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Improve your memory and concentration by feeding your brain

Improve your memory and concentration by feeding your brain

The link between memory and nutrition

At various times in our lives, all of us experience drops in our memory and concentration.  From forgetting whether we locked the door, to occasionally struggling to focus at work, none of our brains are perfect 100% of the time.

However, some factors make memory issues more likely.  Stress and forgetfulness are closely linked.  Insomnia can reduce our ability to concentrate the next day, and can also make it harder to focus and remember important information.  And while memory loss is not an inevitable part of growing older, all too often, the two can be associated.

However, one of the key factors in the strength of our memory and concentration seems to be the quality of our nutrition.  High levels of processed, sugary foods or saturated fats can impair our brain function over time.  Meanwhile, a balanced diet that is naturally rich in nutrients like antioxidants, Iron and Vitamin D seems to be associated with better memory function.

Researched herbs and nutrients that help to keep your memory healthy

Additionally, several herbs and nutrients have been scientifically studied to investigate their role in maintaining healthy memory function.  Some of these include:

  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba): an ancient herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ginkgo is a potent antioxidant1,2. It also supports blood circulation, helping to dilate blood vessels and promote blood flow through arteries, veins and capillaries3.
    Ginkgo has been shown to help protect against beta-amyloid protein development in the brain and nerves4,5.  These proteins appear to play a role in certain degenerative brain conditions.  Scientific evidence shows that taking Ginkgo long-term at the right dosage can improve brain function in people with a mild-to-moderate cognitive impairment.
  • Brahmi (Bacopa monniera): long used as a memory tonic in Ayurvedic medicine, Brahmi was believed to improve brain function and increase intelligence6. It was also used as a nerve tonic to help manage anxiety, nervous tension and exhaustion.
    Brahmi supports mental performance during times of pressure, e.g. study, exams and work deadlines. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect brain neurons7, and may decrease beta-amyloid levels8. Studies also show that it can significantly improve learning rate and memory consolidation9, and increase information retention10.
  • Omega 3-rich Fish Oil: the Omega 3 essential fatty acids in fish oil are major components of our brain cells, which is why fish oil is known as ‘brain food’.  Both of the fatty acids found in fish oil (EPA and DHA) seem to play a role in maintaining brain health. However, one study found that DHA was the more important of the two11.

1Hibatallah J, Carduner C, Poelman MC. In vivo and in vitro assessment of the free radical scavenger activity of Ginkgo flavone glycosides at high concentration. J Pharm Pharmacol 51.12 (1999): 1435–40
2Sloley BD et al. Identification of kaempferol as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor and potential Neuroprotectant in extracts of Ginkgo biloba leaves. J Pharm Pharmacol 52.4 (2000): 451–9
3Jung F et al. Effect of Ginkgo biloba on fluidity of blood and peripheral microcirculation in volunteers. Arzneimittelforschung 40.5 (1990): 589–93
4Ao Q et al. Protective effects of extract of Ginkgo biloba (Egb 761) on nerve cells after spinal cord injury in rats. Spinal Cord 44.11 (2006): 662–7
5Luo Y. Alzheimer’s disease, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and Ginkgo biloba leaf extract. Life Sci 78.18 (2006): 2066–72
6Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements: An evidence-based guide. (2010) pp265.
7Jyoti A, Sethi P, Sharma D. Bacopa monniera prevents from aluminium neurotoxicity in the cerebral cortex of rat brain. J Ethnopharmacol 111.1(2007): 56–62
8Dhanasekaran M et al. Bacopa monniera extract reduces beta-amyloid deposition in doubly transgenic PSAPP Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. Neurology 63.8 (2004): 1545–8
9Stough C et al. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 156.4 (2001): 481–4
10Roodenrys S et al. Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory. Neuropsychopharmacology 27.2 (2002): 279–81.

11Muldoon, M.F, Ryan, C.M, Sheu, L., Yao, J.K., Conklin, S.M., and Manuck, S.B. Serum Phospholipid Docosahexaenonic Acid Is Associated with Cognitive Functioning during Middle Adulthood. doi:10.3945/jn.109.119578

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Improve your memory and concentration by feeding your brain

How can herbs and nutrients including fish oil & ginkgo help to keep your memory healthy? Read the research on nutrition & brain food here.

The link between memory and nutrition

At various times in our lives, all of us experience drops in our memory and concentration.  From forgetting whether we locked the door, to occasionally struggling to focus at work, none of our brains are perfect 100% of the time.

However, some factors make memory issues more likely.  Stress and forgetfulness are closely linked.  Insomnia can reduce our ability to concentrate the next day, and can also make it harder to focus and remember important information.  And while memory loss is not an inevitable part of growing older, all too often, the two can be associated.

However, one of the key factors in the strength of our memory and concentration seems to be the quality of our nutrition.  High levels of processed, sugary foods or saturated fats can impair our brain function over time.  Meanwhile, a balanced diet that is naturally rich in nutrients like antioxidants, Iron and Vitamin D seems to be associated with better memory function.

Researched herbs and nutrients that help to keep your memory healthy

Additionally, several herbs and nutrients have been scientifically studied to investigate their role in maintaining healthy memory function.  Some of these include:

  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba): an ancient herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ginkgo is a potent antioxidant1,2. It also supports blood circulation, helping to dilate blood vessels and promote blood flow through arteries, veins and capillaries3.
    Ginkgo has been shown to help protect against beta-amyloid protein development in the brain and nerves4,5.  These proteins appear to play a role in certain degenerative brain conditions.  Scientific evidence shows that taking Ginkgo long-term at the right dosage can improve brain function in people with a mild-to-moderate cognitive impairment.
  • Brahmi (Bacopa monniera): long used as a memory tonic in Ayurvedic medicine, Brahmi was believed to improve brain function and increase intelligence6. It was also used as a nerve tonic to help manage anxiety, nervous tension and exhaustion.
    Brahmi supports mental performance during times of pressure, e.g. study, exams and work deadlines. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect brain neurons7, and may decrease beta-amyloid levels8. Studies also show that it can significantly improve learning rate and memory consolidation9, and increase information retention10.
  • Omega 3-rich Fish Oil: the Omega 3 essential fatty acids in fish oil are major components of our brain cells, which is why fish oil is known as ‘brain food’.  Both of the fatty acids found in fish oil (EPA and DHA) seem to play a role in maintaining brain health. However, one study found that DHA was the more important of the two11.

1Hibatallah J, Carduner C, Poelman MC. In vivo and in vitro assessment of the free radical scavenger activity of Ginkgo flavone glycosides at high concentration. J Pharm Pharmacol 51.12 (1999): 1435–40
2Sloley BD et al. Identification of kaempferol as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor and potential Neuroprotectant in extracts of Ginkgo biloba leaves. J Pharm Pharmacol 52.4 (2000): 451–9
3Jung F et al. Effect of Ginkgo biloba on fluidity of blood and peripheral microcirculation in volunteers. Arzneimittelforschung 40.5 (1990): 589–93
4Ao Q et al. Protective effects of extract of Ginkgo biloba (Egb 761) on nerve cells after spinal cord injury in rats. Spinal Cord 44.11 (2006): 662–7
5Luo Y. Alzheimer’s disease, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and Ginkgo biloba leaf extract. Life Sci 78.18 (2006): 2066–72
6Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements: An evidence-based guide. (2010) pp265.
7Jyoti A, Sethi P, Sharma D. Bacopa monniera prevents from aluminium neurotoxicity in the cerebral cortex of rat brain. J Ethnopharmacol 111.1(2007): 56–62
8Dhanasekaran M et al. Bacopa monniera extract reduces beta-amyloid deposition in doubly transgenic PSAPP Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. Neurology 63.8 (2004): 1545–8
9Stough C et al. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 156.4 (2001): 481–4
10Roodenrys S et al. Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory. Neuropsychopharmacology 27.2 (2002): 279–81.

11Muldoon, M.F, Ryan, C.M, Sheu, L., Yao, J.K., Conklin, S.M., and Manuck, S.B. Serum Phospholipid Docosahexaenonic Acid Is Associated with Cognitive Functioning during Middle Adulthood. doi:10.3945/jn.109.119578

Improve your memory and concentration by feeding your brain
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