Estimates indicate 30 percent to 50 percent of the elderly over 85 may suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which compromises cognitive function and causes loss of memory, according to the NYU Langone Medical Center. Younger people are also affected with memory loss due to stress, taking certain medications, and suffering from certain diseases that affect the circulatory system and blood flow to the brain. Various vitamins, herbs, foods and homeopathic remedies may offer relief from memory loss and stimulate your brain to improve your memory. Contact your natural health practitioner before starting any new treatment plan.
Ginseng is an ancient Chinese herb whose root grows into what looks like the human form. It’s been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to improve memory and dozens of other ailments for centuries, and is a mainstay for use in helping to balance and sustain proper hormone production in the body. Without the correct hormonal balance your brain becomes stressed and begins to rebel against natural activities seeking rest and rejuvenation. This powerful adaptogen helps the brain and the body regain proper stasis. Ginseng is a healthy brain food that stimulates dopamine productions and reduces onset and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Ginkgo biloba improves memory and strengthens the cardiovascular and circulatory systems, increasing blood flow to the brain. Not only does ginkgo improve blood flow, it also protects nerve cells that are damaged due to Alzheimer’s disease. Ginkgo was used traditionally in Chinese medicine to enhance memory. Although not all research studies agree, many scientific studies support this thesis and agree that ginkgo may be especially effective in improving memory for Alzheimer’s patients, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). Ginkgo provides several other benefits including reducing the incidence of depression, improving cognitive function, and increasing social behavior. UMMC notes that the most effective dose of ginkgo should be 240mg per day; however, each person’s needs are unique, and you should consult your natural health practitioner for your ideal dosage. Gingko may produce stomach upsets and in some rare cases, internal bleeding. It can thin the blood, so do not take it if you take blood-thinning medicines without first talking to your health provider.
The aromatic culinary spice rosemary acts to stimulate the brain and improve memory. Dr. Mark Moss, of the United Kingdom, conducted research into both long and short-term memory and discovered that the participants exposed to the scent of rosemary saw an improvement in their long-term memory ability. In addition, the participants exposed to the scent of rosemary reported they felt more alert.
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
Eating fish is one of the best ways to enhance memory due to the presence of high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. The fattier the fish the better. Tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines kippers provide the greatest quantities of this valuable nutrient. Fish from the north Pacific is generally lower in mercury content and better for you. If you enjoy tuna, then choose the dark meat, which is lower in mercury and higher in fatty acids than the white meat.
Omega 3 fatty acids help to protect the brain and support its overall function. Iodine, found in most ocean fish, not only feeds the brain but also the thyroid helping to maintain metabolism and general good health. Both increase memory skills and concentration.
Flax Seeds and Oil
Flax seeds and flax see oil are high in Omega 3 fatty acids provide your brain with a boost toward improving memory. Flax seeds should be freshly ground before use and never heated during cooking. Pick up an inexpensive coffee bean grinder and use only for herbs and spices and of course flax seed. Whir in the grinder for a minute and sprinkle on your cereal, veggies, mix with rice or soup. Just about everything tastes good with flax see including mixing freshly ground flax into your smoothies.
Along with flax seeds and fish, walnuts are an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids. The only nut that contains Alpha linoleic acid or ALA, a nutrient and fat that is converted into Omega 3 fatty acids in the body. ALA supports a health circulatory system increasing blood flow to the brain and the nerves.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables improve memory and support the body’s circulatory system, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the brain. They supply antioxidants that help protect against cancer and other diseases of aging. The best memory foods include all kinds of berries — especially blueberries, asparagus, kale, sweet potatoes and black currants. Red improve blood flow to the brain, so remember to include tomatoes, strawberries, cherries and radishes in your diet.
Improve memory by including raw honey in your diet. Studies have shown that eating honey decreases anxiety, increases calm, promotes sleep, and enhances memory especially for the elderly. Honey contains antioxidants that prevent free radicals from damaging cell growth. There are a great many types of honey to choose from, something to please every taste. Have a teaspoon or two right before going to bed and sleep like a baby.
The homeopathic remedy alumina may offer relief for those suffering from memory loss and is indicated for dullness, forgetfulness and for people who are slow to respond to questions, according to homeopath Dr. William Boericke, in the Materia Medica with Repertory. In addition, alumina may help people who fear they are losing their minds, are confused as to their personal identity, are depressed, have mood swings and feel hurried when there is no reason to be feeling this way. Alumina is available over-the-counter without a prescription in health food stores. Consult a homeopath for specific dosing guidelines.
A B-12 deficiency may cause memory loss in the elderly and in some vegetarians, according to the Mayo Clinic; and B-12 supplementation can alleviate the problem, helping those individuals regain some of their memory skills. Vitamins B-12 injections offer the best possibility of providing results. In the instance where there is no B-12 deficiency, B-12 supplementation does not seem to help those with Alzheimer’s.
WorldHealth.net Rosemary May Boost Memory
PerimenopauseSymptoms.org: Remedies for Memory Loss, Concentration Problems and Forgetfulness
Mayoclinic.com: Alzheimer’s Disease
NYU Langone Medical Center: Alzheimer’s Disease and Non-Alzheimer’s Dementia
University of Maryland Medical Center: Ginkgo Biloba
University of Maryland Medical Center: Dementia
Materia Medica and Repertory; William Boericke; 1998
(Photo Credit: Public domain)
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