Improve Your Memory and Mental Acuity
By: Dr Michelle Honda Ph.D.
Forgetting an occasional name or a birthday is a natural occurrence at any age. But it is not natural to experience memory lapses, become disoriented or confused with such frequency that it affects ones quality of life. Weakening cognitive abilities had been looked upon as a characteristic associated with advancing years.
TRENDS: POOR NUTRITION AND HIGH STRESS = POOR MEMORY
Today, memory decline and mental insufficiency has become a standard complaint with all age groups. Parents are concerned and frustrated wondering how to help their children’s noticeable brain fatigue. Poor retention goes beyond lack of sleep or boredom.
The majority of difficulty lies with our short term memory, whereas the long term memory tends to remain stable.
Maintaining brainpower is largely due to quality nutrition and managing stress levels throughout ones life. Whether the effects are sudden as seen following a stroke or associated with a gradual erosion of ones mental capabilities, dietary supplementation has shown to lessen deterioration while proving extremely beneficial. A malnourished, overworked brain will eventually become fatigued and short out.
“PICKING UP” DEFICIENCIES IMPROVES BRAIN FUNCTION
Nutritional deficiencies have been identified as a possible factor with many patients from adolescent’s selective memory to Alzheimer’s disease. The symptoms of poor brain function are improved through diet alterations, extra nutrients and other remedies. Abnormally low levels of folic acid, B12 and zinc have been recognized as a contributing factor. A diet rich in antioxidants is best; for instance garlic, blueberries, fruits, vegetables, variety of fresh greens, green tea, nutritional flaked yeast, nuts, seeds and raw food whenever possible.
KEY NUTRIENTS FOR A SHARP MIND
Omega 3 fatty acids (EFA’s) are important for maintaining a sharp, clear mind. These essential fats are often low in the North American diet. Good sources include krill, sea vegetables, seeds, eggs, whole grains, fish oils, flax seed oil, evening primrose and borage oil.
Lecithin is a multipurpose supplement; a rich source of choline which is necessary for brain functions and has the ability to transport fat out of the body. Lecithin will retain its effectiveness when heated or may be consumed as a supplement. This soy based product is available in some grocery or health food stores in fresh granules, liquid or capsules.
MEDICINAL HERBAL TRENDS OUT OF EUROPE
Herbs that feed the Brain
The following suggestions and recipes will boost brainpower and improve memory.
Many pharmaceuticals have originated from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbs. Huperzine A, for example is derived from the herb Huperzia serrata, is used to treat senile dementia.
Ginkgo biloba extract or GBE is the most frequently used phytomedicine in Europe. Germany has approved GBE for the treatment of dementia related memory deficits, concentration problems and depression; and for vertigo, tinnitus and compromised blood flow. Ginkgo has unique flavonoids with chemical properties similar to vitamin P, which are found nowhere else in nature. The whole leaf extract has many active components shown to have pharmacological actions including free radical destruction, reduction of lipids and reduced blood platelet aggregation.
Daily dosage: 120mg to 240mg. * Gingko can affect blood clotting if blood thinners such as Coumadin or warfarin are also used.
STUDIES VALIDATE THE BENEFITS OF GINSENG
Long valued in Asia as an adaptogenic herb, Ginseng has become one of the top three herbal products in the United States. All varieties of ginseng are recognized as brain rejuvenators and enhancers. Thousands of studies have been done with beneficial effects on fatigue, weakness, exhaustion, loss of concentration, neurological disorders, impotence and immune boosting.
Dosage: 200 to 600 milligrams of extract or 0.5 to 2 grams of dry ginseng root daily.
OTHER KEY HERBS OF EASTERN TRADITIONS
In Ayurvedic medicine, the herb Gotu kola is one of the most regarded herbs for brain function. In China, gotu kola is used extensively to aid the brain in coping with huge amounts of stress, intense mental activity and for memory.
Dosage: 3 capsules twice a day or ½ to 1 teaspoon of tincture/extract two times a day.
Ashwagandha has a reputation for enhancing the thyroid. In addition, this herb has key amino acids that boost the brain, while calming the nervous system, clearing the mind and inducing deep sleep. Dosage: 450mg to 900mg daily.
RECIPES: BRAIN BALLS AND SEASONING SPRINKLE = BRAIN POWER
Rosemary Gladstar’s herbal brainpower recipes are an excellent supplement for younger and older generations alike. (Director of Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Centre and author of the best seller Herbal Healing for Women)
A delicious treat that you will remember to take each day.
• Tahini or other nut butter
• 2 parts powdered ginkgo
• 1 part powdered gotu kola
• 1 part powdered Siberian ginseng
• ½ part powdered lyceum berries
• ¼ part powdered rosemary
• Carob or chocolate chips (optional)
• Coconut (optional)
• Lycium berries or raisins (optional)
• Carob powder
1. Mix together equal parts of tahini and honey, or mix to taste.
2. Combine the powdered herbs. Add enough of them to the tahini-honey mixture to make a thick batter or paste.
3. Mix in whatever goodies you prefer – carob or chocolate chips, coconut, lycium berries, or slivered almonds.
4. Add enough carob powder to thicken into a dough. Roll into small balls. Store in the refrigerator, where they will keep for 2 or 3 months. Eat one ball a day.
Brainpower Seasoning Sprinkle
Use this seasoning sprinkle on salads, popcorn, in soups, and in any main course dish.
• 3 parts sesame seeds
• 4 parts nutritional yeast
• 2 parts kelp
• 1 part powdered ginkgo
• 1 part powdered gotu kola
• 1 part lecithin granules
• 1 part spirulina (algae)
• ¼ part powdered rosemary
• Kitchen herbs of choice, powdered (I like to use thyme and garlic)
1. Toast the sesame seeds in a heavy skillet, then grind them in a seed or nut mill.
2. Combine the sesame seeds with the remaining ingredients, adding kitchen herbs of choice to taste.
=== IN CONCLUSION ===
Healthy eating as well as good sleeping habits and regular exercise, help give the body the best possible chance to heal itself. Prolonged stress and strain from being overburdened will cause physical fatigue of the brain. Just as specific nutrients support our memory process so to will a calm relaxing environment. Clearing the mind through enjoyable activities and hobbies lowers stress while improving mental acuity. To maintain internal balance and physic health, rest the mind and body with calming techniques such as yoga, meditation, walking outdoors – anything which promotes peace.
To learn more about ways to improve your health and wellness from Dr Michelle Honda or to learn more about Acai Nutritional Special Blend Beverage, visit http://www.michellehonda.com
Dr. Michelle Honda is Holistic Doctor (natural and preventative medicine) in private practice at Renew You Holistic Health in Ancaster - Hamilton Ontario Canada. She holds a Ph.D. D.Sc. in holistic health sciences, holds an advanced nutrition degree (RNCP), is a Master Herbalist and an IIPA Certified Iridologist. In her private practice, she is available via telephone for health consultations. For more details visit http://www.renewyou.ca or call the clinic at 1-905-304-0111.
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