With demands on our time (and therefore stress and anxiety) being at almost epidemic levels these days, it’s no wonder some of us experience memory loss or brain fog from time to time! But there are some simple and natural things that can be done to improve your memory. And most of them will enhance your overall health at the same time!
7 Secrets to Improving Your Memory and Overall Health
1. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary has been known as a “memory enhancer” for quite some time. Even Ophelia, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, declared:
“There’s rosemary: that’s for remembrance: pray, love, remember”
In recent times, however, a team of psychologists at Northumbria University studied rosemary (using a control, or placebo, group) and found a 60-70% increase in ability to remember to perform certain tasks at a certain time. Many experts recommend sniffing or diffusing rosemary oil for this benefit.
Ginseng is one of a group of herbs called “adaptogens”, which means they help the body to withstand mental and physical stress. There was a study conducted by the Department of Neurology at Clinical Research Institute in South Korea in which researchers studied the effectiveness of Korean Panax Ginseng on the cognitive performance of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. The study showed improvements which lasted the length of the study – 3 months. And when the treatment group discontinued the ginseng supplementation the improvements declined to the level of the control group.
3. Avoid gluten and any other known foods you are sensitive to.
Food sensitivities tend to be at an all-time high due to increased consumption of processed foods and medications which contribute to “leaky gut syndrome”. Consumption of foods you may be sensitive to (the most popular being wheat, gluten, dairy, corn, soy, and eggs) not only affects you physically but can contribute to cognitive impairments, as well. It is well known within the “Celiac Disease” and gluten sensitivity communities that gluten can contribute to brain fog. So try to determine which foods may be hindering your brain, and stay away!
4. Try the Mediterranean Diet.
Before you wince and say “nooooo, not another diet!”, consider that anyone who is eating somewhat healthy is not too far away from a version of the Mediterranean Diet! Research out of Columbia University Medical Center shows a decreased risk in cognitive impairment with the use of the Mediterranean Diet.
The following are some foods included in the diet which you can use to replace processed and fast foods in order to enhance your cognitive abilities and memory:
- Berries and dark-skinned fruits. Also include dark green leafy vegetables for their high antioxidant content.
- Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids: salmon and other cold-water fish.
- Foods rich in vitamin E: avocados, sunflower seeds, peanut butter.
- Whole, fiber-rich grains.
- Extra virgin olive oil (fresh, not cooked).
- Coffee, chocolate, and red wine (use sparingly).
5. Coconut Oil or MCT’s (medium-chain triglycerides)
While coconut oil technically comes under #4 in this list, I just had to give this wonder-oil its own number! It is that important! Coconut oil used to be considered a “bad guy” for potentially increasing cholesterol, however, in recent years has been regarded as a healthy fat which is actually good for heart and brain health!
In a 2004 study published in the Journal of Neurobiology of Aging, coconut oil MCT’s increased cognitive ability in older folks with memory problems. MCT’s are able to give the brain fuel which it needs for cognitive processes. In addition to cognitive improvements, MCTs are known for their ability to increase energy, which is why it is one of the ingredients in “Bulletproof Coffee” (a recipe that includes coffee, MCT oil, and unsalted, grass-fed butter).
6. B12 supplementation
Research suggests that B12 deficiency can be a cause of memory impairment. Some people are unable to make “intrinsic factor” in the gut, which is necessary for the absorption of B12 into the body. If you consider supplementing this B vitamin, consider using the sublingual form for enhanced absorption. NutraChamps also makes B-12 gummies so that the whole family can feel like their nutrition is on point!
7. Yoga and meditation
New research by a UCLA-led team of neuroscientists developed and studied a three-month trial of yoga and meditation on a group of people at risk for cognitive decline. The practice helped minimize the cognitive impairment which can precede dementia. In fact, the changes in brain activity observed using functional MRI testing were statistically significant!
Not only can yoga improve cognitive function, but it is well known to enhance feelings of well-being and improve our reactions to stress (further preventing memory loss)!
I hope this list of simple secrets to improve your memory (naturally) gives you the information and the motivation you need to start consuming the foods and making the lifestyle changes that will keep your mind engaged for years to come. Remember, health is wealth! Put your health at the top of your priority list and the “return on investment” will be worth it!