It’s a well-known fact that taking a glass of milk every day has the potential to take care of all the nutritional as well as the development needs of children. Now, researchers at the University of Kansas have shown low-fat milk to improve memory even in full-grown adults. According to this study, milk increases the levels of a naturally occurring antioxidant in the brain called glutathione. Another study conducted by the University of Maine found adults consuming milk to exhibit better verbal, spatial, and working memory than non-drinkers. While plain milk can improve memory, you can enhance its power by adding other natural ingredients with powerful nootropic properties. Let’s have a closer look at some of these brain foods.
Brahmi is a popular ayurvedic herb known and used since ancient times as a brain tonic for improving memory and cognitive function. Its powerful nootropic abilities enhance learning abilities and promote mental clarity. Several scientific studies over the years have supported the ayurvedic beliefs of the neuroprotective and memory-enhancing effects of Brahmi. A 2017 study suggested Brahmi as a potential herb for preventing age-related memory disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. It was found to reduce oxidative stress and thus prevent and reverse the degeneration of brain cells. Another 2017 study conducted on Indian school children aged 7-12 years found those consuming Brahmi with milk for the past four months exhibited better spatial memory and problem-solving skills compared to the group administered a placebo. This natural ingredient has proved effective for children and adults alike. It increases blood supply to brain cells and has a stimulating effect on the nerves.
Take 1-2 grams of Brahmi powder with a glass of warm milk every morning.
Turmeric milk is a traditional Indian remedy for cold, cough, pain, and many other common complaints. But, do you know taking this everyday spice with milk can improve your learning ability? According to a 2014 study, aromatic-turmerone present in turmeric is a powerful brain-boosting neuroprotective agent that improves memory and supports a healthy intellect. This curry ingredient found in every Indian kitchen has regenerative abilities, which help brain cells repair themselves and keeps memory disorders at bay. Another major constituent curcumin present in turmeric prevents the breakdown of nerve cells and clears the brain of beta-amyloid plaques, which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. That gives you all the more reasons to grab a warm glass of turmeric milk before bed.
Moringa flowers are known to strengthen the neural circuitry and support healthy brain function. Boil 4-5 moringa flowers in a glass of milk for 3-5 minutes and drink every morning. Apart from boosting memory power, moringa flowers make a complete health supplement. These are a rich source of proteins, iron, calcium, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Drinking moringa milk every day also prevents many diseases such as diabetes, ulcers, epilepsy, and protects the heart by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
Ashwagandha is a potent brain tonic that not only improves memory but also supports a strong nervous system. Unlike other stimulating herbs, ashwagandha relaxes the mind and improves sleep, thus helping in long-term memory. Take 1-2 grams of ashwagandha powder daily with milk before bed. This mental rejuvenator will strengthen your brain to stay calm and perform even in stressful conditions like exams, nearing deadlines, and home responsibilities. As ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen, it also protects the brain from many harmful effects of chronic stress.
5. Gotu kola
A memory enhancer and brain food used in both Ayurveda and Siddha medicine tradition, Gotu kola is enjoying huge popularity in recent times. It is often confused with Brahmi because of its neuroprotective abilities. A 2009 study published in the International Journal of Alzheimer’s disease found Gotu kola to protect the brain from oxidative damage and prevent brain aging. Mix 1-2 grams of dried Gotu kola powder in warm milk and drink twice a day.
When taken with milk, this ayurvedic herb promotes mental clarity and provides steadiness to the mind. Shankhapushpi makes an ideal companion for students during exams and people handling work pressure. Apart from boosting concentration and intelligence, it also reduces stress and improves sleep quality. As the quality of sleep is directly related to brain health, this grounding herb enhances long-term memory and prevents brain disorders.
Almond is an excellent memory-enhancer food source and very commonly used by students for its nootropic abilities. It is believed, eating 2-3 almonds every day improves memory and learning abilities. These are often given to children in growing age and help prevent memory dysfunction in old age. A 2012 study provided evidence that long-term intake of almonds indeed improves brain function. The best part about almonds is their versatility to go well with almost every kind of recipe. You can choose to add dry almond powder or a tsp of almond oil to low-fat milk or directly eat 3-4 water-soaked almonds with milk.
Drinking saffron-infused milk before bed is a time-honored way to improve memory and cognitive ability. Crocin carotenoids and kaempferol present in saffron are powerful brain-protecting agents. Its abilities to protect the brain cells from traumatic injury and dementia are well-documented by research. Saffron balances the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin in the brain, thus helping the nervous system. It maintains brain health by protecting it from inflammation, toxicity, and free radical damage.
Shatavari is an excellent brain nourishing tonic that makes a common ingredient in many ayurvedic supplements. It pacifies the mind, improves neurotransmitters communication, and clears confusion and drowsiness. It is also a powerful antidepressant that reduces mental fatigue and stress. Taking a tsp of Shatavari powder with milk every day helps improve the clarity of senses and leads to better decision making. As a part of the adaptogen class of herbs, Shatavari strengthens brain circuitry and enables it to handle challenging situations.
While all these herbs and spices make a great companion for milk, taking them in excess can be counterproductive. Practice moderation and consistency while using these natural supplements, and you will be unlocking the infinite power of your almighty brain.