How to Maintain Memory and Mental Acuity – 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.
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.
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.
Nutrition that Feeds the Brain
Nutritional deficiencies have been identified as a possible factor with many patients from adolescent’s selective memory to Alzheimer’s disease. 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, fresh greens, vegetables, green tea, nutritional flaked yeast, nuts, seeds and raw food.
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 fish oil, flax seed and green lipped mussels. Lecithin is a multipurpose supplement; a rich source of choline which is necessary for brain function.
And coconut oil is an amazing fat that can stand a higher heat source when cooking but when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease it works beautifully with fish oil. The brain is able to uptake the ketones in coconut oil when the brain is unable to uptake glucose – which is a main food supply. The turn around is quite rapid once these two fats come together in sufficient quantities – at least this has been my experience.
Fish Oil is Necessary for Retaining Memeory
The number one food related item to restore memory, focusing, concentration and other cognitive aliments are the long chained fatty acids found in fish oil. These are the only type of fats that the brain can readily use. The brain is made up of over 60 percent of these fats therefore does expand when sufficient levels of these fats are available.
Vegetarians and Fish Oil
Vegetarians must convert plant based alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which are short chained fatty acids, into long chained EPA and DHA. The difficulty lies in the conversion of these fats and whether or not vegans are getting enough long chained fatty acids. To help remedy the problem vegetarians need 4 times the omega 3’s found in flax seed oil compared omega 6 fatty acids (plant based oils) of which has a much harder time converting to a usable source by the brain.
*Article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Harnack K, Andersen G, Som. oza V. Quantitation of alpha-linoleic acid elongation to eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid as affected by the ratio of n6/n3 fatty acids. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2009;6:8
Herbs that Feed the Brain
Many pharmaceuticals have originated from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbs. Huperzine A, for example is derived from the herb Huperzia serrata, used to treat senile dementia.
Ginkgo biloba extract is the most frequently used phyto-medicine in Europe for treatment of dementia, depression, vertigo, tinnitus and compromised blood flow. Ginkgo has unique flavonoids with chemical properties similar to vitamin P, which are found nowhere else in nature.
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.
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.
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, rest the mind and body with calming techniques such as yoga, meditation, walking outdoors – anything which promotes peace.
Copyright © 2016 – All Rights Reserved – Michelle Honda Ph.D.
Look for my new forthcoming books “Reverse Heart Disease Naturally” (Jan.31, 2017) and “Reverse Inflammation Naturally” (May 31, 2017) and “Reverse Thyroid Diseases Naturally” (Fall 2017)