Poor Memory

A decline in cognitive function and memory is an unfortunate symptom experienced by many people. In the fast pace of our lives the amount of stress people endure daily it is no wonder that some people struggle.

Memory is the ability to store, retain and subsequently retrieve information. The brain is a muscle and stimulating certain areas of the brain helps the neurons to keep firing. Many studies have shown that by challenging the brain and using memory training exercises – crosswords, puzzle solving, memorising the shopping list – can exhibit a beneficial effect. It is because these improve the activity of the neurons and brain centre (the hippocampus, amygdala, the striatum, or the mammillary bodies). It is this area in the brain that deals with memory retention (long and short term memory). Also daily meditation practices can be implemented to help the brain to effectively feel relaxed and to create new neuro-pathways for development.

Diet tips to improve the memory

  • Drinking herbal Green Tea may help to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. It is believed that the herb provides the nervous system with more antioxidants thereby reducing degradation of the nerve fibres
  • Consume plenty of nuts (especially walnuts) as they contain essential fatty acids which are needed for brain and nervous system communication
  • Eat more foods containing oligomeric procyanidins (OPC’s) which act as free radical scavengers to keep brain tissue healthy. Foods which contain OPC’s are grapes, blueberries, berries, red wine, olive oil (raw not heated) and pomegranates
  • Ensure adequate hydration. Dehydration causes the brain to shrink and mimics many symptoms related to Alzheimer’s Disease and memory problems
  • Add lecithin to your porridge, smoothies, muesli or Bircher muesli. It is a food which can protect nerve fibres (due to the Phosphatidylcholine component of Lecithin enhancing the endogenous production of Acetylcholine)
  • Increase spinach, garlic, vegetables, vegetable juices due to the high levels of polyphenols contained in these foods

Lifestyle factors for improved memory

  • Adequate exercise is imperative in increasing oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Exercise also helps to maintain mood via the production of endorphins (happy hormones).
  • The brain is a muscle and you loose it if you dont use it. Practice memory games, scrabble, crosswords, word games and sudoku to keep the brain ticking over
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking and recreational drugs as these cause dehydration. These may also contribute to heavy metal accumulation which both affect healthy brain function

Natural remedies for improving memory

  • Antioxidants such as CoQ10, vitamin E, Zinc, Vitamin C are beneficial to reduce inflammation, free radicals and damage to the nervous system.
  • The family of B group vitamins (folic acid, lipoic acid and inositol) may help to prevent memory loss and Alzheimers Disease. These work by lowering total serum homocysteine levels (inflammation). They also counteract the toxicity of proteins which cause damage to the nerve fibres. They also increase the presynaptic release of Acetylcholine (the firing of information across the neurones)
  • Fish oil capsules contain Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) which is needed in higher amounts in the nervous system. It helps to ensure transmission of information from the muscles, nerves and brain. Consume fish in your diet at least 3 times a week and choose wild caught fish, not farmed fish
  • Some herbs can help to stimulate brain function, improve cognitive and mental performance, increase peripheral circulation and blood flow. The most common herbs used are Ginkgo Biloba and Bacopa. These may assist with mental and physical fatigue and poor memory, concentration, recall, learning and alertness. They are effective because they increase circulation to the brain and are also potent antioxidants
  • Other herbs such as Schizandra, Gotu Kola, Withania, Sacred Basil, Rhemannia, Magnolia and Siberian Ginseng are also beneficial when taken along with memory improving herbs. These provide adaptogenic effects (nervous system tonics) to give more grit and integrity to the nerves in anxiety and depression.