Get a Sharper Memory Today: 19 Easy Health Hacks for Super-Recall : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Monday Apr 23 | BY |
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Can’t remember what you were looking for? Your memory may need some help.

You’ve probably heard the buzz. The Internet is wreaking havoc on our memory skills.

A study published last year in the PLoS ONE journal found that teenagers who spent 8—13 hours a day playing games online (so-called “internet addicts”) had areas of their brain that atrophied, which could affect their concentration and memory. The longer they continued their “addiction,” the more serious the brain damage.

Experts also note that the increasing popularity of “multi-tasking” decreases short-term memory, and actually reduces productivity. A blog by Nicholas Car in The Atlantic warns that our Internet age is taking us away from focused thinking into “artificial thinking.” And a Columbia University psychologist says that search engines have changed the way our brains remember information.

Say nothing about the regular ol’ effects of aging on the ability to remember. (“Now, where did I put those keys?”)

Fortunately, the brain is like any other muscle—it can benefit from healthy foods, exercises, and productive habits. Here are several you can try to boost your memory and ability to focus.

Herbs to Boost Memory

  • Oil of Basil: clears the head and relieves intellectual fatigue
  • Club Moss: early studies indicate it may help improve the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s
  • Dandelion Leaves: provide vitamin A, C, and lecithin, a nutrient that raises levels of the brain’s neurotransmitter “acetycholine,” which plays an important role in learning and memory; this herb may also help slow down Alzheimer’s disease
  • Horsebalm (Mondara): preserving acetylcholine in the brain may preserve memory—horsebalm contains the compound “carvacrol,” which helps prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine
  • Gotu Kola: studies have shown this herb to benefit memory, concentration, and mental performance
  • Sage Herb: scientists at the Universities of Newcastle and Northumbria found that study participants given sage oil tablets performed much better on a word recall test

Foods to Boost Memory

  • Healthy Berries: goji berries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, acai berries, etc.—all powerful antioxidants that protect the brain from free radical damage
  • Fatty Acids: they’re the primary components of the brain, and studies have shown they boost memory power; go for fatty fish like herring, salmon, tuna, halibut, anchovies, sardines, and other cold-water fish. If you’re vegan, algae oil is appropriate.
  • Soy: early studies have shown that choline, which is plentiful in soy, helps slow memory loss; choose organic soybeans, soy milk, and tofu. Just don’t eat too much!
  • Chocolate: dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, and has natural stimulants that improve concentration and focus
  • Cruciferous and Leafy Green Vegetables: one 25-year Harvard Medical School study of more than 13,000 women showed that participants who ate relatively high amounts of vegetables over the years had less age-related decline in memory; choose spinach, collard and mustard greens, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok Choy, and cauliflower

Exercises to Boost Memory

  • Aerobic Exercise: studies show that aerobic exercise can increase the size of the brain’s hippocampus and reverse memory loss in older adults
  • Test Your Recall: make a list of anything—groceries, things to do, phone numbers in your contact list—and memorize it; an hour later, see how many you can recall
  • Do Math: forego the calculator—figure out problems in your head
  • Learn Something New: a foreign language, a new instrument, a new sport, painting, knitting, even cooking—challenging your brain with something new boosts it’s power; make sure it’s something that’s unfamiliar and that takes you out of your comfort zone
  • Pay Attention: seems a no-brainer, but part of the reason we sometimes forget things is that we weren’t paying attention in the first place—too much multi-tasking?
  • Play Challenging Games: a study by University of Michigan researchers found that playing an intense game of Concentration or other demanding memory game or task can increase intelligence
  • Eat with Your Eyes Closed: you’ll rely on your other senses, which challenges the brain; you can also try eating with your less-dominant hand
  • Memorize a Song: write down all the lyrics, then memorize them; you can do the same with a poem or a page of a favorite story

Kev’s Comments:

I’d like to add two additional pieces of commentary to this article.

The Shallow Mind

First, I want to say that you can get an extended understanding of Nicholas Carr’s work by reading “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.”

The basic concept of the book is that the way information is being fed to us at such a rapid pace these days changes the neuron pathways in our brain. Quick thought requires quicker processing and Carr argues that this can change our ability to think on deeper levels. I completely agree with his thesis — and at the same time — while entirely true, I find it hard to think that we’re not going to adapt to this new way of thinking.

There’s definitely no stopping it, so we’re going to have to evolve into something new to survive. This, of course, is something we’re already doing.

We’ll see what results this massive experiment yields.

In-Depth Brain and Memory Training…

If you’re interested in pursuing more in-depth memory and brain training, I highly suggest checking out this interview with my good friend Jim Kwik. He’s a top memory and brain trainer and his work is highly regarded as the best around on the subject. Here’s where you can listen in as I ask him how to remember names, where you put your keys and more:

Brain and Memory Training with Jim Kwik

Do you work to improve your memory? What tips do you have?

* * *

Photo courtesy marrick43215 via Flickr.com.

Sources:
Sarah Harris, “Too Much Internet Use ‘Can Damage Teenagers’ Brains,'” Daily Mail July 18, 2011. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2015196/Too-internet-use-damage-teenagers-brains.html.

Vicki Salemi, “Are We Multi-Tasking Our Way Into Zero Productivity?” Psychology Today November 9, 2010. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/big-career-corner/201011/are-we-multi-tasking-our-way-zero-productivity.

Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Atlantic, July/August 2008. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/6868/.

“Chinese Club Moss May Help Alzheimer’s,” Reuters Health, May 15, 2008, http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/05/15/us-club-moss-idUSCOL56131120080515.

“Sage Herb ‘Can Boost Memory,'” BBC News, August 28, 2003, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3189635.stm.

Joy Bauer, “Forgetful? Eat Memory-Boosting Foods,” Today, May 16, 2007, http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/18264218/ns/today-today_health/t/forgetful-eat-memory-boosting-foods/#.T4tGXXbCMYY.

Georgiann Caruso, “Study: Older Adults Improve Memory Through Exercise,” CNN Health, January 31, 2011, http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/01/31/study-older-adults-improve-memory-through-exercise/.

Kelli Miller Stacy, “Boost Memory to Increase Intelligence,” WebMD Health News April 28, 2008, http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20080428/boost-memory-to-increase-intelligence.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

14 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. Interesting article..my boyfriend’s daughter is just about to do her GCSE’s so I might get her some Gotu Kola.. Organic India and Pukka are a good bet for these supplements.

  2. Bryan says:

    Wait….what was that article about….hmmm? LOL

    Helping my kids with their homework. I have to dig into the way-back machine to remember how do so math and chemistry. Try to keep up on my Algae based DHA.

  3. Beverly says:

    Thanks for the information I take adult stem cell nutrition from http://Jdimlm.com/miracles having great results. God Bless

  4. Ed says:

    I can’t see it. Reads like a mailed in anything. Generalities please. 19 ways to save my prostrate just as good a title.thank you

  5. Jewel says:

    I use my ‘brain gym’ in idle moments, a hand held game created by a neurosurgeon.
    I am still recovering from an accidental carbon monoxide poisoning 29 years ago, leaving me with profound executive function damage. (There were golden blessings in that accident.)
    The brain is amazing and I am still experiencing new breakthroughs in skills after 29 years.
    Just learning to prepare meals (raw or cooked) again this year and having fun.
    One of the best parts? — I’m 72 and getting smarter everyday, unlike many of my peers.
    What a fun journey I’m having.

  6. Ed says:

    Sorry, didn’t want to sound like a response to durianrider they cut you off as soon as you don’t fall in line.I don’t have anything against 28 bananas a day but he is Nucking Futs. thank you

  7. Velda says:

    Jewel, what an fascinating story you have. Bless you. I’m 64 years old …. I think I need one of those “brain gyms”. Thank you for sharing that.

    Kevin, don’t listen to people like Ed. As usual you have done a wonderful job … given us some good information, and resources to dig deeper if we choose. Some people just don’t use their brain power or energy to dig deeper. Thank you for all the effort and thoughtfulness you put into bringing us information. I look forward each day to your videos and/or articles. Of course, I miss the videos, but always appreciate the information you bring. Keep up the good word, please!!

  8. Velda says:

    I mean, keep up the good worK … sorry for the typo

  9. Frank Berg says:

    Brain Loss
    A number of years ago the doctors diagnosed my wife as epileptic. They put her on a prescription of Mebroin, which she took for about nine years. Math was her best subject in school and she was good at adding a large column of numbers together. One day we noticed she was not as sharp as she once was. I started to check up on the prescription and found out that a side affect was brain damage. She stopped taking it. We watched to see if her brain would heal. Nothing happened over the next few years. She could no longer make quick decisions and was no longer able to drive because of it.

    She was too young for natural memory loss. I set out to find ways to rebuild what brain she had left to work with. I kept watch and asked many questions of a lot of people to see if there was any “one” good thing she could do to rebuild and regain the use of her brain.

    We made some inroads with different supplements. Supplementing with greens and algae was some help and eating lots of green leafy vegetables seemed to help Getting 98 minerals from the use of ADYA as a water purifier is a big help. Chlorine is a deadly poison. Removing it from all of our drinking and bath water shows over-all better health. She started taking fish oil supplements and some of the brain fog was lifted. I make green smoothies which I think taste pretty good but she can’t seem to find a place in her brain where it might become a habit to take some. I know it would help. She would always return to the familiar old ways of eating that brought us to poor health. The part of her brain that would reach out for help seemed to have been destroyed. Or might we rather say, scar-tissued over.

    We are meeting with some success by challenging her into new things, like finding things on the computer. At seventy one years of age she will go for a three mile long walk. But she won’t use the “Cellesizer” (rebounder) for exercise. I am still watchful to see what parts of the brain were not damaged or perhaps which parts are healing. Love, gentleness, quietness, peacefulness and a slower pace are showing good results. We are trying to rebuild good habits such as always putting your house keys in the same place. Everything has its own place and is always put back into the place where it lives. In conversation we try to use proper names for things rather than using they, those, there, here, their, and them. It is in the hope a habitual pattern of taking the easiest way can be replaced, and over time it may challenge the brain to think. Thinking is naturally hard work and we can get brain weary from using it like using any muscle too long. Perhaps the brain will get stronger. I know it will happen, at her pace not mine

  10. David says:

    hello Jewel, in 03 sufferted brain damage, soon after went home from theropy, notived memory was very bad, could not even remember my kid’s names, by taking Ginko Biloba for about 6 mos. improved memory. Then I relized I could not finish a sentance or project, reason and cause?, same as your weak Excutive Function. after 7 yrs. finally have improved this function, by tring all types of brain supplements, I’m sure I would be as good as you, by eating more green veggies.
    Good to know you are doing good. Thank you and Kevin.

  11. Oleander says:

    I agree that multi tasking is detrimental to the brain, as is ‘needing’ instant information.
    For in depth thinking, I recommend undertaking a degree or preferably a masters degree. You absolutely have to think and reason in depth.
    Healthy eating, plus adequate sleep, also very important. I do all of that, but having said that, don’t dwell on it! life is for living!
    Oleander, UK

  12. suzanne says:

    Jewel: I googled handheld brain gym and can’t find anything. Can you tell us what the brand name is or where to find it. Thank you and big thanks to Kevin for being the jewel that he is.

  13. Pat says:

    I would be interested in the brain gym also. My husband Is having memory problems and I am trying a lot of different things. So far I am seeing very little progress. I have to work and it is hard for him to remember to take the ginkgo or coconut oil etc. regularly so it is hard to judge what is working.
    I am trying to avoid regular Drs. as they will only go the drug route which does not seem to be having much success.
    Any one who has found some success with different products I hope you will share as precious time and money is being wasted as I strive to find an answer. Thanks.

  14. Two herbs to add to this are Ginkgo Biloba and Brahmi (Bacopa Monniera). Ginkgo is known to have a lot of reactions with medications so do your research and speak with your doctor if you are taking any meds before using it. Namaste 🙂

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