brain with good rest and other healthy habits. Treating your body well can enhance your ability to process and recall information. Physical exertion increases oxygen to your brain and reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss. Exercise also enhances the production of helpful brain chemicals that protect brain cells. When you’re sleep deprived, your brain can’t operate at full capacity. Creativity, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking skills are compromised. Whether you’re studying, working, or trying to juggle life’s many demands, sleep deprivation is a recipe for disaster.

2. Eat a brain-boosting diet. You probably already know that a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, “healthy” fats (such as olive oil, nuts, fish) and lean protein will provide lots of health benefits, but such a diet can also improve memory. For brain health, it’s not just what you eat, it’s also what you don’t eat. Incorporate plenty of Omega -3s and DHA, along with more fruits and vegetables into your diet, while limiting calories and saturated fat.

3. Keep your stress in check. Stress, along with depression and anxiety, is one of the brain’s worst enemies. Over time, if left unchecked, chronic stress destroys brain cells and damages the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in the formation of new memories and the retrieval of old ones. Meditation can improve many different types of conditions, including depression, anxiety, chronic pain, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Meditation also can improve focus, concentration, creativity, and learning and reasoning skills.