Better living through nature
I don’t have serious memory problems, but most of the time I feel like my brain could use some help when it comes to remembering little details. Luckily, Mother Nature has sprinkled natural memory supplements through a variety of foods, minerals and herbs. Here are some time-tested and new-found sources for memory support.
Ginkgo biloba: Ginkgo is one of the best selling supplements in the U.S. Studies have shown that ginkgo dilates blood vessels and decrease the stickiness of blood platelets, which improves circulation. Ginkgo was originally used as memory support because it increased blood flow to the brain. It’s a popular supplement today, especially with older adults who may be experiencing late-life memory loss.
A leaf of the Ginkgo biloba plant. Photo By Andrew Black/Courtesy Flickr
Magnesium: Magnesium can be found in a number of foods—dark leafy vegetables and certain fruits, beans and nuts—and a recent study shows that this essential mineral may improve memory. Researchers found that magnesium stimulates synapses, the junctions between neurons in the brain that transmit nerve signals. About one third of Americans don’t get their recommended daily dosage of magenisum, so if you’re feeling forgetful, up your intake of this essential mineral.
Blueberry Juice: New research shows that swapping out your morning cup of orange juice for a cup of wild blueberry juice might help improve your memory. Blueberries are full of good stuff that increase signaling in areas of the brain associated with memory. Polyphenol, found in blueberries, also helps the brain get rid of glucose, which slows memory loss.
Fish Oil/Omega-3: Various studies have shown that in addition to being good for your heart, fish oil supplements, which contain the Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, improve memory in people of all ages, even children. The brain needs certain levels of DHA to function properly, and if the correct levels aren’t present, the brain substitutes in a different molecule, DPA (n-6), which hinders brain activity.
Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea): Stress can affect your memory, but the subarctic plant rhodiola can help combat symptoms of stress. A recent study found that subjects who took rhodiola had a better attention span and focus and were able to perform actions with fewer errors than subjects who did not take the supplement.
What other natural memory boosters are you familiar with? Share them in the comments section!