10 tips to boost memory naturally

Introduction

As people approach 50, otherwise known as the half way mark or over the hill, they begin to take more notice of how their bodies and brains are changing. Notable examples could be taking longer to remember information, decrease in energy, physical changes, challenges with motor skills, and emotional capacities to manage life changes. With a bombardment of information coming at us from numerous directions such as our relationships with loved ones and colleagues, the Internet, careers, keeping up with calendars, etc. it can be overwhelming to remember many situations, events, and people.

                  The process of aging begins the moment we are born and our mental ability to process is highly adaptable especially with situations and skills that are “experience-dependent” and is identified as neural plasticity or brain plasticity. Our brain is constantly adapting to our environment and so by maintaining an active lifestyle with activities that focus on cognitive, physical, nutrition, and social aspects this will enable us to continuously learn new skills and refine skills which assists the neurons in our brain to release information and remain active (Cai, Chan, Peng, Yan, 2014).

Cognitive

                  With an increase in cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia, it’s important to be aware of signs the body shows a consistent decline. Forgetfulness, such as walking into a room and forgetting why or misplacing documents are common, yet when this happens on a more constant basis then it is time to visit the doctor for an evaluation. Just as a person exercises to keep the body in form, so must one exercise new skills at home or work or upholding current practices to ensure the brain can function well (Cai, Chan, Peng, Yan, 2014).

Cognitive Activities

  • Maintain routines Place your important items, such as keys, wallets/purses, important documents, etc. in the same place each time.
  • Self-care techniques to reduce stress, anxiety and depression
  • Life long student. Practice mental and physical activities that encourage thinking and problem solving.
  • Play video games. This encourages brain matter to reform itself. (Cai, Chan, Peng, Yan, 2014).

Physical Activities

  • Restful sleep. Taking a 15-20 minute nap and sleeping 6-8 hours allows your body to repair itself without distractions or stress.
  • Especially aerobic, which increases your heart rate and pumps more blood into your body. Active individuals have are able to process information easier and at a faster rate as it slows down the reduction of brain tissue (Gomez-Pinilla and Hillman, 2013).
  • Maintain an active lifestyle by engaging in physical activities such as cleaning, cooking, being outside, visiting with friends and family.

Nutrition/Diet/Prescriptions

Brain inflammation, otherwise known as oxidative stress, reduces the impact of neurons firing each other, which then cause further deterioration of the body. Constant stress, depression, and anxiety also accelerate the aging process because it causes the brain to remain in fight/flight mode or crisis mode rather than allowing it to relax (Dias et al, 2012).            People can naturally reduce inflammation and promote relaxation by eating foods with polyphenols. These foods have anti-oxidant properties, which protect the brain and aid in mental and emotional health and reduce the onset of cognitive diseases. (Gomez-Pinilla, F., & Nguyen, T. T. J., 2012).

Another important factor is to be aware of medications that may have side effects which may impact memory and motor skills, as well as, interactions between supplements and medications. Always discuss with your doctor if you are taking supplements and learn about the side effects.

Memory Enhancing Foods

  • Green tea
  • Turmeric spice
  • Eat blueberries

Conclusion

Aging gracefully involves a person maintaining an active lifestyle by engaging in cognitive practices that maintain motor skills and for the brain to remain active, exercising, and eating whole foods and spices that help the body reduce inflammation. It is also important to be aware of prescription side effects or interactions caused by supplements. Becoming older should not be a feared state but one of acceptance and enjoyment as one is more knowledgeable and aware of one’s body and mind.

Resources:

Cai, L., Chan, J. S. Y., Yan, J. H., & Peng, K. (2014). Brain plasticity and motor practice in cognitive aging. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience6, 31. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2014.00031

Dias, G. P., Cavegn, N., Nix, A., do Nascimento Bevilaqua, M. C., Stangl, D., Zainuddin, M. S. A., … Thuret, S. (2012). The Role of Dietary Polyphenols on Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis: Molecular Mechanisms and Behavioural Effects on Depression and Anxiety. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2012, 541971. doi:10.1155/2012/541971)

Gomez-Pinilla, F., & Hillman, C. (2013). The Influence of Exercise on Cognitive Abilities. Comprehensive Physiology3(1), 403–428. doi:10.1002/cphy.c110063

Gomez-Pinilla, F., & Nguyen, T. T. J. (2012). Natural mood foods: The actions of polyphenols against psychiatric and cognitive disorders. Nutritional Neuroscience15(3), 127–133. doi:10.1179/1476830511Y.0000000035

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Grief becomes motivation

My angels

May 21, 2010 my older sister and best friend passed away at my parent’s house surrounded by her family as her body was taken over by cancerous cells. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and wish she was here to celebrate life again. Since her passing I have dedicated my life to being the best that I can, helping others on their healing paths, and being present.

My mother passed on September 5, 2014 and I was fortunately also by her side when she took her last breath. Cancer also ravaged her body, although she fought it for 4 years.

Finally, her own mother who would have turned 101, took her last breath in March 2015, after living a long life and finally her body could not withstand the grief of losing her child.

My three favorite women are together in heaven and although my heart grieves for them daily it also urges me to move forward in my life and be the best that I can be. I live my life with passion and compassion for myself and others. I am able to dedicate my life to what I enjoy doing which is empowering people and sharing natural healing techniques that I use.

They continue to live through me and I know they would be so proud of me and all that I have and am accomplishing in my life. That gives me the motivation to move forward and courage to keep my head up.

I’m thankful I had such amazing women in my life who were my inspiration to live and now I can share that with others. They are now my angels watching over me and supporting me from all around.

Natural Medicine Embraced by Nicaragua’s National Government

Overview

Natural medicine has been used for thousands of years from essential oils, to roots and leaves, and shaman healers who question all aspects of life. Modern medicine has changed how we view the body and its components with its “take a pill” culture for almost every ailment, therefore overall health has plummeted because many have forgotten to inquire about the source of our problems; food, environment, and stress. As people are returning to a state of awareness, more are turning to natural medicine as a less toxic option and more reliable source of health which complements conventional medicine.

The second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, Nicaragua, supports the use of natural medicine and has interwoven it with their national health system. Since 2011 I have been visiting and working in Nicaragua during the summer while on break from graduate school in New Mexico for Public Health and Social Work. Throughout this time I continue to see a growth in natural health stores, acupuncture clinics, healing centers, yoga centers, and massage centers throughout the larger cities, even some near churches. In the rural country most would rely on available plants for health concerns they could easily treat, such as sore throats, burns, etc. They also depended on local healers to treat broken or sprained bones, much more than local doctors as they were not always available. With health care costs also rising and limited money, the people are returning to their backyards to scour plants and trees that offer healing options rather than relying on modern medicine.

Natural Medicine Law

In April 2014 the Nicaraguan government passed the Law 774, “Ley de medicina natural, terapias, complementarias y productos naturales en Nicaragua” (Natural Medicine, therapies, complementary and natural products in Nicaragua). This law addresses the value of natural medicine and therapies as techniques used by the locals for healing, especially as it has been embraced by the culture for many years. The law then considers it part of the National System of Health. As part of this National System, the law then identifies the need of the Ministerios (Government departments) of Health, Education, and, Environment to work together to ensure the people, plants, and environment are protected and safe.

As I spoke with numerous natural health practitioners and locals during a recent visit to Nicaragua, they all agreed that it was a wonderful step forward, although putting it into practice had yet to be seen. However, there are programs in place and more are coming to fruition which bring natural healers into public hospitals and offer acupuncture and Reiki, among others. In Managua (the capital) there are public universities offering natural medicine courses and there is one school teaching Eastern Medicine to Nicaraguans.

Public Health Practice

Natural medicine is the use of natural products, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics, and mind and body practices. (NIH, 2015). The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH) summarizes the definition of complementary medicine is when natural medicine is used in conjunction with conventional medicine, can also be called integrative care. (NIH, 2015).

As we come into contact with clients and patients from Central and South America, it is important to discuss their knowledge of natural medicine for they may not be comfortable talking about it or are unable to with their health practitioners. Natural Medicine can be used in complementary ways with conventional medicine yet only if the doctor is sure that it will not impact their current medicine use.

Summary

Nicaragua’s a model country as they are embracing natural medicine and ensuring the numerous Ministerios promote their use in a safe and educational process. Complementary medicine involves bridging the gap between cultures and modern medicine by finding the source of the ailments and teaching people how to heal from those sources rather than mask the symptoms with medicine or techniques that are foreign to them and they do not know how to use. By asking our clients/patients what have they used in the past to treat symptoms and how was it useful can assist in understanding how open they are to conventional or complementary practices.

Discussion:

What natural medicine techniques have you brought from your country of origin or that you use here in the United States?

Love these topics of natural health? Webinars, practical tips, and more resources will be available Fall 2015 to learn more about helping find your life balance naturally. What else would you like to learn about? Please email patricia@mariposasholistic.com so you can be notified when the newsletters and webinars will begin, plus any questions or comments. I love to hear from you.

Resources:

(2014). Reglamento de la Ley No.774 “Ley de Medicina Natural, Therapies, Complementary Therapies, and Natural Products in Nicaragua.”http://legislacion.asamblea.gob.ni/normaweb.nsf/b92aaea87dac762406257265005d21f7/dd7cde1b9616253a06257cf4004ca2eb?OpenDocument

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (2015). Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/integrative-health

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