This Is How We Make — And Lose — Memories

You remember the first time you met your spouse, but recalling what you wore to work last Monday? Not as easy.

There’s a reason why some memories stick and others fade. In this Ted-Ed video, we learn that experiences turn into pieces of information that first live in our short-term memory. Through a process called potentiation, some of our memories travel from our short-term to long-term memory. Certain states affect our ability to store information in our long-term memory: If we’re focused and engaged while experiencing something, for example, we’re more likely to keep that experience in our heads for longer.

There are also conditions that rob us of our memories and ability to keep information stored: Factors like aging, depression, stress and disease can rob us of our recollections and capacity to form new ones with staying power.

The good news is that there are measures that can help our brains stay young and functional. Exercise, diet and mental challenges can keep your brain sharp and your memories intact. Foods with healthy fats, like nuts, olive oil and avocado, have been shown to have brain-boosting powers.

Whip up this walnut avocado salad for lunch, and perhaps you’ll be able to remember it in a few weeks!

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