Supporting Cognitive Function

herbs-supplements

As we age, cognitive decline is inevitable however, there is so much we can do to support a healthy aging process. Degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis can often be avoided with the integration of a healthy diet, lifestyle shifts, and stress reduction.

Let the following reccomendations serve as a guide to better brain health & long-term vitality.


Nourishment

Following a healthy whole-foods diet which includes plenty of protein, healthy fats, vegetables and fruits is essential in promoting cognitive function. Choose real foods that are low in processed sugar and have anti-inflammatory properties.

Include:

-      High omega-3 fats: wild salmon, hemp hearts, walnuts, brazil nuts

-      High fiber: leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, whole unrefined grains, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

-      Antioxidants: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, leafy greens, bitter greens, green tea.

-      Protein: lean meats such as organic chicken and turkey, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds.

-      Whole grains: quinoa, spelt, Kamut, amaranth, wild rice.


Lifestyle

Exercise - Regular exercise is crucial in good mental health. From promoting a good mood to supporting cognitive function.

Try: getting 30-60 minutes of exercise daily. Any exercise will do, whether it is walking, biking, hiking, swimming, yoga, or qi gong.

 

Detoxification –our body’s toxic load can affect the health of our entire body and mind. By supporting detoxification, we can reduce the number of toxins that contribute to cognitive decline.

Try: simple and gentle detoxifying activities such as dry skin brushing, saunas, steam rooms, or breathing exercises. Daily movement also supports healthy detoxification. 

 

Meditation – meditation is a powerful tool that relaxes the mind and can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. By reducing stress, we can slow the effects of aging on the brain and increase focus.

Try: a daily meditation practice of at least 5 minutes. As you progress, slowly increase the time spent meditating.  

 

Socializing – socializing and spending time with others is a great way to keep the mind sharp and reduce cognitive decline.

Try: joining a social group or activity, hosting or attending a dinner party, or inviting friends over for tea.

 

Reduce exposure to heavy metals– heavy metal toxicity is linked to several diseases of the brain. Mercury amalgams, aluminum deodorant, and large fish such as tuna are examples of everyday exposures to heavy metals.

Try: consider having mercury amalgams safely removed and replaced with safer ceramic fillings, switch to an aluminum free deodorant, and opt for smaller fish, or less frequent exposure to large fish.

 

Make your home toxin-free– toxins are present in most things in our home, from the furniture we buy to clothing, cosmetics, cleaning products, and our food. The combination of all of these toxins can create a high toxic load that puts our bodies at risk for disease and illness.

Try: purchasing eco-friendly clothing and cosmetics, opt for natural cleaning products and buy organic produce whenever possible.

 

Brain Strengthening Activities –a great way to strengthen and support your memory and cognitive function is through practice!

Try:  activities such as crosswords, Sudoku, puzzles, or memory games.


Supportive Herbs

Ginseng –a powerful herb that can help enhance energy, cognitive function, and memory. It can also help reduce inflammation and improve mood.

Try: in tincture form. 1-3x per day.

 

Ginkgo Biloba– anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, promotes circulation in the brain, improves memory and even increase positive mood /decreases depression.

Try: supplementing with gingko biloba in tincture form - 1-3x per day.

 

Bacopa– has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is currently being tested in Alzheimer’s treatment and therapy.  

Try: a bacopa supplement.

 

Ashwaghanda– is a powerful and long-used adaptogenic herb that helps the body cope and adapt to stress. Through adaptation, it supports health and longevity, particularly during stressful or difficult times such as after the loss of a loved one.

Try: a daily ashwagandha supplement in capsule or tincture form.

 

Green Tea – the chemical ECGC along with the caffeine in green tea has long been known as a brain health promoter.

Try: sipping on a cup of green tea each morning. *Avoid having too much green tea, especially late in the day as it does contain caffeine.

 

Rhodiola – is another effective adaptogenic herb. It can help to relax the mind and lower cortisol as a result. It can improve memory and reduce memory loss, especially when your memory loss is due to stress.

Try: taking in tincture form 1-3x per day


Supportive Supplements

Omega-3 Fish Oil– is one of the best supplements you can take for brain health! Omega-3 fatty acids help to build, support and nourish brain cells. Supplementing with omega-3 can help with memory loss, concentration, ADHD, depression, and anxiety.  

Try: supplementing with at least 1000mg of combined EPA and DHA daily.

 

B Vitamins (especially B12)– is important for brain health and managing stress. The B vitamins help our brain to function optimally by aiding in the formation of neurotransmitters as well as preventing cognitive decline.

Try: a B-complex so that you are getting everything you need at once!

 

Acetyl-l-Carnitine– is an amino acid (protein) that forms acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is important in muscle contraction but also has effects on memory centers of the brain and is being used in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Try: supplementing with acetyl-l-carnitine daily.

 

CoQ10– is an antioxidant that helps to protect the brain from degeneration and feeds the brain’s cells, improving memory and cognition.

Try: a COQ10 supplement

 

Curcumin– curcumin is the main active component of turmeric. It is known for its memory improving properties and it helps to improve circulation to the brain.

Try: a turmeric supplement is capsule or tincture form. 

 

 

kristin dahl