Exams and tests arise about this time of year. Let’s face it, sometimes life has a way of becoming strenuously complicated and there is so much to cover, memorize and learn that there are not enough hours in a day.
There are a few key ingredients that can aid in improving memory, learning, concentration, attention span, reasoning, social skills, effective decision making and focus. Although none of the supplements and nutrients below can allow you to pass a test with flying colours without looking into your notes they can boost your brainpower to the next level.
Ginkgo biloba is used for neural disorders (Alzheimer’s and Dementia and Lyme’s disease), for preventing headaches, ringing in the ears, vertigo, mood disturbances and hearing disorders that are all associated with reducing blood flow to the brain.
Ginkgo aids in improving blood circulation throughout the body as well as brain, ear, eye and leg function. This added blood flow will help bring more oxygen to the brain. It will help get rid of free radicals that result in the damage of brain cells. Having your brain work at its best will help you raise yourself to your full potential.
An edible mushroom, traditionally used in China and Japan for stomach ailments, improving digestion, as a nervous system tonic and in cancer prevention. Research has shown that lion’s mane components; threitol, D-arabinitol and palmitic acid may have antioxidant effects that aid in regulating blood lipid levels and reducing blood glucose levels.
It has been shown to regrow brain neurons in the central and peripheral nervous system, reconstruct neurological degeneration, boost cognitive function as well as reduce memory loss and develop reflexes.
dosage: 1 tsp twice a day – can take as a capsule, make it into cookies.
Green & Black tea
These two teas have numerous benefits in the body. For the brain, they aid in preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine which is responsible for the stimulation of muscles – including those of the gastrointestinal tract – the function of sensory neurons and the autonomic nervous system as well as playing a part in scheduling your dream sleep (REM). This will help you improve your memory over time. Green tea has shown to have lasting impacts whereas the effects of black tea may only last a day.
A few sprigs of fresh or dried rosemary steeped in hot water and drank before a test/exam is the perfect way to stimulate your brain and retrieve information. Rosemary aids in stimulating memory and alleviating mental fatigue. Tea or tincture, rosemary strengthens mental clarity.
If you are every feeling exhausted after a long work week, take a bath and add a few drops of Rosemary oil. It will stimulate blood flow through the body and wake you up. Make sure to combine it with a carrier oil or Epsom salts as it can irritate the skin.
A few dried or fresh leaves steeped in hot water will benefit memory recall. It is believed that sage contains chemicals that aid in stimulating message transmissions in the brain.
Combine it with rosemary — maybe add some passionflower, chamomile, hops or lime (which will help relieve your stress and sweeten your tea) drink, breath and let your brain do the rest.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Fish oil, flax oil, chia seeds and any foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids are essential for proper brain development. They help in the maintenance of the brain’s functions later on in life. Strongly linked to the prevention of the onset of Alzheimer’s, omega-3 fatty acids help keep your brain in check.
There are many B vitamins (B1 – thiamin, B2 – riboflavin, B3 – niacin, B5 – pantothenic acid, B6 – pyridoxine, B7 – biotin, B9 – folic acid, B13 – orotic acid, B15 – pangamic acid, B17 – laetrile) and they are all water-soluble meaning they are not stored in your body. It is very important to make sure that you consume a diet rich in B vitamins or supplement with them. B vitamins are taken to help combat stress, fatigue, anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, and hyperactivity.
B vitamins help transport oxygen to the brain, rid the body and brain of free radicals. They help with concentration and focus, as well as preventing you from becoming too fatigued, which is something you may need if sleep is something you have not experienced for a while.
Combat an Iron Deficiency
A lack of iron as well as a depletion of ferritin (stored iron), will result in a lack of hemoglobin. If you have ever been anemic, or experience its symptoms know, you will understand the feeling of tiredness, inability to focus or concentrate and trouble to recall information. Taking a sublingual B12 would also be beneficial for anemia and helping to boost your brain’s potential.
Water – Keep Hydrated
The brain is mainly made of water, so when you don’t drink enough and you are feeling thirsty and dehydrated so is your brain. Keep sipping throughout the day. Make sure that you are drinking alkaline water that has been remineralized.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid. It is an important part of cells, primarily the cell membrane. Originally manufactured from cow brains, now you are going to find PS made from soy and sunflower (make sure you go with non-GMO and if possible organic). Helps to sharpen memory and increase thinking ability.
Also, make sure you get enough sleep. 8 hours as possible, before a test, exam.
Amanda Filipowicz is a certified nutritional practitioner (CNP) with a bachelor in environmental studies (BES) from York University. She also has certification in clinical detoxification, prenatal and postnatal care as well as nutrition for mental health. She has been working as a nutritionist since 2013 and is a lifelong proponent of eating healthy.