The Best Foods, Herbs & Other Ways to Improve Memory and Brain Function

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The Best Herbs and Other Ways to Improve Memory and Brain Function

Our brain is an amazing organ that acts as a control center by receiving, processing, and sending sensory information throughout our body and controlling our motor function. As we age, our brain starts to lose its ability to process information. Days that we can’t seem to concentrate are more frequently and we tend to forget more. Although age-associated cognitive decline is something we all have to face, there are some natural ways to slow down the process and improve overall brain function.


The Best Herbs to Improve Memory and Brain Function

Ginkgo Leaf

In my e-book The Herbal Remedies Guide, I’ve already mentioned the ginkgo leaf as a remedy for several ailments. It is a versatile herb that strengthen memory and improve circulation. The leaves of this ancient Chinese herb help boost brain function by providing more oxygen to the cells. Scientific studies have confirmed these results in humans.

Gotu Kola

Another herb that is in use for thousands of years in Asia is Gotu Kola. It is a leafy herb that is a member of the parsley family. Gotu Kola’s traditional uses include promoting healing of wounds and resolving skin conditions, but in addition to it, it also improves mental clarity. In more recent times, research on Gotu Kola indicates that it is effective in stimulating cerebral circulation, which promotes brain health.

Rosemary

Some studies suggest that rosemary – the fragrant herb known for its ability to ease itchy scalp and soothe muscles – could also have big brain-boosting benefits. Some research linked rosemary scent to better performance on both the speed and accuracy tests, and that it improves the overall quality of memory. Read more about it in my article “Scientists Find Sniffing Rosemary Can Increase Memory By 75%“.

Peppermint

You’ve probably heard that along with smart teaching, careful preparation, a good night’s sleep and a full stomach, peppermint candies are said to improve test performance. In the 1990s, researchers at University of Cincinnati found that a smell of peppermint helped test subjects concentrate and do better on tasks that required sustained concentration and achieved improvement in focus and alertness.

Sage

Sage is a wonderful herb that can add flavor to soups, salad dressings and juices. But this herb also has powerful memory enhancing qualities. In trials, even small amounts of sage have been shown to significantly boost memory recall. Sage has even been also found to improve the interconnectivity of the different parts of the brain.

Below you can find a brain enhancer tonic to improve memory. It needs to be used consistently for at least 2-3 months to see effective results. It may help you to remember that things that you tend to forget, such as where you put the keys, or remembering phone numbers or the shopping list.

Brain Enhancer Tincture Recipe

2 parts gotu kola
2 parts ginkgo leaf
1 part peppermint
1/2 part rosemary
1/2 part sage
Brandy or vodka

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Place the herbs in a jar and cover with brandy or vodka. Seal the jar tightly with a lid and place in a warm area away from direct sunlight for 6-8 weeks. Make sure to shake the jar every few days to prevent the herbs from sinking on the bottom of the jar. Strain the alcohol and store it in a bottle.

How to use it? use 1/2-1 tsp of the tonic diluted in 1/4 cup of water, juice or tea 3 times a day for 2-3 months.

Foods to Improve Memory

The new buzz in research on brain function and memory is called programming. According to it, food consumed by our mothers during pregnancy, and even foods consumed by our grandmothers, may affect the extent of our intelligence today.

Programming claims that poor nutrition during pregnancy directly affects certain organs of the baby, especially the brain. Folate deficiency and low consumption of protein and calories lead to smaller head circumference and smaller brain, and this affects the ability of our learning in the future. Iron deficiency during pregnancy affects our IQ as well. This is true in our infancy as well as in adulthood. Of course we cannot control the food quality of our mother during pregnancy, but still our present diet influences the quality of memory.

So what can you do to improve memory?

1. Breakfast: starts up the brain

According to a study conducted at Harvard University, people who don’t miss their breakfast and make sure to eat a nutritious breakfast, remember more, are more alert, and even their reaction time on the road is better than those who skip breakfast on a regular basis.

Our brain consists of 100 billion “hungry” cells. The cells need a constant supply of energy for essential activities. Although brain cells comprise only about 2% of the total body mass, they consume about 20% to 30% of the daily calories we eat.

It is important to eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates that are digested slowly in the digestive tract, such as whole grain breads and whole-grain cereal (fiber rich) with milk and a small fruit such as an apple or a banana. You can get here ideas for healthy breakfast recipes in 5 minutes.

2. Omega-3 rich foods: necessary for proper function of the brain

In today’s world, it is important to increase the consumption of omega-3 fatty acid, which is abundant in North Sea fish. The body needs omega 3 for proper functioning of the cells and cannot produce it by itself.

50% of the brain is fat and it functions properly by consuming omega-3 fatty acids type DHA. DHA is an essential component in operating the nerve cells. It helps regulate brain signals and release hormones such as serotonin. Since our body does not produce fatty acids, the main source is consuming omega-3 rich fish such as halibut, herring, mackerel, oysters, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna and cod.

It is important to emphasize that although these fish are very healthy, in this industrial era there its best to prefer lean fish, because chemicals are concentrated mainly in the fatty tissues of the fish. For the same reason young fish is preferred over older fish because they were in the water for a shorter period and therefore absorbed relatively low concentration of chemicals and mercury.

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Limit your intake of tuna to once a week because of the chemicals and mercury it contains. Pregnant women should limit their consumption of tuna to once a month. Prefer canned fish from the Pacific Ocean, Norway or Chile.

Vegetables, especially green leafy ones, such as kale, parsley, mint, Brussels sprouts, spinach and watercress, are rich in ALA, one form of omega-3 fatty acids (although ALA isn’t as powerful as the other omega 3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA). Bread and pasta are some of the foods most commonly enriched with omega 3. Ground flaxseed is also a good source of omega 3 type ALA. Read here more about the amazing health benefits of omega-3 fish oil.

3. Antioxidants: neutralizing the free radicals

Researchers recommend to eat foods rich in antioxidants to keeping a good memory and brain function. Our brain uses about 20% of the body’s overall oxygen and therefore subjects to the attack of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that attack and destroy cells and DNA, as well as brain cells.

There is also a cumulative effect as we get older, and this increases cell damage and the destruction of brain cells.

So what can you do? Try to maintain a high level of antioxidants in the body through a diet rich in antioxidants and reducing daily stress, which will help you keep a clear mind and sharp memory. A study by a university in the Netherlands showed that students’ thinking abilities increased when they ate foods rich in beta carotene. Research conducted in other parts of the world confirmed it. Read also my article about the best ways to combine antioxidants in your daily diet.

These “smart foods” will help you keep a clear mind and better memory over time:

Foods that are good sources of vitamin C: green pepper (1 large), broccoli (1/2 cup), orange slices (1 cup) fresh strawberries (1/2 cup), Swiss chard (½ cup).

Foods that are good sources of beta-carotene: carrot juice (1 cup), fresh carrots (1 large), sweet potato (1 medium), melon (1/4 melon).

Foods that are good sources of vitamin E: Wheat germ oil (1/4 cup), cooked wheat germ (1/2 cup), roasted almonds (1/4 cup).

Foods that are good sources of anthocyanins: Many fruits and vegetables that are healthy for memory are red or purple. This is due to phytochemicals (chemical compounds) which give them their color.

Many studies show that blueberries are particularly good for brain function and memory. Adult rats whose diet was based on blueberries, were of equal performance of young rats on memory tests. You can find more information about the healing powers of berries in my e-book The Healing Berry Guide which is a must if you want to become healthier from the inside out and get healthy and easy berry recipes that are sure to boost your health.

Cherries are another fruit which is an excellent source of anthocyanins. Eggplants are an excellent source of anthocyanins too and they also contain antioxidants that maintain the lipids in the brain cell membrane.

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Foods that are good sources of quercetin: Apples contain high levels of quercetin, an antioxidant that recent studies have shown to act as antibody to Alzheimer’s disease. Although quercetin can be found in the flesh, the main quantity is in the skin.

Red apple skin also contains anthocyanins. Red onions contain quercetin and anthocyanins. White or yellow onions contain high levels of quercetin. Red, purple and green grapes all contain quercetin and anthocyanins. Red wine also contains a great amount of these phytochemicals, but over-consumption of it could damage its health benefits, so don’t drink more than a glass of red wine a day.

Foods that are good sources of folic acid: A study on rats showed that rats who consumed spinach had no issues of memory loss. It may be thanks to the high levels of folic acid, which is known to be beneficial in preventing Alzheimer’s disease and memory problems resulting from old age.

Just half a cup of cooked spinach provides two thirds of folic acid required per day. Broccoli contains quercetin, and is an excellent source of folic acid as well. Beet is an excellent source of folic acid and anthocyanins.

Other Ways to Enhance Brain Power

These natural ways to improve brain function and memory are suggested by Amy Goodrich, biologist, natural nutrition expert, and holistic health coach who loves living a natural, eco-friendly, and healthy lifestyle.

  1. Exercise Your Body

While you are exercising, your brain releases chemicals which promote neural health and improve your learning process. Increased blood flow and energy levels will help your brain to work faster and more efficiently. While exercising, more oxygen reaches the brain, which reduces the risk of disorders that lead to memory loss.

  1. Exercise Your Mind

Not only physical activity is important, keeping your brain busy and challenge it to learn new things will improve brain function as well. Brain games, learning a new language, participating in social activities, watching television, using the internet, or learning to play an instrument are all good examples to keep your brain busy and active, and will improve overall brain health.

  1. Listen To Music

Did you know that listening to music makes you smarter and strengthens the right hemisphere of the brain? Music improves your verbal fluency, memory, and focus. So putting on some music while exercising is not only more fun, it is very beneficial for your brain health.

  1. Nutrition

We all know that we have to stay away from sugary beverages and processed foods. A diet based on fruits, veggies, healthy fats such as coconut oil, whole grains, and lean protein are important to give your brain the right building blocks for optimal health. You can find more information about healthy eating and nutrition in the e-book Effortless Healthy Eating which is part of the Natural Health Revolution Program. This program will help you to achieve your health, nutrition or weight loss goals.

Eat More Fruits And Vegetables

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Fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants. Those phytochemicals protect your brain cells from damage done by free radicals.

Green Tea

Green tea is another sources of healthy, protective antioxidants. Regular consumption may enhance memory, focus, and slow brain aging. Read here more about the amazing health benefits of green tea.

Omega-3 Fats

Omega-3 fats are essential components of our brain structure. It is believed that babies who are breast fed score higher on IQ-tests. Breast milk contains more of those structural omage-3 fats than formula.

Omega-3 fats are essential because your body isn’t capable of making them and we must get them through our daily diet. Low Omega-3 levels have been linked to memory loss and Alzheimer’s. Our brain craves those healthy fats to prevent mental degeneration especially when we are growing older. Read here more about the great health benefits of omega-3 fish oil.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is closely related to our nerve health. It keeps our mind sharp while we are aging. A lack of this essential vitamin may shrink the brain. Lack of concentration, mental fogginess, and having problems with your memory are all important signs that may indicate a B12 deficiency.

Ketone Bodies And Glucose

But it is not only healthy fats and vitamins your brain needs. Our brain needs glucose, which is converted into energy. The energy is needed for our brain’s normal function. When there is not enough glucose to meet it needs, your brain slowly starves, leading to brain atrophy, memory loss, and eventually you’ll lose the ability to move and talk normally.

But even if you are on a low carb diet, your brain will be able to use another substance that can feed your brain and prevent brain atrophy, and that’s where coconut oil kicks in. Coconut oil can feed your brain and prevent degeneration of brain tissue. Not with glucose, but with the so called ketone bodies. Those are produced when your bodies converts medium chain fatty acids into energy. Not only will those ketone bodies provide your brain with energy, it may even restore and renew nerves after damage. Read here more about coconut oil and its many health benefits.

  1. Sleep

Getting your daily beauty sleep is beneficial for overall health. But did you know that while you are sleeping your brain is resetting itself? It’s busy looking at all sorts of problems from a different angle and improves your creativity and problem-solving ability.

Getting enough quality sleep improves memory, focus, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving abilities. Research suggest that mid-day naps may boost and restore brainpower in infants and adolescents. If you have difficulty in getting to sleep, you may be interested to read my article about the best 12 herbs for insomnia.

  1. Vitamin D

Are you getting enough sun? Exposure to the sun is vitally important to produce enough vitamin D. Vitamin D increases nerve growth and plays an important role in many of our brain’s functions that involve planning, processing of information, and memory. Read here more about 12 common diseases caused by vitamin D deficiency.

  1. A healthy Gut Flora For Better Brain Health

Your gut and brain work closely together. Just as your brain, your gut contains neurons which produce serotonin. Serotonin is often referred to as our “feel-good “hormone. Sugary beverages and processed foods kill our healthy gut flora and this may impact our overall brain health, mood, and behavior. Taking a probiotics is among the best ways to optimize gut flora and subsequently support brain health. Read my article 9 reasons to take probiotics and why it’s so good for you.

  1. Laughter, Earth’s Best Medicine

A life that is full of laughter, fun, and friends shows great cognitive benefits. Interacting with other people may be one of the best and fun brain training exercises on Earth. Making fun and having a good relationship will not only benefit our emotional health, our brain will feel the benefits as well.

Studies show that people with the most active social life have the slowest rate of memory decline. Laughter activates a wide range of regions in our brain. It activates areas vital to the learning process, focus, and creativity.

So for a healthy brain, go out more, be active, join a club, volunteer, make friends, and most of all make fun and laugh yourself healthy.

  1. De-stress Your Lifestyle through Mediation And Yoga

Chronic stress destroys brain cells and damages our brain’s regions associated with memories. Meditation, easy breathing exercises, or yoga are great ways to de-stress your lifestyle and improve focus, concentration, creativity, reasoning skills, and memory.

Getting older is something we all have to face, luckily there are many ways we can slow the aging of our brain. Diet, and living a healthy and active lifestyle full of fun and laughter are the best ways to keep your brain sharp and focused.

Building a strong brain can help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, fend off depression, and improve memory and cognition. Training your brain is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.

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32 Responses to The Best Foods, Herbs & Other Ways to Improve Memory and Brain Function

  1. Vaheedaanees says:

    Excellent

  2. JAIME GUEVARA says:

    GREAT STUFF ALWAYS THANKS ” KEEP IT UP CUZ SHARING IS CARING ” THANKS GOD JESUS !!!!

  3. raheel zafar says:

    Am interested in this information

  4. Alice moreno says:

    Very much interesting..i like it! Thanks for sharing this inf.God Bless !,

  5. naturalremediesexpert says:

    interesting rosemary actually improve brain function also because of its antioxidant

  6. dennise postrano says:

    I want to know everything. ..tanx 4 posting this…

  7. Terri Hash says:

    I would love to try the brain enhancer tonic but I’m an alcoholic. What other liquid could I use ??

  8. Mavernie Canterbury says:

    The information is quite interested, but I would like to know how can I get these herbs to purchase.

    • Jenny says:

      You can purchase dried herbs in herbal stores or if you don’t have them in your area, there are places where you can order online.

  9. Saleh says:

    I dont drink,Is there a substitute for the alcohol?

  10. kranthikumar says:

    tq

  11. muneer says:

    Hi dear Jenny I am from Pakistan country, my father is 60 years old 4 years ago he accident after that he has lost his half memory,can my father use your tablet.?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Muneer, I don’t believe this tonic will help your father, as it is not intended to treat such a serious condition.

  12. Amita kini says:

    Wonderful information. Thanks for sharing such a useful information. Kep it up

  13. Tina says:

    Does the herbal liquid form produce the same result or is it necessary to use the dried herb ? Thank you.

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Tina, you don’t have to use dried herb. You can also use fresh herb but then the amount is usually double to triple larger (as dried herbs are more potent), so for example instead of using 1 teaspoon of dry herb, you need to use about 3 teaspoons of fresh herb. Some herbs are more common and therefore are more available in their fresh form, while other herbs that are less common are easier to obtain in their dry form. Here the tonic is in a tincture form, which is a liquid extract made from herbs that are usually extracted in alcohol and enter the bloodstream much more directly than by any other means. This means that the action in the body is usually quicker. You can use them in a herbal infusion form but then it involves brewing each time which is more time consuming, but it is a personal preference. Note that 2 droppersful of tincture equals one 8 oz. cup of tea.

  14. ANGEL says:

    Brandy or vodka,,MMMMM REALLY ,ALCOHOL GOOD FOR THE BRAIN,,,,,,????

    • Jenny says:

      This is a tiny amount of alcohol – you consume only 1/2-1 tsp of the tonic diluted in 1/4 cup of warm water. It will not damage your brain.

  15. Jangkholen Touthang says:

    So wonderful information, i am a boy who forgot so soon i will try it. thank you so much

  16. Qurratulain says:

    As a muslim we are not allowed to use brandy or vodka suggest some alternate liquid please

  17. Abdulrahman bello says:

    Please can someone helps me and tell me where I can get ROSEMARY and how to use it in order to improve my memory. Iam studying in jordan. Please I need your help thanks

    • Jenny says:

      Rosemary can be bought in plant nurseries as it’s a common herb, however if you cannot get it, you can use its essential oil instead – read more about it here. You can buy the essential oil in health stores or online through places like Amazon.

  18. Echoangel says:

    Hi Jenny, thank you for sharing this helpful info.
    What do you mean by 2 parts or 1 part of the ingredient? What is gotu kola? Is it a herbal plant? From where we can find/ buy this. I’m from middle east.

    • Jenny says:

      “Part” represents ratio between the ingredients. You can choose the measurement (part) according to the amount you want to create. For example, if you want to use teaspoon as a measurement, and the recipe calls for 1 part X and 2 parts Y, then you mix 1 teaspoon of X and 2 teaspoons of Y. It doesn’t have to be teaspoons, but also tablespoon or cups or liters etc. What it means is that the amount of Y in the mixture is double the amount of X (ratio of 1:2).

  19. Caitlin says:

    Where Can I get Gotu Kola?

  20. Michael says:

    Hi Jenny, Is this beneficial to someone who is studying Law and other programs?

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