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The inability to focus has become a major industry today. Kids left, right, and center are testing positive for attention deficit disorders and being medicated. Adults are popping pills for memory loss and drinking horrible chemical concoctions to keep artificially alert throughout the day. The most apparent result of all of this is that it isn’t working, or often it produces worse side effects.

Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient Indian healthcare system with over 3,000 years of practical success. It is a proactive system set to prevent problems and provide personalized solutions to those who follow it. Best of all, it’s a natural system, changing the body’s chemistry rather than disrupting it. Despite modern medical institutes’ subtle objections to these unproven holistic techniques, Ayurvedic methods are becoming more popular in the U.S.

Rather than relying on chemical medicines and sugary potions to keep you focused and energized, why not try something a little more sustainable and a little better for your body:

Try Helpful Herbs

It’s important to realize herbs do not necessarily work like pills. The best way to make use of herbal remedies is to use them consistently as a part of everyday life. If the problem already exists, typically high, regular doses of helpful herbs will help to begin neutralizing the issue, after which the plant should be incorporated into daily life.

While herbs are natural and for many of us that means safe, concentrated use should only be done with proper research or professional assistance. Learn about the herb you want to use, then take it responsibly. For me, this nearly always means using it as a food or drink from the plant, taking highly concentrated capsulized doses as a last resort. My general rule is the less processed, the better.

In terms of concentration and memory, many helpful herbs are out there to try. Ginkgo biloba, kava kava, brahmi, ginseng, and gotu kola are superstar aids kicked around in highbrow herbal circles. However, more recognizable remedies like rosemary, peppermint, and basil help as well.

Feed Your Brain

While finally on the upswing, for a long time, doctors have been undertrained on the nutrition necessary for a healthy body. The focus has all been on medicine, which, unfortunately (for patients) has resulted more often in the need for more medicine. But, recent documentaries like Forks Over Knives and Food Matters have highlighted just how much proper nutrition affects medical conditions.

In order for our brains to stay well oiled, we need to provide our bodies with useful nutrients. Start with whole grains, which supply the slow-release energy to keep you going throughout the day, physically and mentally. And, lots of other foods are associated specifically with improved memory and brain function.

Look for these plant-based brainpower boosters: blueberries are renowned for preventing short-term memory loss, Omega-3 fatty acids like those found in flaxseed and pumpkin seeds are thought imperative for healthy brain function, and there are many others: tomatoes (lycopene to prevent dementia), blackcurrants (vitamin C for sharpness), broccoli (vitamin K for cognitive power), and nuts (vitamin E to prevent mental decline).

Practice Mindful Exercises

Like physical dexterity, muscle reaction, and overall strength, mental prowess requires practice and maintenance. We aren’t born knowing how to multiply or speak a second language (or any language actual), so in order to keep the mind limber and updated, we’ve got to exercise it.

Luckily, for the most part, brain exercises are fun and don’t require a massage afterward. Low impact activities like crosswords, puzzles (sudoku!), or even reading keeps the brain’s stamina up, just like a treadmill or stationary bike might. Learning new skills, like how to play a musical instrument, is also good.

Equally as important are high-impact brain games where time and accuracy are a factor. There are lots of board games that can help: Taboo, Scattegories, Boggle, Set, and Bananagrams are all great, fast-paced mind stimulators. Or, if you don’t have equally as enthused friends, check out brain game websites, like Games for the Brain and Luminosity.

As with our well-being in general, a healthy brain requires a healthy lifestyle, mindful of our minds. Just like our physical bodies need to be nourished and exercised, so does our mind. It’s no new mystery diagnosis: A little less T.V., a little less Facebook, and a little more activity and you’ll feel the difference.

Physical exercise does the brain good as well. As does water. As does sleep.

(Note: I am not an Ayurvedic doctor or specialist, but rather someone who appreciates its techniques and the powers of food and behavior to change our health. The preceding advice comes from a practical rather than prescribed point of view. Seek a specialist’s assistance before trying anything major.)

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