People struggle with memory and brain fog at all ages. Your struggles may be related to nutrition, stress, lack of exercise or a health condition.
It’s always important to check with your doctor if you notice a shift in your memory recall, but here are eight natural ways to boost and support your memory.
Herbs are fantastic natural ways to boost your memory. Gotu kola, also known as Indian pennywort, is an Indian herb that works best as a tincture you can obtain from an herbalist. It’s a little bitter, but the herb has a load of B vitamins, vitamin C and polynutrients, such as flavonoids and polyphenols. Don’t take it if you’re on blood thinners.
Gotu kola boosts memory on the molecular level as it improves the activity of pathways associated with long-term memory. Since the herb raises antioxidant levels of your blood, it can improve memory and learning in extract form. Supplements are also helpful.
Ginkgo biloba is touted as a miraculous memory aid, but more studies must be conducted to prove its hype. There are a few smaller studies that support its use for some improvements in Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. Older populations may find more benefit in including this herb in their diets.
Sip lemon verbena tea to boost your levels of concentration and increase your energy, minus the caffeine. If you have this plant in your herb garden, pull off a few leaves and place them in a pot of hot water to make tea. You’ll see an improvement in your memory over time.
One recent study finds that acupuncture is effective for those with mild cognitive impairments, which serve as a risk factor for early dementia. Acupuncture can be used alone or in combination with other treatments.
On the top of your head, along the crown, four points called Shen Cong may be activated by acupuncture to improve memory. Another point utilized by a practitioner is Liver 8, found along the inner part of your leg at the fold of your knee. You’ll feel sore and a little achy, but there are no other side effects. Replenishing the blood may enhance your memory retention.
Stress can wear you down, and it’s important to invite fun into your life. Your brain spends too much time worrying and focusing on various tasks throughout the day, so give your brain a rest and fully enjoy the positive moments as they arise.
Laughter truly is the best medicine. When laughed at, you experience heightened levels of confusion, but when you laugh with someone, you make a connection in a personal way that shifts your mind’s perspective. Positive emotions are contagious. Laugh more!
Along with bringing good luck to your garden gate, this herb is purported to improve brain function. An herbal reference to rosemary and memory is found in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”
Rosemary is very aromatic, which may trigger memory in the brain, since the sense of smell among humans is strong. Researchers found that rosemary oil has compounds that, when inhaled, go right into the bloodstream and prevent the deterioration of an important neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Blood samples were analyzed in one study and traces of rosemary oil were found among participants that inhaled it.
You can also get the aromatic brain boost by making tea. Take a few sprigs of rosemary and place them in hot water until you see the oils release. Keep a rosemary plant by your desk to inspire brain activity.
Basil, which is in the mint family, is an aromatic herb that provides a similar response to stimulate the mind. The scent of mint invigorates many people. Garnish pasta and soups with fresh basil. Drink a cup of basil tea with honey, or diffuse a few drops of the diluted essential oil to gain the memory benefits.
In one Japanese study, participants who used basil oil showed boosted beta waves on an EEG measurement that correlated to alertness. The temperature of participants’ skin also increased.
Regular exercise changes your brain to promote clearer thinking and boost memory retention. Exercise improves your sleep and mood and also reduces anxiety and stress levels, so it makes sense that exercise also affects the areas of the mind that control memory and thinking: the medial temporal cortex and prefrontal cortex. Researchers found that those who moderately work out for at least six months increase this portion of the brain in volume.
More exercise also boosts the flow of oxygen to your brain, leading to improved function. Get your blood pumping and hit the gym!
Broaden your horizons and health by choosing positive actions and habits that support your brain. From drinking teas to exercising more and laughing, there are many natural ways to support your memory retention. Life is too short to let memories slip away — use these tips to make the most of every day.