7 Ways You Might Be Hurting Your Memory Every Day

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Man cooking on a stovetop
buritora / Shutterstock.com

Taking care of yourself includes taking care of your brain, and everyday activities and behaviors directly impact your brain’s health.

Currently, about 5.8 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number is expected to balloon to 14 million by 2060.

So, it’s important to take steps to reduce your risk. Let’s get into some important habits that you might be missing and that could be hurting your memory every day.

1. Not taking a multivitamin

Man taking supplements
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Just one gummy or pill a day could protect your memory. Researchers at Mass General Brigham conducted two studies and found that taking a daily multivitamin supplement corresponds with significant memory and cognition benefits in adults age 60 and older.

Participants had improved episodic memory (a type of long-term memory) when taking a multivitamin. The multivitamin appeared to slow cognitive decline by an estimated two years compared with the participants who took a placebo.

Of course, you should always talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement.

2. Using the wrong cooking oil

Cooking oil spray
Arina P Habich / Shutterstock.com

Olive oil is delicious and good for your brain. Some of the antioxidant compounds in olive oil can cross the blood-brain barrier, which is the protective lining of blood vessels in the brain.

Research presented to the American Society for Nutrition concluded that consuming more than a half-tablespoon of olive oil every day, compared with little to no olive oil intake, is associated with a 28% lower risk of fatal dementia. So using other cooking oils could be a mistake if you are worried about your memory.

3. Assuming you’ll have a bad memory

Uncertain retiree
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

What we think about ourselves can have direct, physical consequences, according to researchers.

A study from Oregon State University says that how we assume we’ll age affects how we actually age. People who have a positive outlook on aging at age 50 live, on average, seven and a half years longer than those who don’t. And how people at age 50 predict health factors like whether their memory will deteriorate directly impacts their health for the coming 40 years.

4. Eating a poor diet

Woman eating yogurt
Josep Suria / Shutterstock.com

Eating well impacts more than your physical health, it’s linked to dementia prevention as well. There are specific foods that are helpful and others that increase risk.

Foods associated with a lower risk for dementia include (but aren’t limited to) fish, leafy greens, strawberries and nuts. Foods linked to an increased risk for dementia include soft drinks, some popular condiments, yogurt and fried chicken.

5. Failing to address snoring

Man in bed
amenic181 / Shutterstock.com

Loud snoring goes beyond sleepless nights. Snoring can signal someone has sleep apnea, a medical condition in which people may stop breathing for a few seconds or longer dozens of times an hour.

A study presented to the American Academy of Neurology found a link between disruptions in breathing during sleep and memory problems. Researchers discovered that people with sleep apnea symptoms were about 50% more likely to report having memory or thinking problems compared to those without these symptoms.

The Mayo Clinic notes that some ways to combat snoring are losing weight (if you’re overweight), avoiding sleeping on your back and avoiding alcohol close to bedtime.

6. Not brushing and flossing your teeth

Senior brushing her teeth
Ruslan Huzau / Shutterstock.com

Your dentist isn’t the only professional who wants you to keep your dental hygiene in order. A study published in the journal Neurology found an association between tooth loss and gum disease and brain shrinkage in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays a role in memory and Alzheimer’s disease.

Adjusting for age, research participants with mild gum disease and one less tooth had an increase in brain shrinkage equivalent to almost one year of brain aging. Participants with severe gum disease and loss of more than one tooth saw shrinkage equivalent to 1.3 years of aging.

7. Avoiding getting a hearing aid

Otolaryngologist putting hearing aid in woman's ear
Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock.com

Hearing aids do more to benefit your health than just improving your ability to hear.

The Aging and Cognitive Health Evaluation in Elders study found that hearing aids can slow cognitive decline in older adults with hearing loss who are also at risk for memory and other cognitive problems. Hearing intervention slowed cognitive decline in older adults with mild to moderate hearing loss by 48%.

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.