Updated: Sep 9
Have you ever gone into a room and forgot what you were looking for? Or found yourself in the middle of a conversation unable to find the right words? It goes something like this: “You know, the guy — the guy with the brown hair, what’s his name?”
These experiences can be disconcerting, but they're more common than you might realize. More than 600 million people around the world suffer from forgetfulness, and if you’re among the millions, don’t worry. Decreased focus, word search, difficulty remembering, and inability to think clearly are highly treatable — so long as you’re willing to be proactive about your health and well-being!
In this article, we’ll explore the root causes of these concerning experiences, and how to boost your brainpower naturally with Ayurveda.
What are cognitive changes?
Cognitive changes are typically characterized by poor concentration, decreased focus, issues with memory, alertness, and frequent, uncomfortable word retrieval challenges.
Essentially, it means your brain and mind are not functioning at an optimal level, typically due to some underlying factors such as stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, hormonal imbalance, and food habits.
What causes cognitive changes?
There are various issues that can cause cognitive changes such as diet, stress, poor sleep, medications, anxiety, stress, and depression.
If impaired memory or forgetfulness becomes a chronic condition, make sure you consult with a professional who can help you get to the root cause of your symptoms.
How to boost your brain power with Ayurveda
The vast majority of brain and mind-related changes we face are related to our lifestyle choices. In this section, we’ll cover proactive ways you can boost your brain power with Ayurveda and ultimately improve your memory, focus, and brain health as a result.
Ayurvedic brain-boosting tip #1: Stay away from ultra-processed foods
In Ayurveda, food is medicine used to nourish the mind and body. Unfortunately, much of modern society doesn’t share this same perspective.
As a result, ultra-processed foods such as microwaveable meals, instant soup, candy, chips, sweetened cereal, white bread, fast food, and heavily processed meats (bacon, sausage, hotdogs) have become a staple in many households. These options are touted as more convenient because they’re quick and easy to make — but they lack nutritional value and end up negatively affecting your health and well-being over time.
According to a Harvard study conducted on 100,000 adults, people who consume a diet containing 10% or more of ultra-processed foods have an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and cerebrovascular disorders. Furthermore, these foods deprive your brain of important nutrients needed to function properly.
Ayurvedic brain-boosting tip #2: Eat antioxidant-rich foods
One of the best ways you can nourish your brain and protect yourself from chronic stress and depression is by eating antioxidant-rich foods. Wholesome fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants keep your brain cells healthy and help them avoid oxidative stress - which is a rusting of the cells that leads to depression.
The best antioxidant foods for your brain will depend on your dominant dosha. To learn more about the 3 doshas and how they impact your life, click here.
Antioxidant-rich foods for the Pitta dosha include broccoli, spinach, and carrots.
Antioxidant-rich foods for the Kapha dosha include apples, cherries, cranberries, grapefruit, pomegranate, artichoke, asparagus, and green beans.
Antioxidant-rich foods for the Vata dosha include beetroot, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, and winter squashes.
These antioxidant-rich foods will help your body fight free radicals, thereby protecting your brain from damage.
Ayurvedic brain-boosting tip #3: Use herbs to enhance mental cognition
Herbs are plant nutrition targeted to a specific tissue, channel, organ, or issue. If you’re looking for ways to improve your intellect, enhance your memory, and increase your creativity, Medhya Rasayana Ayurvedic herbs can help.
The term Medhya Rasayana comes from two Ayurvedic words:
‘Medhya’ meaning intellect or cognitive power
‘Rasayana’ meaning rejuvenative ability
Medhya Rasayana herbs are nootropic, meaning they enhance cognitive functioning. These herbs are often used to improve memory, intelligence, creativity, consciousness, retention, and so forth. They work by supplying your brain with essential nutrients needed to function properly.
These herbs are safe and effective (so long as you get them from a trusted practitioner) and easy to take. To learn more about the Medhya Rasayana herbs and how they can help you, click here to book a free consultation.
Ayurvedic brain-boosting tip #4: Manage your stress
Stress and anxiety, especially if they become chronic conditions, can wreak havoc on your well-being and brain health. Studies show chronic stress impairs brain function, causes brain cells to die, and can even shrink the size of your brain!
Here are a handful of ways to manage the stress in your life:
Be mindful of your environment: Are you surrounded by chaos and clutter, or does your environment feel orderly and clean? Your environment has a huge impact on your stress levels. By keeping your house organized, you’ll reduce environment-induced stress and overwhelm. (If you are interested in our Vastu consultations – the ancient guide to creating positive home and work spaces, click here.)
Take inventory of your relationships: Are there certain people causing you undue stress? Consider which relationships are serving your highest good, and which are hindering you from feeling at peace.
Maintain a consistent routine: Known as dinacharya in Ayurveda, a routine specific to you, helps to balance your doshas and work in harmony with your biological clock. Dinacharya creates ease in you and for you as you move through your day. You are less stressed, enjoying more, and increasing your sense of satisfaction.
Develop a regular meditation practice: Consistent meditation is proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Try to carve out a few regular intervals each week (on the same day and at the same time) where you can meditate. If you’re short on time, here is a quick de-stress meditation that can be done in less than 5 minutes:
Ayurvedic brain-boosting tip #5: Get quality sleep
When your body is sleep deprived, it makes it harder for your brain to function — as a result, you may experience decreased memory and impaired decision-making abilities. What’s more, lack of sleep also impairs how your immune system functions, thereby making you more susceptible to illness.
Make it your goal to get quality sleep every night. This means your mind is totally disconnected from your senses, and you’re in a deep, uninterrupted sleep. When you get quality sleep, your body will rejuvenate itself and your brain will function better.
Here are a few Ayurvedic suggestions for achieving quality sleep:
Aim to be in bed before 10 pm every night
Stay away from screens (TV, phone, iPad, etc.) after dinner
Finish your daily meals 2 to 3 hours before bed
Avoid caffeine and other stimulants after 1 pm
Which of these 5 Ayurvedic brain-boosting suggestions are you going to try? Let me know in the comments below!
Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and Meditation Teacher. Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home and she has remained passionate about Ayurveda for 30 years. A firm believer in Ayurveda, the oldest, most continuously practiced holistic medicine system, Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach. To learn more about Ayurveda and how she will help you take control of your health now — click here to schedule a free consultation.