Monday, 14 May 2018

Care2 Healthy Living/Zoe Blarowski: 9 Plants to Grow That Help Your Brain and Memory

Care2 Healthy Living 
9 Plants to Grow That Help Your Brain and Memory
9 Plants to Grow That Help Your Brain and Memory

    By: Zoe Blarowski
    May 13, 2018

    About Zoe

You don’t have to spend a fortune on fancy supplements to enhance your brain power. Many common garden plants are proven to help keep your brain healthy and improve memory function. And the majority of these plants can be easily grown indoors in containers or outside in a garden plot.

Read on to find out some of the best choices to support your brain and memory.

1. Peppermint

Peppermint has an abundance of health benefits. When it comes to brain function, simply smelling the plant will give you a boost. One study asked participants to complete a cognitive function test in a room that had been infused with the scent of peppermint, versus a non-scented room. Those in the peppermint room had significantly enhanced memory function and increased alertness compared to those in the non-scented room.

How to Use: You can hang fresh or dry bouquets of peppermint around your home. A nice cup of steaming peppermint tea next to your work space may help keep you alert. Also, peppermint can make a delicious addition to salads, savory dishes and desserts.

2. Sage

Salvia officinalis, the regular culinary sage you would use in cooking, has been shown to be effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease and improving memory. In one study, Alzheimer’s patients who took daily supplements of sage extract had better cognitive function and appeared less agitated after four months on the extract. Also, both consuming sage and smelling sage have been shown to enhance memory function in healthy adults.

How to Use: Sage can be steeped into a tea and consumed daily. It also goes well in dishes such as risotto, fettuccini alfredo or pesto. To add the fragrance to a room, distribute bunches of fresh or dry sage.

Turmeric root
3. Turmeric

Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been linked to a wide variety of health benefits. One study found that participants had significantly improved memory and attention within one hour after taking a curcumin supplement. Four weeks on the supplement enhanced their working memory, energy levels and calmness as well as lowered their stress levels.

How to Use: Turmeric can be eaten in many different ways. Check out these delicious recipes with turmeric, or try some other creative uses for turmeric.

Related: How to Grow Your Own Turmeric

4. Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) has been used as a memory-enhancer for hundreds of years. More recently, studies have shown that rosemary increases alertness and improves long-term memory. An interesting 2013 study found that smelling rosemary increased your chances of remembering to do something.

How to Use: Add about one tablespoon (17 milliliters) of dried rosemary to one cup (250 milliliters) of boiling water and steep for ten minutes. Drink the infusion daily. Hang bunches of fresh or dried rosemary around your home to help you remember your daily “to-do list”.

5. Thyme

Thyme is shown to increase antioxidant levels in the brain, as well as boost the level of healthy fats, such as omega-3 fats. Researchers believe these benefits may be due to the fact that thyme is very high in luteolin, which is a flavonoid shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Common garden thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and wild thyme (Thymus serphyllum) have both been shown to be medicinally active, although other common garden varieties likely have similar properties.

How to Use: Add thyme to any of your favorite dishes by itself, or mix it into za’atar. Thyme also goes well in herbal teas.

6. Kale

In ancient Greece, kale was a favorite vegetable used to help rheumatism, eye-sight and memory. In modern times, we now know that kale has one of the highest nutrient densities of most foods. Kale contains brain-supporting omega-3 fats. Kale is also an excellent source of lutein, a plant pigment that research suggests can help maintain healthy brain function, as well as enhance learning and memory.

How to Use: Some might argue that you can use kale in anything, from smoothies, to tacos, to pizza. If you need some ideas, check out these tasty kale recipes.

Related: An Easy Beginner’s Guide to Growing Kale

Ginkgo with fruit
7. Ginkgo

Ginkgo biloba is one of the best-researched brain and memory boosting plants, and it’s been safely used for thousands of years in its native China. Among its many benefits, ginkgo is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease as well as enhance short- and long-term memory. Both the leaves and the fruit of ginkgo are used medicinally.

The only drawback to growing ginkgo is that you need a lot of space. A mature ginkgo tree can reach over 80 feet (24 meters) tall and 40 feet (12 meters) wide. Another challenge may be finding a ginkgo that will produce fruit. Ginkgo trees are naturally either male or female, and only the females make fruit. But the fruit smells horrible, so many nurseries only grow the males.

How to Use: Steep the leaves into a tea or add them to dishes. If you’re preparing the fruit, be careful because ginkgo seeds contain toxins that need to be broken down prior to eating them. Instructables has a good overview of how to pick and prepare ginkgo seeds.

8. Ginger

Ginger is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Research has shown that ginger specifically reduces inflammation linked to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease. In another study, ginger supplementation improved working memory, reaction time and attention in healthy, middle-aged adults.

Ginger might seem like an exotic spice, but you can easily grow it yourself. Check out these detailed instructions on how to grow your own ginger.

How to Use: Brew some chopped, fresh ginger in boiling water for a simple tea. The more ginger you add, the spicier the tea will be, so only add as much as you’re comfortable with. You can also make a variety of other refreshing ginger drinks. In addition, ginger is delicious in many curries, soups and desserts.

Fava Beans
9. Beans

Most beans are high in choline, which is a nutrient essential for many physiological processes, including normal metabolism and the creation of neurotransmitters in the brain. Studies suggest that eating adequate choline in your diet may help prevent cognitive decline as we age.

The easiest beans to grow in your garden are likely the immature types, such as fava beans, lima beans or edamame soy beans. If you’re willing to wait a bit longer for your bean crop to mature, you can enjoy home-grown dry beans, such as chickpeas, kidney beans or lentils. These all contain generous amounts of choline.

How to Use: Immature beans can simply be shelled, steamed fresh and eaten with a touch of salt. Check out these tips on cooking dry beans, then add your finished beans to soups, salads or other dishes.
Related on Care2

    6 Everyday Habits for Better Brain Health
    13 Herbs and Spices That Can Reduce Inflammation
    25 Beneficial Plants That Ward Off Pests and Protect Your Garden

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Recommended by
Sonia M
Sonia Mjust now

Interesting post, thanks for sharing
Elizabeth H
Elizabeth H20 minutes ago

I use all of these except number 7.
Janis K
Janis Kabout an hour ago

Thanks for sharing.
Larry M
Larry McDaniel1 hours ago

Thank you
Louise R
Louise R2 hours ago

thanks for posting this
Melanie St. Germaine
Melanie St. Germaine2 hours ago

Thank you for sharing.
No W
No W4 hours ago

thank you for posting
RK R4 hours ago

Plus be active throughout your life. Few habits work in isolation except laziness.
Renata B
Renata B4 hours ago

Very useful, thank you. Two SPAM messages in a row !!! :-(
John W
John W5 hours ago


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