Building a Better Brain
Is your stress rising as your memory fails? Does an overactive mind keep you awake at night? Do you regularly skip taking your vitamin, mineral or amino acid supplements? We might not feel the effects of diminished brain health immediately, but most of us need support in maintaining healthy gray matter, whatever our age. From feeding neurons and increasing oxygen circulation to reducing neurotoxins or countering genetic predisposition, these suggestions may help bring your brain into balance.
Research on DHA has shown that it supports healthy mood, structural integrity of the central nervous system, and cognitive function. DHA comprises 20% of the fatty acids in the brain’s cortex, making this this polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid an essential nutrient for overall brain health and well-being. Nordic Naturals high-intensity DHA Xtra formula has a great strawberry flavor and contains 1000 mg of DHA per serving.
Ginkgo Biloba is traditionally known to support cognitive functions such as mental clarity and memory. Nature’s Way Ginkgold Once-A-Day uses an advanced, proprietary extract of premium Ginkgo biloba standardized to over 20 active and coactive Ginkgo constituents to maintain healthy blood flow to the brain and extremities, fight free radicals and counter oxidative stress.
A major factor in how well our brains function is their ability to uptake oxygen, glucose and blood. Enhance your cognitive flexibility and move with ease from task to task with Super Nutrition’s Simply One Think Clearly. Think Clearly helps moderate and balance hormones, helping you stay calm during stressful times.
Ever noticed how much a walnut looks like a brain? You’ve just intuited The Doctrine of Signatures. Often attributed to the ancient Greek physician Galen, the doctrine states that certain plants resemble the part of the body they heal or nourish. Walnuts are among the foods science has proven do, indeed, follow the doctrine, and that’s why we recommend walnuts from Hummingbird Wholesale as a delicious way to add beneficial monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. Sourced mainly from Dixon Ridge Farms, you can snack assured that your choice protects and enhances the earth’s natural resources as well as yours. Walnuts have also been shown to fight inflammation. Add them to your favorite salads, vegetable dishes, desserts, or baked goods.
More Clues about Brain Health
More and more people are making the connection between gut health and brain function, thanks in part to the groundbreaking research Dr. David Perlmutter shared in his book, Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers. Read it to learn more about why and how some foods adversely affect brain function (and check out his latest books, The Grain Brain Cookbook: More Than 150 Life- Changing Gluten-Free Recipes to Transform Your Health and the international bestseller, Brain Maker.
Think there’s no coming back from brain degeneration? Good (and yummy) news: studies increasingly indicate that antioxidant rich foods such as blueberries can, in fact, help reverse neuronal and behavioral aging caused by age-related oxidative stress (1). It may even be possible to combat the genetic predisposition for certain cognitive degeneration diseases such as Alzheimer’s (2) with food. Eat fresh, organic blueberries seasonally, or purchase frozen blueberries, which have been shown to retain most of their antioxidant properties.
Other Doctrine of Signature classics:
Carrots – Eyes: A carrot sliced into rounds resembles a human iris. Carrots are rich in the form of Vitamin A known as beta-carotene, which nourishes eye function.
Kidney Beans – Kidneys: The National Institutes of Health have linked high cholesterol with kidney disease and it so happens that kidney beans are rich in cholesterol-lowering fiber!
Ginger Root – Stomach: The bulbous lengths of ginger root, anatomically resembling the human stomach, contain compounds long known to help with digestion and gut upsets.
Tomatoes – Heart: Both the fruit and the organ are red in color and have four chambers. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that lycopene, the active ingredient in tomatoes, is linked with a reduction in cardiovascular disease.
1 Reversals of Age-Related Declines in Neuronal Signal Transduction, Cognitive, and Motor Behavioral Deficits with Blueberry, Spinach, or Strawberry Dietary Supplementation. Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B, Denisova NA, Bielinski D, Martin A, McEwen JJ, Bickford PC. J Neurosci. 1999 Sep 15;19(18):8114-21.
2 Blueberry Supplementation Enhances Signaling and Prevents Behavioral Deficits in an Alzheimer Disease Model J.A. Joseph, G. Arendash, M. Gordon, D. Diamond, B. Shukitt-Hale, D. Morgan, and N.A. Denisova Nutritional Neuroscience 2003 6:3, 153-162.
Building a Better Brain