In our brain, we have the hippocampus plus, and as we age, the hippocampus gets smaller; but why does this matter?
What is the Hippocampus?
The hippocampus is a horseshoe-shaped structure located in the brain. Interestingly, half is on the left side of the brain, and the other half is on the right side. Its functions are to form new memories, organizing, and connecting our emotions and senses.
- organizes memories ( sends memories to the cerebral cortex and retrieves them when needed)
- navigates emotional responses ( example: you can connect the smell of fresh bread to your grandmother)
- maintains spacial orientation
The article found in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, via Scientific American, discovered that minimal exercise may increase the size of the hippocampus. The research findings had a group of 55 to 80-year-old adults walk around a track for 40 minutes, three times a week for a year. The results indicated a 2% increase in hippocampus size. Now, this is a very impressive and persuasive argument on the importance of exercise!
Does this research entice you to lace up those dusty runners?
A BIG PS:
Brain health is essential, and as the saying goes, “use it or lose it.”
In addition to the above, a few herbs help optimize blood circulation, which ultimately helps help with brain help.
Gingko Biloba – one of the more popular memory herbs, Ginkgo Biloba improves blood circulation in the brain. It also contains antioxidants which is a bonus to fight off free radicals. All in all, Gingko helps improves memory and alertness.
My favorite way to use it: This herb has a slightly sour taste, so it’s best to take it in a capsule or place a 1 tsp to 1 TBSP of a tincture in a cup of warm water. Once a day is a plenty for prevention. A side note: Gingko may cause digestive upsets, headaches; therefore, the “less is more” approach is best.
Rosemary – Rosemary is quite popular in culinary dishes, but it also can improve brain function, enhance memory and concentration.
My way favorite way to use it is: Purchase a rosemary plant. Do not worry if you don’t have a green thumb, as rosemary is the easiest plant to keep alive! Snip a few clippings, place them in a vase, and keep it where you work. My daughter will also have a few sprigs in her room while she is studying.
Gotu Kola Centella Asiatica– Gotu Kola is part of the parsley family and is a little spicy to the taste. It is native to Asia and Europe and nourishes the nervous system, improves brain circulation and mental performance, and retention.
My favorite way to use it: Like Gingko, I will either take this as a capsule or place a 1 tsp to 1 TBSP of a tincture in a cup of warm water. Once a day is plenty for prevention.
An important side note, since these herbs increase circulation, it is not indicated to take them while pregnant or menstruating. If taking any pharmaceutical medicines, speak with your doctor before taking any of them.