Connect with us

Health

13 Ways To Improve Memory Naturally

Published

on

Photo Credit: Getty

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

Why can’t I recall her name?

Where is my cell phone? I just had it!

What was I supposed to buy at the grocery store?

When older adults notice their memory slipping, it’s natural to feel frustrated or nervous. You may even wonder: Am I getting dementia? The truth is that while some memory loss and cognitive decline are part of your body’s natural aging process, you also can take simple steps to keep your mind sharp — no matter your age.

Nearly every aspect of your lifestyle — including diet, sleep, exercise, and other habits — can mean the difference between being forgetful and being able to remember information.

What Causes Memory Decline?

You have both long-term and short-term memory. Long-term memory is like a vault that you go in to get information. Short-term memory is like a list of items on a notepad that your brain continually updates — or forgets, as the case may be.[1]

Your memory works like a computer. First, your brain takes in information through the senses. From these stimuli, your brain cells — aka neurons — form connections. Your brain sends messages through these connections and stores them as memories in the appropriate “place,” so you can access them later.

Several brain regions work together to create memories and process information. Age-related physical and chemical changes in these areas slow down this activity. Fewer connections are made, and existing connections weaken. The brain may also generate fewer neurotransmitters with age, affecting memory.

How to Improve Your Memory

Whatever your age or health status, you can support the parts of your brain involved in memory. It’s never too late: The brain adapts by growing and rewiring new connections well into your golden years.

Improving your memory involves strengthening the health of your neurons and the connections between them. Below are 13 tried and tested ways to improve your memory.

1. Catch up on Your Sleep

When you sleep, your brain consolidates or permanently stores recent memories. Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, can cause poor memory or more serious brain conditions.[2] Getting a full night’s sleep or even a nap will improve your ability to recall information afterward.[3]

Tip: Make sure to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Follow a regular sleep schedule and limit drinks with caffeine, like coffee — especially in the afternoon. Try a natural supplement like valerian or hemp extract.

2. Follow a Healthy Diet

Eat foods rich in antioxidants — these come from brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. Excellent nutrition supports vibrant brain cells, and that boosts memory formation and recall.

A whole-food, plant-based diet provides this type of nourishment. People who eat more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of memory decline and even dementia.[4] A typical American diet full of saturated fats and refined carbohydrates can cause shrinkage of the brain area that stores short-term memories.[5]

Tip: Try a plant-based Mediterranean diet built on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil. Olive oil’s omega-3 fatty acids protect brain function and boost cognitive abilities. Avoid sugar and junk food to avoid brain fog.

3. Eat Blueberries & Strawberries

Many berries protect the brain as we age, but blueberries and strawberries pack the biggest punch. Experts think this is due to their high levels of flavonoids and anthocyanins (two powerful antioxidants). That strengthen brain connections, supporting long-term memory.[6]

In a group of 16,000 women, those who ate the most blueberries and strawberries had slower rates of cognitive decline[6] — this means the loss of memory, focus, and “thinking skills.” Blueberries also improve your ability to perform spatial memory tasks, like recall.[7]

Tip: Incorporate blueberries, strawberries, and other berries into your diet. Toss them in your morning oatmeal or on your salad. They also make the perfect sweet but healthy snack.

4. Reduce Your Stress

Did you know that the stress of a hectic life can mess with your ability to form and recall memories? Regular exposure to stress hormones harms brain cells and damages the hippocampus — a part of your brain that creates memories.[8] High levels of the stress hormone cortisol, in particular, can affect your working memory.[9]

Tip: Balance your work-life responsibilities. Make sure to take breaks for rest, fun, and socializing. Blow off steam by working out, and find effective ways to relax, such as meditation.

5. Meditate!

Mindfulness meditation busts memory-blocking stress and lowers blood pressure.[10] It also can improve memory in people of all ages.[11]

Meditation is thought to stimulate connections between brain cells and increasing your brain’s gray matter.[12] As a bonus, it boosts happiness, confidence, and serenity in your daily life.

Tip: Even if it’s only 10 minutes a day, develop a meditation practice.. Try meditating along with an online video. Or simply find a comfortable, quiet spot to sit and clear your mind. During the allotted time, focus only on your breathing and the present moment, gradually relaxing your body.

6. Keep Your Thyroid in Good Shape

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ in the neck. It produces hormones that balance several of your body processes, including brain activity.

If your thyroid hormone levels dip too low, you may notice verbal-memory lapses and muddled thinking.[13] Hypothyroidism — an under-functioning thyroid gland — can ultimately lead to a shrunken hippocampus if not treated.[14] As mentioned, this part of the brain is connected to memory. So keep that thyroid in tip-top shape for the best memory.

Tip: If you think your thyroid may be out of whack, have a health professional check your thyroid hormone levels. A diet rich in iodine (from kelp) and selenium (from Brazil nuts) helps support thyroid health.

7. Lower Your Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a natural fat found in your blood and cells, and it’s vital for brain health. But high levels of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol can interfere with memory. Like sludge in a pipe, it clogs your arteries, harms blood vessels, and restricts blood flow to your brain.

High total cholesterol correlates with mild cognitive impairment, age-related memory loss, and forgetfulness.[15, 16]

Tip: If your total cholesterol is above 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), it’s time to lower them.[17] For more information, check out How to Lower Cholesterol — Without Medication.

8. Check Your Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D plays a vital role in memory. It supplies your brain with the cholesterol it needs to function well. It also plays a role in cognitive performance.

Adults with insufficient D levels seem to lose memories faster than those with healthy levels.[18] Deficiency in this vitamin may be a risk factor for dementia.[19]

Tip: Ask your healthcare provider to test your vitamin D levels. If you’re low (which is common), eat more D-rich mushrooms, or take a supplement. Expose your bare skin daily to the best source of vitamin D — the sun.

9. Make Sure to Exercise… Regularly

If your body’s not in shape, neither is your mind. Regular exercise reduces insulin resistance and inflammation. Exercise prompts the release of brain chemicals called growth factors that support brain cells.[20]

Exercise actually helps stimulate new brain cells to grow, as well as making new connections between them.[21] These effects appear to work with both short-term and long-term exercise patterns. Slow pedalling on a bike for just 10 minutes improves memory![22]

Tip: Get in the habit of moving every day, even if it’s just a walk around the block. Get an exercise buddy to join you for motivation.

10. Keep Your Brain “Muscles” Active

When it comes to memory, use it or lose it! The more often you perform mental tasks that require attention, the better you can store and recall information. “Exercising” your brain strengthens your memory.[23]

Scientists think that when you engage your brain, it increases the number of cells in your hippocampus.[24] People who did 15 minutes of online brain-training most days of the week had better short-term memory and problem-solving skills than those who didn’t.[24]

Tip: Challenge your mind! Try a new hobby, do jigsaw puzzles, or play Sudoku. Learn a new language or how to play an instrument. Tackle brain-teaser books or try brain-training phone apps.

11. Increase Vitamin B-12 Intake

Your brain uses 20% of your body’s energy.[25] That’s why vitamin B-12, which plays a significant role in energy metabolism, helps memory. Your body stores this vitamin less efficiently as you age.

Vitamin B-12 is found mainly in animal foods, so if you follow a vegan diet but aren’t using a supplement, it could affect your memory.[26]

Tip: Include plant sources of the vitamin in your diet, such as the sea vegetable nori. If you’re low, you may need to take a supplement. I recommend Global Healing Centre’s organic, plant-based VeganSafe™ B-12 for excellent memory support.

12. Take Lithium Orotate

Lithium orotate is a form of the mineral lithium blended with a compound called orotic acid. We need small but critical amounts of lithium for brain health and beyond. People who lived in neighbourhoods where the drinking water had higher levels of lithium were happier, more peaceful, and had fewer public safety issues.[27]

Lithium is also a memory-enhancing antioxidant. When taken in low amounts, it may boost the brain’s gray matter, stimulating the growth of new brain cells.[28] It also has a calming effect on stress.

Tip: You can add natural sources of lithium to your diet, including legumes such as lentils and chickpeas, or you can take a supplement.[29] Global Healing Centre’s Lithium Orotate promotes sharp focus, a balanced mood, and a healthy response to stress.

13. Take Memory-Boosting Herbs

Some herbs and plant parts help support a sharp memory, including:

  • Turmeric: Curcumin, the main chemical in this spice, is an antioxidant. Studies suggest it may protect the brain from age-related neuron damage.[30]
  • Gingko (Gingko biloba): Derived from gingko tree leaves, this antioxidant helps improve blood flow to the brain.
  • Chinese sinega (Polygala tenufolia): Traditional healers have long used the roots of this plant to support cognitive health.
  • Goji berry (Lycii fructus): This nutrient-rich fruit contains compounds that help protect neurons (brain cells).[31, 32]

Tip: Cook up some South Asian recipes with turmeric. Or purchase a concentrated supplement like Global Healing Center’s Turmeric Raw Herbal Extract™ with black pepper. You can also take any of the other memory-aiding plant ingredients as supplements for a memory boost.

Points to Remember

While some memory loss is a natural part of aging, there are strategies that can boost your ability to make and recall memories.

Adopt lifestyle habits that support your brain’s ability to encode, record, and retrieve information. Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and reduce daily stress. Practice meditation, engage in mental workouts, and take memory-boosting herbs, such as gingko or turmeric.

Changes to your hormones, cholesterol levels, or thyroid condition can affect memory. So can deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. Check your cholesterol, thyroid hormone levels, and vitamin B-12 and D levels if your memory is declining. If low, take these essential nutrients. Lithium orotate supplements may also provide help for improving memory.

Article Sources
  1. Small G. What we need to know about age-related memory loss. BMJ. 2002 Jun 22;324(7352):1502-1505.
  2. Yoo SS, et al. A deficit in the ability to form new human memories without sleep. Nat Neurosci. 2007 Mar;10(3):385-392.
  3. Dieselmann S, Born J. The memory function of sleep. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2010 Feb;11(2):114-126.
  4. Jiang X, et al. Increased consumption of fruit and vegetables is related to a reduced risk of cognitive impairment and dementia: meta-analysis. Front Aging Neurosci. 2017;9:18.
  5. Beilharz JE, et al. Short-term exposure to a diet high in fat and sugar, or liquid sugar, selectively impairs hippocampal-dependent memory, with differential impacts on inflammation. Behav Brain Res. 2016 Jun 1;306:1-7.
  6. Devore EE, et al. Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Ann Neurol.2012 Jul;72(1):135-143.
  7. Williams CM, et al. Blueberry-induced changes in spatial working memory correlate with changes in hippocampal CREB phosphorylation and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels. Radic Biol Med. 2008 Aug;45(3);295-305.
  8. Luethi M, et al. Stress effects on working memory, explicit memory, and implicit memory for neutral and emotional stimuli in healthy men. Front Behav Neurosci. 2008;2:5.
  9. Sapolsky RM. Glucocorticoids, stress, and their adverse neurological effects: relevance to aging. Exp Gerontol. 1999 Sept;34(6):721-732.
  10. Sharma H.Meditation: process and effects. Ayu. 2015 Jul-Sep;36(3):2331237.
  11. Gard T, et al.The potential effects of meditation on age-related cognitive decline: a systematic review. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2014 Jan;1307:89-103.
  12. Luders E, et al. The underlying anatomical correlates of long-term meditation: larger hippocampal and front volumes of gray matter. Neuroimage.2009 Apr 15;45(3):672-678.
  13. Mayo Clinic staff. Memory Loss: When to Seek Help. Mayo Clinic website. 19 Apr 2019. Accessed 27 May 2019.
  14. Convit A, et al. Hippocampal volume reductions in individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiol Aging. 1997 Mar-Apr;18(2):131-138.
  15. Cholesterol, the Mind, and the Brain. Harvard Health Publishing website. Mar 2007. Accessed 31 May 2019.
  16. Understanding Memory Loss.National Institute on Aging. 2018. Accessed 27 May 2019.
  17. Cholesterol Levels: What You Need to Know. Medline Plus website. Updated 18 Apr 2019. Accessed 1 Jun 2019.18.
  18. Miller JW, et al. Vitamin D status and rates of cognitive decline in a multiethnic cohort of older adults. JAMA Neurol.2015 Nov;72(11):1295-1303.
  19. Sommer I, et al. Vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysisBMC Geriatr. 2017;17:16.
  20. Godman H. Regular Exercise Changes the Brain to Improve Memory, Thinking Skills. Harvard Health Blog. Updated 5 Apr 2018. Accessed 1 Jun 2019.
  21. Gage FH. Neurogenesis in the adult brain. J Neurosci. 2002;22(3):612-613.
  22. Suwabe K, et al. Rapid stimulation of human dentate gyrus function with acute mild exercise. PNAS. 2018 9 Oct;15(41):10487-10492.
  23. Van PH, et al. Neural consequences of environmental enrichment. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2000;1(3):191-198.
  24. Hardy JL, et al. Enhancing cognitive abilities with comprehensive training: a large, online, randomized, active-controlled trial. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 2;10(9):e0134467.
  25. Raichle ME. Two views of brain function. Trends Cogn. Sci. 2010;14:180-190.
  26. Issac TG, et al. Vitamin B12 deficiency: an important reversible co-morbidity in neuropsychiatric manifestations. Indian J Psychol Med.2015 Jan-Mar;37(1):26-29.
  27. Schrauzer GN, Shrestha KP. Lithium in drinking water and the incidences of crimes, suicides, and arrests related to drug addictions. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1990;25(2):105-113.
  28. Marshall TM. Lithium as a nutrient. J Am Physicians Surgeons. 2015;20(4):104-109.
  29. Lithium – Dietary: Vitamins & Supplements. Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation website. Updated 26 July 2016. Accessed 1 June 2019.
  30. Cole GM, et al. Neuroprotective effects of curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:197-212.
  31. Cheng J, et al. An evidence-based update on the pharmacological activities and possible molecular targets of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides. Drug Des Devel Ther.2014 Dec 17;9:33-78.
  32. Hong F, et al. A review of three commonly used herbs which enhance memory and new evidences which show their combination could improve memory in young animals. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2017;17(16):1537-1547.

Originally published at Global Healing Center and reproduced here with permission.

Recommended Articles by Dr. Edward Group
About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 with the goal of providing the highest quality natural health information and products. He is world-renowned for his research on the root cause of disease. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center earned recognition as one of the largest natural and organic health resources in the world. Dr. Group is a veteran of the United States Army and has attended both Harvard and MIT business schools. He is a best-selling author and a frequent guest on radio and television programs, documentary films, and in major publications.

Dr. Group centres his philosophy around the understanding that the root cause of disease stems from the accumulation of toxins in the body and is exacerbated by daily exposure to a toxic living environment. He believes it is his personal mission to teach and promote philosophies that produce good health, a clean environment, and positive thinking. This, he believes, can restore happiness and love to the world.

For more, please visit Global Healing Center.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

Health

Beets For Better Lung Efficiency

Published

on

Beets For Better Lung Efficiency
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dr. Joseph Mercola, Guest Writer

If you have breathing troubles, nitrates — a compound found in beets — may be able to help. Previous studies have shown that nitrates can help improve muscle function by optimizing the way the muscles use calcium. Since the diaphragm is a muscle, researchers from the University of Florida wanted to see if those benefits could be translated to the diaphragm.

For the study,1 researchers split old mice into two groups. One group was given drinking water that contained sodium nitrate daily for 14 days. The other group was given plain water.

After the study period, they measured the isometric force and peak power of the diaphragm muscles in the mice and found that both significantly increased in the group of mice given nitrates in their drinking water.

This increase in force and power translated to improved contraction of the diaphragm muscle, which can then improve lung function and breathing. The increased power in the diaphragm could also help older people clear the lungs more effectively, which may help reduce the risk of developing infections. For reference, the mice used in the study were 24 months old, which is equivalent to about 70 years of age in humans.

This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic for two reasons. The first is that severe symptoms disproportionally affect the older population. We already know that respiratory muscle function declines with age, contributing to breathing troubles, impaired airway clearance and a decreased quality of life. Since nitrates can improve muscle function of the diaphragm, it may help improve the outlook for older populations with respiratory infections like COVID-19.

The study’s author, Leonardo Ferreira, also points out that one of the problems with weaning COVID-19 patients off ventilators is respiratory muscle dysfunction. If dietary nitrates can help improve that muscle function, it may make the transition from ventilators to independent breathing more successful.2

The nitrates in beets have also been shown to help improve oxygen uptake by dilating the blood vessels and allowing more oxygen to be delivered to muscles, like the diaphragm, and other cells.3

Other Benefits of Beets

But beets aren’t only good for your lungs. Other studies have shown that red beets may also:

Lower your blood pressure — Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of four to five points.4 The benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.

Another study5 found drinking 8 ounces of beet juice per day lowered blood pressure by an average of nearly eight points after the first week, which is more than most blood pressure medications.

Boost your stamina — If you need a boost to make it through your next workout, beet juice may again prove valuable. Those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16% longer.6 The benefit is thought to also be related to nitrates turning into nitric oxide, which may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.

Fight inflammation — Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins and enzymes from environmental stress. It’s also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases.7 As reported by The World’s Healthiest Foods:8

“[Betaine’s] … presence in our diet has been associated with lower levels of several inflammatory markers, including C reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. As a group, the anti-inflammatory molecules found in beets may eventually be shown to provide cardiovascular benefits in large-scale human studies, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits for other body systems.”

Stave off cancer — The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer. Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, for instance, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers.9

Provide valuable nutrients and fiber — Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese10 (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.

Support detoxification — The betalin pigments in beets support your body’s Phase 2 detoxification process,11 which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.

Nitrates in Foods

Almost 80% of dietary nitrates come from vegetables.12 Beets are one of the richest sources, containing more than 250 milligrams of nitrates per 100 grams. Other foods with high nitrate content include arugula, celery, cress, chervil, celeriac, Chinese cabbage, fennel, endive, kohlrabi, mustard greens, leeks and parsley.

Keep in mind that naturally occurring nitrates are different from the nitrates found in processed foods, such as bacon or sausages. The nitrates that you get from vegetables are converted to nitric oxide (NO) in your body.

NO has potent health benefits, as described in “Why You Need to Try the Nitric Oxide Dump Workout.” However, when nitrates and nitrites from processed meats react with the gastric acid in your stomach, it forms nitrosamines, harmful compounds that have been linked to several different types of cancer.13,14

The reason meat-based nitrites don’t boost NO production but rather turn into harmful N-nitroso compounds has to do with the presence of proteins and heme15 (an iron-containing compound that makes up part of the hemoglobin molecule in blood) and the absence of antioxidant compounds.

On the other hand, plants contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and polyphenols that impede the formation of harmful nitrosamines. The presence of these compounds helps ensure that the nitrites are converted into NO once they reach your stomach rather than harmful N-nitroso compounds.16

Unlike processed meats like bacon, most plant foods are also not cooked or fried at high temperatures, which further minimizes the chances that harmful substances will be produced.

How to Eat Beets

If you’re new to beets, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy them:

  • Grate them raw over salads
  • Juice them, along with other fruits and vegetables
  • Lightly steam them
  • Marinate them with lemon juice, herbs and olive oil

Please note that if you’re interested in buying beets to make your own juice, the industry has gone the way of so many crops in the U.S. — toward genetic engineering, according to the Organic and Non-GMO Report.17 This is particularly true with sugar beets.

While the table beets most people eat are not currently genetically engineered, they’re often grown in close proximity to sugar beets, which are often GE, and cross-pollination is known to occur. So, when choosing beets to eat, opt for organic varieties whenever possible.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are dangerous for humans on a number of levels. GMOs may alter DNA, potentially cause cancer, and may trigger other “less severe” problems like organ failure, liver and kidney damage.

Although beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, most people can safely eat beet roots a few times a week. Beetroot juice, however, should be consumed in moderation.

Make sure you also eat the beet greens, which are loaded with valuable nutrients, including phosphorus, zinc, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, calcium and iron.18

References
  1.  J Physiol (2020)
  2.  EurekAlert, August 16, 2020
  3.  Nutrients. 2017;9(1)
  4.  Nutr J. 2012;11:106
  5.  Nutr J. 2012;11:106
  6.  J Appl Physiol. 2009;107(4):1144-55
  7.  Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80(3):539-49
  8.  The World’s Healthiest Foods. 2020
  9.  J Complement Integr Med. 2013;10
  10.  USDA FoodData Central. April 1, 2020
  11.  Nutr Cancer. 2005;53(1):91-103
  12.  Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(1):1-10
  13.  Nutrients. 2019;11(11)
  14.  Oncotarget. 2016;7(35):56915-56932
  15.  Wired. October 27, 2015
  16.  The Essential List. April 28, 2014
  17.  The Organic and Non-GMO Report. June 2008
  18.  USDA FoodData Central. April 1, 2019

Originally published at mercola.com and reproduced here with permission.

Recommended Articles by Dr. Joseph Mercola
About the Author

Born and raised in the inner city of Chicago, IL, Dr. Joseph Mercola is an osteopathic physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Mercola served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for five years, and in 2012 was granted fellowship status by the American College of Nutrition (ACN).

While in practice in the late 80s, Dr. Mercola realized the drugs he was prescribing to chronically ill patients were not working. By the early 90s, he began exploring the world of natural medicine, and soon changed the way he practiced medicine.

In 1997 Dr. Mercola founded Mercola.com, which is now routinely among the top 10 health sites on the internet. His passion is to transform the traditional medical paradigm in the United States. “The existing medical establishment is responsible for killing and permanently injuring millions of Americans… You want practical health solutions without the hype, and that’s what I offer.”

Visit Mercola.com for more information, or read Dr. Mercola’s full bio and resumé here.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

Continue Reading

Awareness

Microplastics Found In Fruit And Vegetables For The First Time

Published

on

Photo Credit: Pexels

Nikki HarperGuest Writer

We’ve written before about the increasing threat to human health posed by microplastics, particularly when bottled water, shellfish and sea salt are contaminated by tiny microbeads and microfibers. However, two worrying new studies published recently are highlighting increasing levels of microplastics in our crops and vegetables too.

The first study has been published in the journal Environmental Research and was carried out by the University of Catania Department of Hygiene, in Italy. The study found evidence of microplastics in carrots, lettuce, broccoli, potatoes, apples, and pears, both from supermarkets and local produce sellers in the area. Apples were the worst affected fruits, and carrots were the worst affected of the vegetable samples [1].

As a result of this study, the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), in consultation with the European Commission, has started a process of looking into food safety specifically with regard to microplastics.

As to how the microplastics get into the fruit and vegetables in the first place, the second peer-reviewed study, published in Nature Sustainability has answers to that. This research, carried out by Yanthai Institute in China and Leiden University in the Netherlands, shows that microplastics are penetrating the roots of soil-grown produce, before making their way to the edible parts of the plants [2].

Credit: Pixabay

Previously, the prevailing scientific opinion was that most microplastics, tiny as they are, were too large to penetrate fruit and vegetables during growth. However, the new research shows that particles up to 40 times bigger than previously thought can get through cracks in roots and into the plants. Researchers hypothesize also that because most microplastics are flexible plastics, the tiny particles can be squashed or squeezed directly into root cells. In vegetables, carrots, radishes, turnips, and leafy vegetables like lettuce are most at risk from the absorption of microplastics – but the plastics are also penetrating the roots of crops like wheat and making their way into the edible grain. Overall, more microplastics were found in fruits than vegetables, which the researchers believe may correlate with how established fruit trees have a bigger, deeper root system than vegetable plants do.

This is very bad news indeed, because it suggests that these toxic plastics may be widespread already in our food chain. As Maria Westeros, founder of the Plastic Soup Foundation points out, “If it is getting into vegetables, it is getting into everything that eats vegetables as well which means it is in our meat and dairy as well. What we need to find out now is what this is doing to us. This is unchartered territory. Does plastic make us sick?” [3]

The study involved growing plants hydroponically in wastewater, and also in sandy soil watered with wastewater. Although much attention has been paid to microplastics in oceans and rivers, it’s only recently in 2018 that we began to understand how much microplastic contamination there is in wastewater [4] – and yet the use of wastewater in irrigation is very common, much more common than previously realized [5]. Although wastewater treatment can reduce microplastic pollution, it does not remove it entirely. Besides, many countries use untreated wastewater for irrigation, either because they have no choice, or simply because the agricultural industry prefers it for its nutrient value.

With it now becoming clear that microplastics are contaminating vegetables, fruit and the rest of the human food chain, there are calls for investigation. Says Sian Sutherland, co-founder of environmental campaign group A Plastic Planet, “We’ve known for years that plastics are in our air, ocean and soil. And now finally we have the proof plastics are in the fruit and vegetables we feed to our children. Today I’m calling for an urgent investigation into what these toxins are doing to our health. Now more than ever we must listen to the scientists not the plastic lobbyists.” [3].

Sources
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935120305703
  2. https://environmentjournal.online/articles/microplastics-contaiminating-fruit-and-veg/
  3. https://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/en/2020/06/new-studies-microplastics-found-in-fruit-and-veg/
  4. https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/wastewater-treatment-plants-surprising-source-microplastic-pollution
  5. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170705104135.htm
Recommended Articles by Nikki Harper
About the Author

Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and Wake Up World’s editor.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

Continue Reading

Health

Turmeric Extract Improves Brain Function In One Dose

Published

on

Turmeric Extract Improves Brain Function In One Dose
Photo Credit: Pexels

Sayer JiContributing Writer

Your spice rack may contain the safest, most fast-acting, brain-boosting substance medical science has yet to confirm effective in a human clinical study.  

A remarkable study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology titled, “Investigation of the effects of solid lipid curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population,” reveals that the primary golden-hued polyphenol found in the ancient Indian healing spice turmeric  known as  curcumin  is capable of improving cognition and mood in elderly adults (60-85) when administered in either short-term [acute], chronic, or  short-term-on-chronic  dosage schedules.

The study involving 60 healthy adults found that a single dose of 400 mg of a solid curcumin formulation (trade name Longvida)  resulted only one hour later in significantly improved performance on sustained attention and working memory tasks, compared with placebo.

Additionally, a chronic treatment schedule (4 weeks) resulted in improvement in working memory and mood, the latter of which was defined as a positive change in their “state [of] calmness, contentedness and fatigue induced by psychological stress.”

Finally, an acute-on-chronic treatment resulted in improved alertness and contentedness.

The authors commented that,

“To our knowledge this is the first study to examine the effects of curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population or to examine any acute behavioural effects in humans. Results highlight the need for further investigation of the potential psychological and cognitive benefits of curcumin in an older population.”

The study reviewed several therapeutic properties of curcumin that may have relevance in improving underlying physiology associated with age-related cognitive decline and may help to explain its observed brain-boosting effects include:

  • Curcumin may inhibit amyloid pathology (a type of degenerative brain plaque found in Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Protect against oxidative stress
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Neuroprotective, promoting neurogenesis and neuroplasticity
  • Improve the functioning of neurotrasmitter systems

The study also pointed out that epidemiological evidence shows dietary curcumin consumption is associated with better cognitive function and lower dementia prevalence, and that animal research has demonstrated its ability to both and prevent neurological pathologies.

The reality is the positive results described in this study is not be surprising given all the research that exists on curcumin’s neuroprotective properties. The Greenmedinfo database has indexed over 1500 study abstracts on curcumin’s health benefits, covering over 600 different diseases, with 113 of these studies specifically addressing curcumin’s neuroprotective properties.

Consider also that recently a Groundbreaking Study Found Turmeric Extract Superior to Prozac for Depression, revealing again how remarkable curcumin is at improving mood and a sense of well-being.

We have also explored in depth a promising case study which found that turmeric produced a ‘remarkable recovery’ in Alzheimer’s disease patients, and performed a review of turmeric and other natural substances’ role in preventing and even reversing Alzheimer’s disease.

As evidenced by the study featured here, the medical community is increasingly being faced with compelling research suggesting that natural compounds and foods like turmeric provide suitable alternatives to Big Pharma. Increasingly, the public is learning to take back control of their health by utilizing time-tested, food-based approaches that have been part of ancestral cultural practices for thousands of year. Why not look for preventive and truly regenerative solutions in the spice rack, and leave the medicine cabinet for acute care?

Recommended Articles by Sayer Ji
About the Author

Sayer Ji is the founder of Greenmedinfo.com, a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed, Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Health Federation, and Steering Committee Member of the Global Non-GMO Foundation.

For more, visit GreenMedInfo.com and Facebook.com/GreenMedInfo, or sign-up for GreenMedInfo’s free e-Newsletter.

© March 12th, 2018 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for their newsletter here.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Collective Spark or its staff.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

Continue Reading

Health

Ginkgo Biloba Benefits: Brain Health, Kidney Function, And More

Published

on

Photo Credit: www.rebuildyourvision.com

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

One of the world’s most ancient trees, Ginkgo biloba is considered a “living fossil” because it’s been around for nearly 300 million years.[1] Used for centuries, remedies from Ginkgo are thought to improve memory, boost cognitive function, support healthy blood flow, and promote sexual function in men and women.

Even sceptics have been swayed by Ginkgo’s ability to support the brain, kidneys, and other body systems. Curt W., an art director from North Carolina, started taking Ginkgo after reading an article about its potential to promote concentration. “I’m not a big supplement guy, so I wasn’t expecting much. But after a month or so of taking Ginkgo biloba extract, I started noticing a difference in my ability to focus. Now I tell all my friends about it.”

Let’s take a closer look at this ancient plant, and explore some of the many ways it supports wellness.

What Is Ginkgo biloba?

Native to China but cultivated worldwide, Ginkgo biloba — also called the maidenhair tree — can grow to be over 100 feet tall. The trees themselves can live for 1,000 years, thanks to an unusually strong resistance to insects and other pests.[3]

Many people in Asia harvest Ginkgo tree nuts, which are both tasty and nutritious (but shouldn’t be consumed raw).[1] Ginkgo has played an essential role in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries, especially for elderly people and those with certain health conditions. It is an important tool in the complementary and alternative medicine toolbox for healthy people, as well.

In addition to eating nuts, people harvest the Ginkgo tree leaves to make herbal remedies. Ginkgo biloba leaves are rich in bioactive constituents, including potent antioxidants like flavonoids and anthocyanins. Because Ginkgo leaves contain so many health-supporting nutrients, they have been extensively studied, and preparations made with them are among the most popular natural health solutions in the world.[4]

Now that you know a little bit about Ginkgo biloba, let’s dig into some of the reasons you should take it.

8 Reasons Why You Should Take Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba offers so many health benefits to both body and mind! Here are eight reasons why you should consider adding Ginkgo to your wellness regimen.

1. Supports Brain Health

Among its many uses, Ginkgo biloba is most well-known for supporting brain health. Ginkgo extract provides support for people experiencing mild cognitive issues.[5] For people who find themselves becoming more forgetful as they hit middle age and beyond, Ginkgo may improve cognitive function, specifically memory and ability to focus on tasks.[6]

Supplementing with Ginkgo may also support healthy brain function in people with cognitive issues or those who are dealing with age-related brain changes.[5] Experts recommend the use of Ginkgo for adults of all ages who want to stay sharp. “I really feel like it helps me focus at work,” Curt W. says.

2. Protects the Kidneys

The kidneys are the body’s filtration system, removing toxins from the blood. Your kidneys are constantly working to protect you from environmental pollutants like heavy metals, harmful chemicals, and toxins. They help reduce the environmental stress you are under.

Ginkgo biloba has renoprotective effects, meaning it can protect the kidneys from damage.[7] Ginkgo may support these organs after exposure to toxins, like the widely-used herbicide glyphosate, as well as mercury, uranium, and naphthalene.[8] It can also help protect against toxins formed in the gut that are associated with liver disease.[8]

3. May Help With Weight Loss

There are many reasons why people have a hard time maintaining a healthy weight, and Ginkgo may offer support for a wide range of them. It can help women maintain a healthy weight as they go through menopause.[9] Ginkgo extract could support weight loss for people who have trouble making changes to diet and lifestyle by shrinking fat cells.[9]

Ginkgo also has the potential to promote normal insulin balance, which could be particularly beneficial for people dealing with blood sugar challenges related to obesity. Even if people aren’t able to change the way they eat, Ginkgo can support healthy blood sugar levels.[10]

4. Lifts Your Mood

Looking for a natural way to lift your spirits? Ginkgo may help. When used alone or combined with other treatments, Ginkgo biloba extract can support mental health.[11] The same chemical constituents that make this herb good for the brain when it comes to memory and cognition can also help you maintain a positive mood.[11]

Ginkgo’s brain-supporting constituents promote mental clarity. It’s hard to be cheerful when your brain is feeling foggy! Ginkgo biloba can be a ray of sunlight through the clouds.[5] This is one of the benefits Curt W. likes the most about taking Ginkgo. “I used to really struggle with brain fog, and my mind is much clearer now,” he explains.

5. Supports Heart Health

A healthy heart is vital for overall wellness, and Ginkgo helps keep the cardiovascular system strong. Ginkgo extract promotes normal coronary blood flow. This is especially helpful for older people experiencing age-related diminishment of blood flow through the arteries.[12]

The bioactive compounds found in Ginkgo leaves protect the heart in different ways.[13] Terpenes in Ginkgo biloba provide cardioprotective benefits by reducing cell-damaging free radicals.[14] Ginkgo also supports healthy blood flow, which can lead to better overall heart function.[13]

6. Has Anti-Aging & Antioxidant Properties

Ginkgo’s healing properties may support different parts of the body during the aging process.[12] We’ve already mentioned the brain, heart, and circulatory system, all of which have been shown to benefit from Ginkgo biloba’s anti-aging effects.[5, 12, 13] Ginkgo might even protect your ears from age-related hearing issues.[15]

Much of Ginkgo’s anti-aging power seems to come from its antioxidant content. Aging causes oxidative damage to DNA, proteins, lipids, and other macromolecules, and antioxidants in Ginkgo biloba extract may be effective at fighting oxidative stress related to aging.[16]

7. Supports Healthy Sexual Function

Ginkgo biloba boosts blood flow, influences nitric oxide systems, and relaxes smooth muscle tissue — all of which are important for healthy erectile function and arousal in men.[17] For women, Ginkgo biloba extract can have a positive impact on sex drive and increase arousal.[17]

Ginkgo may be especially useful for men and women experiencing sexual side effects from certain medications. Supplementing with Ginkgo biloba extract can help with sexual health issues.[18]

8. Eases Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

What woman doesn’t deal with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) occasionally, if not monthly? For many, PMS comes with uterine discomfort, irregular moods, food cravings, and more. PMS can range from inconvenient to incapacitating.

If you struggle with PMS, you may want to consider adding Ginkgo to your supplement regimen. Ginkgo biloba extract can help reduce the physical discomfort of PMS while promoting emotional balance.[19]

Best Ways to Take Ginkgo

Ginkgo biloba is typically prepared in one of three ways. They are:

  • Tea
    You can brew Ginkgo biloba leaves into tea. Ginkgo leaf tea is sold in teabags, or you can buy dried leaves and brew your own using a teapot and strainer.
  • Tablets
    For those that prefer their herbs in pill form, Ginkgo biloba is sold in tablets. You can also find it in capsules.
  • Liquid Extracts
    This method of preparation captures an herb’s potency and keeps it intact. Ginkgo can be made into a single liquid extract or combined with other healing herbs to form a potent blend like Renaltrex®, formulated to gently flush the kidneys of accumulated toxins.
Points to Remember

Leaves from the ancient Ginkgo biloba tree have long been used as an herbal remedy. Many people rely on the healing power of this resilient plant. Ginkgo biloba preparations are among the most popular supplements in the world!

Ginkgo biloba supports the brain during the aging process, specifically with memory loss and concentration.[5] Ginkgo also promotes healthy kidney function and helps the heart.[813]

Ginkgo appears to support aging gracefully in the mind and body, largely because of its antioxidant properties. It also promotes healthy sexual function and eases PMS symptoms.[16,17,19]. It can help with weight maintenance and lift your mood when you’re feeling low.[911]

You can find Ginkgo biloba in liquid herbal extract, teas, or tablets or capsules. You can use it alone or in combination with other healing herbs.

Have you tried Ginkgo biloba extract?

References
  1. Isah T. Rethinking Ginkgo biloba L.: Medicinal uses and conservation. Pharmacogn Rev. 2015;9(18):140-148.
  2. Major RT. The ginkgo, the most ancient living tree. The resistance of Ginkgo biloba L. to pests accounts in part for the longevity of this species. Science. 1967 Sep 15;157(3794):1270-1273.
  3. Brondino N, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of Ginkgo biloba in neuropsychiatric disorders: From ancient tradition to modern-day medicine. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:915691.
  4. Ginkgo. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Updated 10 Mar 2017. Accessed 12 Mar 2020.
  5. Zhang HF, et al. An overview of systematic reviews of Ginkgo biloba extracts for mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Front Aging Neurosci. 2016;8:276.
  6. Silberstein RB, et al. Examining brain-cognition effects of Ginkgo biloba extract: Brain activation in the left temporal and left prefrontal cortex in an object working memory task. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:164139.
  7. Chávez-Morales RM, et al. The Ginkgo biloba extract (GbE) protects the kidney from damage produced by a single and low dose of carbon tetrachloride in adult male rats. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2017 Sep 5;69(7):430-434.
  8. Pizzorno J. The Kidney Dysfunction Epidemic, Part 2: Intervention. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2016;15(1):8-12.
  9. Hirata BKS, et al. Potential anti-obesogenic effects of Ginkgo biloba observed in epididymal white adipose tissue of obese rats. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019;10:284.
  10. Hirata BK, et al. Ginkgo biloba extract improves insulin signaling and attenuates inflammation in retroperitoneal adipose tissue depot of obese rats. Mediators Inflamm. 2015;2015:419106.
  11. Montes P, et al. Ginkgo biloba extract 761: A review of basic studies and potential clinical use in psychiatric disorders. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2015;14(1):132-149.
  12. Wu Y, et al. Ginkgo biloba extract improves coronary blood flow in healthy elderly adults: role of endothelium-dependent vasodilation. Phytomedicine. 2008 Mar;15(3):164-169.
  13. Mesquita TRR, et al. Cardioprotective action of Ginkgo biloba extract against sustained ?-adrenergic stimulation occurs via activation of M2/NO pathway. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:220.
  14. Pietri S, et al. Cardioprotective and anti-oxidant effects of the terpenoid constituents of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761). J Mol Cell Cardiol. 1997 Feb;29(2):733-742.
  15. Nevado J, et al. Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb761) protects against aging-related caspase-mediated apoptosis in rat cochlea. Acta Otolaryngol. 2010 Oct;130(10):1101-1112.
  16. Droy-Lefaix MT. Effect of the antioxidant action of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) on aging and oxidative stress. Age (Omaha). 1997 Jul;20(3):141-149
  17. Meston CM, et al. Short- and long-term effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on sexual dysfunction in women. Arch Sex Behav. 2008;37(4):530-547.
  18. Cohen AJ, Barklik B. Ginkgo biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. J Sex Marital Ther. 1998 Apr-Jun;24(2):139-143.
  19. Ozgoli G, et al. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of Ginkgo biloba L. in treatment of premenstrual syndrome. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Aug;15(8):845-851.

Originally published at Global Healing Center and reproduced here with permission.

Recommended Articles by Dr. Edward Group
About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 with the goal of providing the highest quality natural health information and products. He is world-renowned for his research on the root cause of disease. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center earned recognition as one of the largest natural and organic health resources in the world. Dr. Group is a veteran of the United States Army and has attended both Harvard and MIT business schools. He is a best-selling author and a frequent guest on radio and television programs, documentary films, and in major publications.

Dr. Group centres his philosophy around the understanding that the root cause of disease stems from the accumulation of toxins in the body and is exacerbated by daily exposure to a toxic living environment. He believes it is his personal mission to teach and promote philosophies that produce good health, a clean environment, and positive thinking. This, he believes, can restore happiness and love to the world.

For more, please visit Global Healing Center.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friend

Continue Reading
Advertisement report this ad
Advertisement report this ad

Trending Now

STAY AWARE

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

You have Successfully Subscribed!