Do you know what many parents anxiously search on the websites, for the past few weeks? It is nothing but ‘what to do to boost up memory?’ As you know the reason to it is that it is time for exams. The online sale of memory enhancing kits has been on rise. Most of the medicines sold through online advertisements would be fake is a different story. But there are people who believe those fake advertisements spending rupees one or two thousands and get cheated. In this age of commercial system of education, the number of anxious parents approaching doctors with a request “He’s not studying well. He tends to forget whatever he has studied. Is there any tonic or tablet to boost his memory?” has increased significantly. There are various reasons for a person not able to retain prolonged memory. However, it is a fact that even through food, memory can be enhanced. Let us know the food items that enhance memory and also activates our brain.
Vallarai (Centella asiatica)
The moment one feels the need to enhance memory what immediately comes to our mind is Vallarai. It’s a spreading planting growing richly in the water borne areas. The plant has another name, Yosanavalli, connoting its memory enhancing power. It can be given to children to consume weekly once or twice in the form of vegetable fry, or in combination with other vegetables or chutney. The leaves can be dried and the powder of it can be mixed with milk and drunk half a teaspoon, once in three days, at one time, which will help boost memory power. It should not be given in excess to children with a wrong notion of giving more of this plant would provide more memory power. It may cause giddiness. It can be used in summer as it causes body to cool. It can be used as ghee in foods by using the Siddha product, Vallarai ghee. With the presence of active ingredients, Brahmoside and Brahminoside, it has the pacifying effect too. Based on the research findings the plant also has anti-depressant activity.
It is better to avoid non vegetarian items during exams. However, fish can be included to some extent. Never consume fried fishes. It is very good to have fish stew. Fish are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and therefore increase memory power. The omega 3 fatty acids activate brain cell functions and help in enhanced memory. Research findings state that particular section of the brain that enhances memory power would function well for those who consume more fish.
Some research findings confirm that turmeric brings down the forgetfulness of the old people suffering from Alzhemer’s disease. Extensive research is going on with use of turmeric in brain function. Let your kids drink milk every day with a mix of turmeric and pepper powder. You can witness their boundless briskness. The active ingredient Curcumin in turmeric relieves depression too.
Neerbrahmi (Bacopa monnieri)
It is largely found in the water bodies. It is a traditional practice to mix the leaf extract of this plant with ghee, boil it and use it as a medicine for brain. The brand name ‘Brahmi ghee’ can be used to enhance memory power. It provides immediate energy as it contains sugar. Little amount of the plant can be mixed with rice and consumed. its active ingredient, Bacoside, serves the reason for memory related activities.
For a healthy brain
Pista, badam and walnuts are good for brain health. The vitamin E present in them enhances brain activity. Omega 3 fatty acids are more in walnut. A research finding confirms its role in memory enhancement. Rice, mixed with ghee and dhal, remains nutritious to brain. Use of traditional varieties like red rice and Kavuni rice is recommended. They richly provide various micro nutrients along with carbohydrates.
Folates, coline, vitamin B12 present in eggs provide nutrition to brain. But do not give broiler eggs to children. Use eggs of country hens only. The amino acid, Theanine, present in green tea keeps on relaxed.
Anthocyanin present in black grapes, papaya, guava, red banana and melons are suitable for brain health. Fruits and vegetables activate our brain and at the same time improve immunity. Vitamin c rich oranges can be consumed till one satiates. Leaves of Moringa and Ponnanganni (Alternanthera sessilis) are the leaf varieties that provide excellent health benefits. Green leaves soothe our mind and also serve as laxative.
Other than food, one should have three times meal without fail in order to keep our brain healthy. The food should be balanced enough to have required proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats and that is the fundamental requirement.
The education practice that we currently follow is founded on memory power. That is why we brag more about the means of enhancing memory power. Future will be better if changes are made with our education system to focus on our ability to process knowledge. Let us hope that it will happen soon. Foods that activate our brain can be included in our routine food habits rather than using only during examinations. By following appropriate food regimen since childhood one can postpone the diseases that make one suffer during old age.
(This article written in Tamil by Dr V Vikramkumar MD(S) has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)