Paving the Way for Memory Lane

Feeling like the absent-minded professor lately? Here are some memory-improving strategies to keep your brain sharp. Ginkgo to Think Ginkgo, the oldest surviving species of tree, has been traced back 300 million years and is one of the most widely studied plants. The leaf of the ginkgo tree is shaped like a human brain, and some believe this is why, in Asia, it has always had a reputation of benefiting the mental processes.   A dwindling memory and decreased concentration is largely caused by decreased blood flow to the brain and loss of brain cells; ginkgo has been confirmed to boost circulation to the brain and other organs, improving memory and cognitive functions. Additionally, ginkgo is used far and wide as a longevity tonic in Asia and Europe. The best-known and most commonly available form of ginkgo is as teas and herbal extracts, but ginkgo nut, used in the culinary traditions of Asian cultures, also has therapeutic properties and is also said to strengthen lung function. Mental Gymnastics Keep Your Mind Nimble It is normal to become more absent-minded as we age, and in fact, most people over the age of 40 experience some memory loss. The most likely causes of a forgetful memory include poor concentration due to brain-chemical imbalance, tiredness, depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. If you find you are more forgetful than usual, try these steps and see if there isn’t some improvement in your cognitive clarity: 1. Get an uninterrupted eight hours of sleep each night. 2. Do a half an hour of cardiovascular exercise every day, such as brisk walking, slow jogging, biking, or swimming. This will improve circulation and increase blood flow to the brain. 3. Turn yourself upside down for a couple of minutes daily. 4. Mental fitness activities are imperative to prevent age-related cognitive decline. Read and learn new things, find new hobbies, do crossword puzzles, add up your bill in your head while shopping, memorize a set of phone numbers forward and backwards; all these can stimulate brain cell activities and in some cases even grow new brain pathways. 5. Work with your physician to find a supplemental regimen that helps improve your cognitive capabilities. Memory-enhancing supplements and herbs include B-complex vitamins, magnesium, CoQ10, alpha-lipoic acid, fish oil, flax seed oil, Chinese club moss, ginkgo, and ginseng. A supplement that has been well-documented in Europe for reversing age-related dementia and memory loss is phosphatidylserine (PS), a compound made by the body from the amino acid serine. Taken in supplement form, PS lowers stress response and promotes the release of neurotransmitters in the brain that facilitate thought, reasoning, and concentration.