A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Memory Problems
I had a question the other day about memory problems.
Memory is as natural to us as breathing.
It’s an ability we all have, yet rarely ever think of – unless we think we’re losing it.
Memory lapses are an annoyance in themselves, but worse is the anxiety often accompanying them.
We start asking ourselves if they’re a symptom of another problem.
Probably the greatest fear about these lapses in memory is Alzheimer’s disease.
Although this is a fairly common disorder among older people, it’s important to realize most memory lapses have nothing to do with Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s generally believed advancing age brings more likelihood of developing memory loss.
The mildest form of this is called mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and is characterized by your perception of your own memory loss.
About 1% of Americans over the age of 65 experiences MCI.
But, not all memory loss is due to aging.
Occasional memory lapses, like misplacing your car keys or forgetting something at the grocery store, are a natural, normal part of life at any age, and aren’t likely to precede serious memory loss.
In fact, with proper diet, nutrition, and memory use, your memory can stay sharp well into your 90s or beyond.
One reason you may suffer from memory loss is you don’t get enough B vitamins and amino acids to your brain.
Your blood literally feeds and nourishes every cell in your body.
Your brain is surrounded by a protective envelope known as the blood-brain barrier, which allows only certain things to pass from your bloodstream into your brain.
If your blood is “thick” with cholesterol and triglycerides, the amount of nutrient-rich blood passing through your blood-brain barrier decreases.
Over time, this can result in your brain becoming malnourished.
In addition, the functioning of your brain depends on things called neurotransmitters.
If your brain doesn’t have enough neurotransmitters, or the nutrients to make them, it begins to develop the biochemical equivalent of a power failure or a short circuit.
If your mind goes blank when you’re trying to recall a specific piece of information, or it begins to plug into some other, irrelevant memory instead, it’s likely a “short circuit” has occurred.
There are many other factors involved in the deterioration of memory.
One of the most important is probably exposure to free radicals, which can wreak enormous damage to your memory.
Alcoholics and drug addicts often suffer a great deal from memory loss.
Allergies, candidiasis, stress, thyroid disorders, and poor circulation to the brain may also be contributing factors.
Low blood sugar can also play a role in memory loss, because to function properly, your brain needs the level of glucose in your blood to fall within a very specific narrow range.
Wide swings in blood sugar levels affect brain function and memory.
To deal with memory problems it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily to hydrate body and brain cells and flush toxins (whether thirsty or not!).
*Brahmi, an Ayurvedic herb related to gotu kola, increases circulation in your brain and has been found to improve both short- and long-term memory.
*Garlic has been found to have memory-enhancing properties.
*Ginkgo biloba increases blood flow to your brain and central nervous system, thereby enhancing memory and brain function. It’s available in capsule or extract form. (Don’t take ginkgo biloba if you have a bleeding disorder, or are scheduled for surgery or a dental procedure.)
*Other herbs helpful for memory include anise, ginseng, gotu kola, and rosemary (don’t use ginseng if you have high blood pressure or are pregnant or nursing).
*Eat a diet high in raw foods. Eat the following often: brown rice, farm eggs, fish, legumes, millet, nuts, soybeans, tofu, wheat germ, and whole grains.
*Combine complex carbohydrates with foods containing 10% protein and 10% essential fats.
*Avoid dairy and wheat products (except for wheat germ) for 1 month. If there’s no memory improvement, slowly add these foods back to your diet.
*Eat more blueberries and spinach. Flavonoids in these foods may help memory retention.
*Make sure you’re getting the right amounts of amino acids, antioxidants, B vitamins, choline, coenzyme Q10, iron, and pregnenolone, either from your diet or from supplements.
*Avoid refined sugars – these “turn off” your brain.
*Practice holding your breath for 30 seconds every hour for 30 days. This improves mental alertness.
*Consider having a hair analysis done to rule out heavy metal poisoning, which can lead to impaired mental functioning.
*Do the following to help minimize age-related memory loss: reduce stress; keep active mentally; eat a healthy brain diet; get regular physical exercise; get plenty of sleep; limit sugar intake; avoid tobacco; and avoid excessive use of alcohol.
*Make sure to focus on things you want to remember, and be sure to give them meaning.
*Keep yourself active mentally by using your brain on a daily basis. Do activities like reading, crossword puzzles, surfing the internet, or playing a mentally challenging game. The more you put your memory to use, the more vital it’ll be.
*Keep yourself physically active. This increases blood flow to your brain.
*Be sure to get enough rest to avoid fatigue, which can have a direct effect on your ability to focus.
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