From the first day of kindergarten where I was wearing a green and white checkered dress, haircut like I’m in the army and finally mismatched shoes.
Remembering, retaining and absorbing information has never been the problem. I can easily recall things from years, months and days back chronologically without missing a tiny detail.
However, why do I remember so much is unexplained.
During schooling days, I always ate a few specific herbs, roots and spices that are focused on boosting my memory. Now I’ve still held on strong to that practice.
However, these recent days I’ve received lots of questions on how one can improve their memory or what are the simple specific ways they could do it.
Although, there are over 50 foods that can be used to boost your memory but in this blog, I would be focusing roots, herbs, and spices that sharpen your memory.
Recently, FoodToHeal has started working with kids aged 10–14 — I’ve noticed that many kids haven’t smelt nor seen nor tried any of these herbs.
So what better way to start then a good read?
Root’s For The Brain
Ginger has been the pinnacle of spices in various Asian cuisines around the world. From eating large chunks of ginger in our stir fried and soup dishes to consuming small amounts of ginger in our curries and stews — ginger has been our best friend.
One of the known factors about ginger is it increases attention span and memory. A compound found in ginger, 6-gingerol, increases the activity of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in learning and memory.
Triggers the “Motivation Molecule” — Our body functions productively if our neurotransmitters are functioning at an optimal level. Our neurotransmitters can be described ask the controllers — responsible for our ability to focus, concentrate, remember, cravings, moods, addiction, and sleep. When our neurotransmitters aren’t functioning at an optimum level we will be deprived of the one quality mankind’s after — PRODUCTIVITY.
Ginger becomes a placebo for your “Motivation Molecule”Dopamine and your “Happiness Molecule” Serotonin. Dopamine helps you focus and invokes the pleasure-reward system while serotonin keeps your confidence and your positive attitude up.
Finally Ginger is also the best line of defense you have against “Free Radicals” — Free Radicals are basically unattached oxygen which are the by-products of your bodies metabolism. Free Radicals, when produced in excess, will reduce your brains activeness leading to slow memory and lower attention span.
Rich in gingerols and shaogals which are antioxidant — it helps neutralize the oxygen levels in your brain. Since your brain is prone to free radicals since it consumes the most oxygen — ginger might help safeguard your brain.
A simple recipe for having a dose of ginger would be — A Homemade Ginger Ale
A Cup of Sparkling Water or Club Soda
A Teaspoon of Ginger
1 Tablespoon of Honey
Optional : Mint Leaves or Lemon
To Make It:
In a glass add the honey and ginger and stir it finely until you’ve noticed and even combination.
Next add the sparkling water or club soda little by little as you stir to dissolve the ginger honey mixture.
Finally, add in some ice cubes and you’re good to enjoy your memory booster.
We are all familiar with our bright yellow-orange friend, turmeric or better known as Curcuma. The name of Curcuma was derived from its component curcumin which is the key factor in improving your digestive system and improving your short term memory.
Over the years, I’ve met various people who’ve got issues regarding their short-term memory. They’ve to find it hard to stick to new projects, keep their focus for longer than a few minutes or remembering a new information longer than a few minutes. Sometimes it could also be due to some issues in your hippocampus which could be the indication of pre-diabetes.
Curcuma helps with that — it brings your mind to a balance and increases the capabilities of your short term memory . Especially in elderly folk. In a study where elderly folk was introduced to 1gram of turmeric every morning — they’ve found that they’re able to concentrate and noticed improvements in their short term memory for a duration of 6 hours.
On the other hand, as we all know our gut and our brain works cohesively ensuring the productivity of each other.
Our gut is known as our second brain.
DHA, Vitamin D3, and Alpha Lipoic Acid which is part of turmeric help bring both your gut and brain to function in a synergy which then supports your brain health, memory and cognition.
So how can you enjoy turmeric?
This one of my favorite recipes and till now one of my favorite drinks to enjoy — “The Golden Milk”.
All you need is
1 Teaspoon of Turmeric
1 Cup of Milk
1 Tablespoon of honey
How do you make it?
In a pot add the milk, turmeric, and honey.
Leave it on a low flame and let it boil. Be sure to stir it occasionally.
Once the milk reaches a boil, pour your drink into a cup with a small sprinkle of turmeric and enjoy it as your morning drink.
You’ll definitely start your day on a right foot. Other ways to use turmeric is either in your salads, curries or rice. Turmeric is basically a wild card for flavors so you can eventually be creative with it.
Herbs For The Brain
Gotu Kola is a famous leafy herb around Asia. In Malaysia, it goes by three names — Daun Pegaga in Malay, Vallarai in Tamil and Luei Gong Gen in Mandarin. This something most of us in Malaysia are familiar with in our daily diets.
As one of the gifts of nature to mankind- this herb is known as one the best psychotropic herbs that aids in memory function and concentration. The fountain of youth for the brain is the best term to describe this plant.
One of its benefits are — it acts as a stimulant for new brain cells.
Activating the release of brain-derived-neurotrophic-factor (BDNF) which is a protein that acts as a fertilizer for the brain. Although it takes about a few weeks for the Gotu Kola to react — it encourages dendrite branching, increasing brain plasticity and finally communication between brain cells. On the other hand, it also promotes the growth of new nerve cells that safeguards and acts as a front-line army for existing ones.
For animals, Gotu Kola acts as nature’s anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. For humans, it acts as a mood stabilizer — by increasing calmness, contentedness, and alertness by 100% hence reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression by 50%. Being also a booster for Vitamin E — combined with Gotu Kola, it becomes a superpower in enhancing memory, concentration and cognitive activeness.
Finally, Gotu Kola acts better than Ambien for sleep. Without proper sleep — it becomes harder for us to concentrate and retain information. Brain fog becomes our crucial battle throughout the day without proper sleep.
While many are found overdosing from Ambien- Gotu Kola offers the same effect without the side effects.
Completely natural, all you need is a handful of Gotu Kola leaves for fresh tea or you buy the organic ones — add a little honey and have it before bed to increase effectiveness the next day.
Continue this for a duration of 21 days and you’ll start to know the difference.
Sniff! Sniff! Sniff! that’s all you need to do with Rosemary.
From Gordon Ramsay to Jamie Oliver we have all seen them love and adore this amazing herb as part of their cuisine. Like how an Indian kitchen is never complete without cinnamon or garam masala — A European kitchen is never complete without Rosemary.
So how does Rosemary improves one’s memory?
Rosemary influences a type of memory that focuses on long-term memory and mental arithmetic. Which means it by the smell of the herb it increases the memory for the future and allows them to plan and strategize of executing each task.
The component 1,8-cineole in Rosemary infuses directly to the blood stream increasing their brain activity. In a controlled experiment — where a group of people was put in a room scented with rosemary and rosemary oil while the others were placed in a room without any smell. In that room volunteers were asked to find hidden items and pass them to the researchers at a certain time — this all happens under the watch full eyes of the researchers.
It was proven that those who were in the Rosemary Glory Room performed faster and acted more accurately compared to the volunteers in the other room. The volunteers in the scented room also proved to have been able to complete surveys and questionnaires faster and with higher accuracy compared to the other half.
After a blood test — the volunteers in the scented room have shown the presence of 1.8-cineole in their blood stream.
So if you’re preparing for an important presentation or looking forward to a huge exam — then keep this magic herb next to you to help you retain all your information.
SPICES FOR THE BRAIN
Sharp memory, fast learning, and competitive performance have become the norm of our society these days. In a class there could be two students from the same background, studying the same syllabus but one would be having a higher performance level compared to the other.
In my kitchen cinnamon has been one of my main spice either for sweet or savory cooking. Cinnamon’s contain sodium benzoate which directly influences the hippocampus of part of the brain.
The hippocampus is in charge of memory function and visual interpretation.
In increase the ability of a person to process and remember information in a more effective manner. Although there’s a concern on sodium benzoate bringing uncanny consequences — it’s one of the brain enhancing drugs that have been approved by the FDA.
In a study with a couple of miles — a “good learner” and a “poor learner” while the poor learner was fed cinnamon infused food for a duration of time the good learner got its regular diet. After a duration of time, the “poor learner” had an equivalent result to the “good learner “ and there’s been a significant improvement in its way of memory processing and adopting information.
After researching the brain cells, they found sodium benzoate enhanced the structural integrity of the cells — namely in the dendrites, the tree-like extensions of neurons that enable them to communicate with other brain cells.
However, choosing the type of cinnamon is important to acquire such results.
As many stores prefer selling Chinese cinnamon (Cassia Cinnamon) which has the potential of increasing toxicity in the brain — the best cinnamon for memory enhancing would be Ceylon Cinnamon which is quite distinctive in taste and appearance.
Ceylon Cinnamon has a paler complexion and a sweeter taste compared to the Chinese Cinnamon. On the other hand, it’s made out of fragile layers compared to the Chinese Cinnamon.
So if you want to include cinnamon in your daily intakes. You can either have a nice cinnamon black tea or sprinkle it on your muesli. You can just carry one in your pocket to sniff. The smell of cinnamon has also the same if not equivalent effect to your hippocampus as consuming it.
So let’s Sniff! Sniff! Sniff!
Memory, is a sacred part of our lives. Keeping it alive and healthy is one our priorities in creating a positive lifestyle and forming a relationship with our mind and our gut. So try it out, since most of it can be found in your local organic stores or in your spice closet — why not hop on to this opportunity?