The brain is the largest organ in the central nervous system, and the control center for our entire body. It is also responsible for complex thinking, memory, emotions, and language. If we want to keep it young, and protect its functions, we must provide it with proper foods. Medicinal plants can also help in cases of memory loss and poor concentration.
Foods for the brain
In order to nourish our brain cells, we have to choose foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids:
- Sprouts (from alfalfa, lentils, broccoli…)
- Dried fruit, especially nuts, which even look like brains!
- Sunflower seeds: contain folic acid, which improves brain performance and helps prevents sudden strokes.
- Broccoli: excellent for memory, especially when they are steamed.
- Oatmeal: we can eat oats for breakfast, as a plant drink, or well cooked with cream of vegetable soups.
- Ripe bananas: contain vitamin B6, which is involved in dopamine synthesis, a neurotransmitter that affects the memory.
- Green tea: contains components that protect brain function.
- Cacao: boosts endorphin production – brain substances that make you feel good.
- Wheat sprouts: rich in minerals and antioxidants.
- Linseed oil: contains essential fatty acids.
- Parmesan cheese: a source of tyrosine, a precursor amino acid to dopamine, which boosts memorization and learning.
This coenzyme is essential in transforming and transporting energy to each living cell, and increases longevity, thereby slowing the aging process. This is due to its antioxidant power to neutralize free radicals.
There are certain foods that help us naturally produce it, like dried fruits, cabbage, or spinach.
We can also opt for taking them in supplements for at least 3 months time.
Three medicinal plants
One of the best natural remedies to increase cerebral oxygenation, as well as to oxygenate the extremities, is ginkgo biloba. This plant improves circulation to the brain, thereby increasing mental capacity. We can start taking it when we notice memory loss, poor concentration, etc.
We can take it in as an extract, for example, but it’s best to take a break from it every once in a while so the body doesn’t get used to it, and so we continue to benefit from it.
Centella asiatica, or gotu kola, is a plant traditionally used in Indian medicine to improve general circulation, similar to the effects of ginkgo biloba. A good option would be to alternate these medicinal plants every once in a while.
We sometimes underestimate plants that we have close by, which have been easily used by our ancestors for several illnesses. Rosemary is one of those plants. Even though we should talk to a physician, and keep an eye on things if we suffer from hypertension, rosemary (Rosmariunus officinalis) possesses very useful antioxidant properties to prevent damage caused to our neurotransmitters by free radicals. It serves as a natural brain protector.
In ancient Greece, rosemary was used to improve memory. Students even used to place a crown of rosemary on their foreheads before taking their exams.
Mint essential oil
Mint’s essential oils are an excellent cerebral stimulant that can be easily acquired, and used daily. Simply gently rub a few drops of this oil on your temples, which is not only refreshing, but has a pleasant aroma as well.
Find a balance
As with everything, any part of our body must be frequently used in order to function properly. That’s why we need to find a balance point between lack of use due to age or being sedentary, etc., and overuse, which is what happens when we’re under stress. In order to exercise the brain, we can do sudokus, memory games, card games, storytelling, memorize lists of things, do reading comprehension exercises, etc.
If, on the other hand, you suffer from mental overload, you should try some sort of daily exercise, sunbathing, coming into contact with mother nature, perform deep breathing exercises, see a massage therapist, etc. If we never disconnect in the evenings, and our brain keeps running away, you can drink passionflower or valerian infusions. Try to spend a few minutes with a clear mind before going to bed. Whatever goes on at work, should stay at work.
Knowing how to let the mind rest is just as important as knowing how to use it.