Natural Ways to Improve Your Memory & Cognitive Abilities

In the bustling landscape of our modern lives, with information overload and constant distractions, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and forgetful. Whether you're a student striving for academic excellence, a professional seeking to boost your productivity, or simply an individual looking to sharpen your mental prowess, the quest to enhance memory and cognitive abilities is one that resonates with us all.

It's hard to believe that effortless retention of information, recalling details, and navigating complex tasks are achievable with simple tweaks to your daily lifestyle habits. Yet, the truth is it is possible and very much lies within the realm of natural enhancements that we can embrace.

In this blog, let’s explore some practical techniques and powerful habits that can unlock the potential of your brain.

Here are five top ways to enhance cognitive health and memory naturally:

Get Sufficient Sleep: Sleep plays a crucial role in consolidating memories and promoting optimal cognitive function. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to support memory retention and recall. Sleep helps in the removal of waste products, including toxic proteins that accumulate during waking hours. This clearance process, known as the glymphatic system, flushes out harmful substances, allowing the brain to function optimally. Moreover, sleep is essential for strengthening of neural connections and the formation of new synaptic pathways, which are crucial for learning and information retention. Sufficient sleep enhances attention, focus, and problem-solving abilities, allowing for improved cognitive flexibility and creative thinking.

Regular Physical Exercise: Engaging in regular physical exercise improves blood flow to the brain and stimulates the release of chemicals that enhance memory and cognitive function. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. Regular exercise promotes the growth of new blood vessels and improves blood circulation. Exercise stimulates the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which are crucial for mood regulation and cognitive processes like attention and memory. By engaging in regular physical activity, we nourish our brains, optimize neurotransmitter levels, enhance neuronal growth, improve sleep, and protect against cognitive decline, all contributing to improved cognitive performance.

Eat a Brain-Healthy Diet: Certain foods have been linked to improved memory and cognitive function. Include a variety of nutrient-rich foods in your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds.

Mental Stimulation: Keep your brain active and challenged to enhance memory and cognitive abilities. Engage in activities such as puzzles, reading, learning a new skill, playing musical instruments, or participating in strategic games like chess. These activities help stimulate neural connections and improve memory.

Stress Management and Relaxation Techniques: High levels of stress can negatively impact memory and cognitive function. Incorporate stress management techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or engaging in hobbies that help you relax. These practices can reduce stress and enhance memory performance.

In addition to the above, you can also consider specific herbs which naturally help enhance your brain function. Below you will find our recommended list of high-quality herbal supplements that may help improve cognitive function and boost memory.

Bacopa Monneri by Pure Encapsulations: Bacopa Monnieri is a treasured Ayurvedic herb that is used as a tonic to support the nervous system. Pure Encapsulations offers this herb as a 200 mg extract which is standardized to contain 20% bacosides which are the active compounds in the herb. Bacopa Monnieri may help promote healthy synaptic activity and neurotransmission in the brain. Studies show that the antioxidant effect of the herb may offer protective effects on the brain centers including the frontal cortex, striatum and hippocampus . Research confirms that the brain-protecting effects of Bacopa are mainly due to its antioxidant effects.  The product is free of gluten, dairy, soy and GMO. It is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. The suggested dosage is to take one capsule 1-3 times daily with meals.

Rhodiola Rosea by Vital Nutrients: Rhodiola Rosea is an arctic plant mainly used for its adaptogenic properties. It is also commonly referred to as an ergogenic aid since it is used to enhance physical and mental performance . Vital Nutrients offers 400 mg of Rhodiola standardized with 3% rosavins, which are the prime active ingredients in the herb that are responsible for its brain-boosting power. The active ingredient Rosavin may have the ability to help balance the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, hence it is an adaptogenic herb. As an adaptogenic herb Rhodiola may also encourage physical performance, stamina and energy production . Vital Nutrient’s Rhodiola is available in a package of 60 and 120 capsules. The serving size is two capsules per day or as recommended by the physician. The capsules are easy to digest and suitable for vegetarians.

Ashwagandha by Pure Encapsulations: Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb, that is it supports physical and mental well-being. Ashwagandha is also known as “Indian ginseng” and “winter cherry” and the botanical name is Withania somnifera. It is one of the revered herbs that has been in use for 4000 years. Several studies have suggested that Ashwagandha is helpful in reducing stress, improving brain function including memory. Another important benefit associated with Ashwagandha is its ability to improve sleep, which influences alertness, focus, and memory recall. In a 12-week study on 50 adults aged between 65-80 years found significant improvement in sleep quality when compared to the placebo group . In a systematic review  of five clinical studies found early evidence that Ashwagandha could improve cognitive functioning in certain populations, including older adults. The systemic review concluded that Ashwagandha improved performance on alertness, cognitive tasks, executive function, attention, and reaction time. The study also found that Ashwagandha is well tolerated, with good adherence and minimal side effects. 

Pure Encapsulation’s Ashwagandha is a Gluten-free, non-GMO and hypoallergenic, product and is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. The capsules are also free of soy, dairy and tree nuts and peanut free which makes it suitable for people with specific food allergies. One capsule delivers 500 mg of Ashwagandha extract (standardized 2.5% withanolides). Pure Encapsulations Ashwagandha’s adaptogenic properties support memory, immune function, healthy lipid and glucose metabolism, reduce stress, improve sleep, general mental and physical wellness. Ashwagandha should be avoided by pregnant women and by individuals allergic to plants in the nightshade family. The recommended dosage is 1 capsule per day. The product is available in 60 and 120 vegetarian capsules.

Ginkgo Biloba Max V by Douglas Laboratories: Ginkgo Biloba is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginkgo’s ability to increase blood flow and circulation may play a role in the function of the neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters influence everything from heart rate, appetite, sleep cycle, mood, and concentration. The active ingredients, ginkgo flavone glycosides, can help protect the body's structure and function against damage from free radicals, as well as helping to maintain healthy circulatory function and mental performance. Douglas Laboratories Ginkgo Biloba Max-V provides 60 mg of the herb in a vegetarian capsule. The supplement is available in a package of 60 capsules. Each capsule contains 60 mg of Ginkgo herbal extract, which is standardized to provide 14.4 mg of ginkgo flavo glycosides (24%). The standardized form of Ginkgo is the highly concentrated form with therapeutic benefits. It also contains 150 mg of Ginkgo Biloba L in a non-standardized form. The suggested dosage is 1 capsule, two times a day between meals or as suggested by your physician.

In Summary

  • A simple change such as prioritizing your sleep, regular exercise has a profound impact on cognitive health. By embracing restful sleep, we provide the brain with the opportunity to rejuvenate and consolidate memories, ultimately leading to enhanced brain function and optimal cognitive performance.
  • Ensure you engage in mentally stimulating activities such as puzzles, reading, learning new skills and strategic games to enhance neural connections and memory.
  • Adopt relaxation techniques to reduce stress and restore balance to your minds. Reducing stress is conducive to optimal cognitive performance and memory consolidation.
  • Choose antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods, along with high-quality herbal supplements to help boost your cognitive function and delay age-related brain deterioration.
  • Always, check with your healthcare provider before taking herbal supplements irrespective of your health condition. Your provider will be able to guide you on the correct dosage and timing of the herbal supplements to maximize your benefits.

Remember, consistency is key when implementing these strategies. By adopting these lifestyle changes, you can naturally enhance your memory and overall cognitive abilities.