A recipe for mental strength

As we age, most of us find it more difficult to remember things. Many of us fear the development of more serious conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Yet, recent research has found that these conditions are largely preventable and that it is best to start to make the necessary diet and lifestyle changes as early as possible – preferably in your 40s or 50s.

From a nutritionist’s perspective much of the advice for enhancing memory naturally is actually quite similar to that given for maintaining arterial health and preventing diabetes. This is good news for you because you will effectively be killing two birds with one stone!

Impaired circulation, particularly in the brain’s capillaries, reduces the oxygen and nutrients reaching the brain cells and this has an impact on memory and brain function.

The basic recipe for a healthy memory.

So what can you do?

For a start you must eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits that contain anti-oxidants. Secondly you should choose healthy fats that can be obtained from fish, nuts and some seeds. Crucially, though, you must avoid refined or processed foods, sugary foods and try to not have too many carbohydrates. It’s been conclusively found that a sugary diet is linked to worse memory and an increased risk of dementia.

Here are some examples of memory preserving foods:

Leafy green vegetables
Salmon and other oily fish
Seeds such as pumpkin, linseed and hemp
Berries and dark-skinned fruits
Extra virgin olive oil
Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil

These foods, however, may impair you memory:

Processed cheese
Processed meat such as ham and bacon
White carbohydrates – pasta, white bread, white rice, cakes.
Regarding lifestyle there is a certain truth in “use it or lose it” and doing a creative activity appears to be one of the best ways to exercise the brain. Social interaction is, perhaps, just as important a factor as physical activity.

For an instant boost to memory, put a few drops of rosemary essential oil in some hot water so that you breathe in this stimulating aroma. Rosemary tea will have a similar, but slower effect.

There are other very effective herbs that can help both with memory and cognitive function. These should be tailored for each individual as there is no “one size fits all” herb that can help.

For more information visit Herbal Medicine and Naturopathy

By Lloyd Gee