Simple Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp
If you’re over 50, you’ve probably had a few of these moments. You forget where you put your keys. A familiar word seems stuck on the tip of your tongue. Or you walk into a room and forget why you’re there.
It’s easy to laugh off these little lapses when they’re rare. Maybe you’re overtired. Or you have a lot on your mind. It happens… it passes… you move on.
But at some point, you start to worry. (Maybe you already have.) These little lapses are happening a little too often for comfort.
You’ve probably heard that these so-called “senior moments” are a normal part of aging. But there’s a difference between common and normal. Something may happen to a lot of people. But that doesn’t mean it’s normal.
Studies prove you can slow this process – and even reverse it. Today, I’ll show you two simple ways to promote a clear mind and healthy memory.
The first technique has been around for a long time… but the first randomized, controlled study wasn’t published until 2008. And the results were clear.
Australian researchers split 170 people with mild memory and thinking problems into two groups. They tested both groups for memory and mental function.
Then one group went through six months of normal care. The second group added moderate physical activity to their daily routines.
The program itself lasted only 6 months. But the scientists also followed up with their volunteers after 1-1/2 years. At that point, the exercise group still showed improved thinking and memory. The usual care group had grown fuzzier and more forgetful.1
You don’t have to go to the gym to get this benefit, either. Any moderate physical activity will do.
The Mayo Clinic – whose own research backs up the Australian findings – recently suggested a number of activities that qualify. In the spirit of the Olympic year, they suggest: canoeing or rowing… fencing or taekwondo (a Korean martial art)… badminton of ping-pong… and jogging or swimming.2
Brisk walking, yard work, and almost any other activity that gets your heart pumping for 20 – 30 minutes, 5 days a week will work.
Our second brain booster is even easier. It’s a little-known edible mushroom called yamabushitake – or “lion’s mane.”
Lion’s mane has had a place in Chinese herbal medicine for centuries. It’s also popular in Japan. Lion’s mane grows in the U.S., but almost nobody here has heard of it.
You’ll want to remember that name, though. Of all the vitamins and herbs out there, lion’s mane may be your system’s best friend.
Researchers at Russia’s National Academy of Sciences tested lion’s mane on nerve cells. Exposing isolated nerve cells to an extract of lion’s mane promoted healthy development and sped the process of myelination – the formation of a protective sheath.3
Studies from Japan also show lion’s mane stimulates activity of nerve growth factor in human cells.4
Japanese scientists have also shown lion’s mane works in people.
They took 30 volunteers with mild memory and thinking problems and split them into two groups. They gave one group lion’s mane powder, and the other a placebo.
The lion’s mane group scored much higher on memory and thinking tests at 8, 12 and 16 weeks during the trial. The placebo group didn’t.5
The lion’s mane group maintained their gains as long as they kept taking the mushroom. But if they stopped, the researchers discovered their test scores began to fall after just a few weeks.
I suspect much the same would happen with exercise. But with all the benefits of staying active, I can’t imagine you’d want to quit anyway.
Yours in good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Lautenschlager, N.T., et al, “Effect of Physical Activity on Cognitive Function in Older Adults at Risk for Alzheimer Disease,” JAMA. 2008; 300(9): 1027-1037.
2 “The Olympics for the Rest of Us: How Ping-Pong Can Help Your Brain,” Mayo Clinic. Jul 31, 2012.
3 Kolotushkina, E.V., et al, “The influence of Hericium erinaceus extract on myelination process in vitro,” Fiziol Zh. 2003; 49(1): 38-45.
4 Mori, K., “Nerve growth factor-inducing activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells,” Biol Pharm Bull. Sep 2008; 31(9): 1727-1732.
5 Mori, K., et al, “Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo- controlled clinical trial,” Phytother Res. Mar 2009 ; 23(3): 367-372.