Nourish - Natural Ways to Enhance Memory and Overall Brain Health Pt 2
Welcome back to this two-part blog series on natural ways to enhance memory and overall brain health.
In part one we covered the 3 fantastic herbs gotu kola, lions mane and rhodiola and their supportive properties.
Now let’s delve into some more incredible herbs and supplements that can be used effectively to enhance memory, cognitive function and overall brain health.
No. 4 – Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero root / Eleutherococcus Senticosus)
Siberian Ginseng is native to North Eastern Asia and is often referred to as Eleutherococcus or eleuthero.
Siberian ginseng, though not a true ginseng, but rather a distant cousin to the Panax types, has also been widely used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. This is because although Siberian ginseng is not related, it has very similar benefits, which is what earned it the name of ginseng.
Siberian ginseng is another fantastic adaptogen, plus it has been shown to improve natural energy production, endurance, focus, concentration and memory and helps to alleviate mental fatigue.
For more information on Siberian ginseng and its incredibly properties, I go more into detail here in this blog post What’s the Scoop on Ginseng.
How do I take it?
No. 5 – Rosemary
Rosemary may be one of the most well-known “brain herbs” used today.
It’s a stimulating, astringent herb that specifically acts on the cardiovascular system helping to increase blood flow and tone the vascular system.
By stimulating circulation and increasing blood flow to the brain, it is believed rosemary can increase mental function and memory.
Studies have also found that there are compounds in rosemary oil that may be responsible for changes in memory performance. One of them is called 1,8-cineole.
As well as smelling wonderful, it may cause an increase in a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which acts in the same way as the drugs licensed to treat dementia.
How do I take it?
- Rosemary oil is very effective through our smell sense, so if you’ve got a test coming up, grab yourself an aromatherapy diffuser and rosemary essential oil and get diffusing!
- Add a drop or two into a carrier oil such as jojoba and rub it into your wrists
- Drop a couple of drops on a handkerchief to sniff or make a tea from it.
- Adding a few drops of rosemary oil into a diffuser may help to improve your mood and keep your brain focused at the same time.
No. 6 – Omega 3
Clear thinking and easy recall are cognitive functions that most of us take for granted until they start to fade.
Nourishing your brain with essential fatty acids is important to help maintain healthy cognition throughout life. The good news is, they’re incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) such as Omega 3, 6 & 9 are crucial for brain development and performance, and since we don’t make these fatty acids ourselves, we have to get them from our diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been well studied for their role in the support of many systems in the body, but one of the most studied is in the area of brain function.
Omega 3 intake has been shown to improve cognitive function, including hand-eye coordination, attention span, social skills, behaviour, attention and intelligence test scores. They have even been linked to strengthened immune systems and having mood-boosting effects.
How do I take it?
You can find these healthy omega 3’s in:
- oily fish
- flax seeds (aka linseed)
- hemp seeds
- chia seeds
- Sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- The oils of the above seeds/nuts
These are all marvellous additions to delicious meals, snacks and smoothies.
Of course, your memory doesn’t entirely rely on delicious herbs and oils to function. It also needs attention in other areas, including lifestyle and overall diet.
Naturally, a healthy diet is absolutely essential for a healthy brain. It should be rich in healthy fats, such as avocado, olive, coconut/MCT oil, flax, hemp, chia, oily fish etc. plus high-quality proteins and unprocessed carbs.
Reducing sugar intake, eliminating processed foods and regulating your stimulant intake from things such as caffeine is also important.
Lifestyle wise, it’s very crucial to make stress reduction a priority.
Easier said than done, I know. But you can take all the herbs and tonics known to man, but if you’re burning the candle at both ends, it’s not going to help you in the long run.
Try to find something that allows you to switch off from the stress, whether it’s meditation, gentle exercise, knitting, reading or seeing friends.
Another thing to do in order to keep our memory healthy is to stimulate it regularly. Just like a muscle will waste when it’s not used enough, the synapses in the brain will slow down when they aren’t stimulated regularly.
In order to stimulate the brain and strengthen these synapses, we need to do things like:
- reading new books
- playing games that require critical thinking
- doing a Sudoku
- listening to new music
- learning new skills
- even engaging in good conversation.
There are also apps that help improve your memory. Next time you go to aimlessly scroll through social media, swap over to the memory app instead!
I hope these have left you with some entry-point ideas into how to naturally improve your memory, cognitive and brain health. Don’t forget to check out part one if you missed it.
I encourage you to research further, as there’s much to learn!
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.