June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month
Brain health is extremely important because among many functions, it helps control your body’s physiology, helps you interact and understand the world around you through learning, storing memories, solving problems and using stored information appropriately. Dementia can negatively impair a person’s life and his/hers caregiver. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. More than 5 million Americans have the disease.
Many conditions predispose one to experience a decline in brain health, such as diabetes, hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol, heart failure, depression, psychological distress, hypothyroidism, infections, sleep apnea, hypothyroidism, brain injuries and many others.
Air pollution exposure can also cause a decline in brain health. It initiates a system-wide inflammation, generates oxidative stress. In addition, it can clog our brains with plaques, kill neurons and warp the architecture of developing tissue.
There are many things one can do to maintain good brain health such as balanced nutrition, stress management, avoid environmental toxins, physical exercise, and brain stimulation.
A balanced nutrition should include fruits, vegetables, good fats found in nuts, avocado, and oils.
Antioxidants are very important nutrients for maintaining brain health. It is found in fruits, vegetables and herbs. For example, the flavonoid, rutin, found in apples, tea leaves, buckwheat and passion flower has shown to decrease inflammation and protect the nervous system. It may be beneficial in the treatment of dementia like Alzheimer’s.
A few great herbs include:
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) - contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it has shown to improve memory, and protect nerve cells.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng) - contain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune stimulating properties, it helps enhance cognitive function by improving learning and memory.
Ginkgo biloba - Ginkgo biloba contains flavonoids, terpene lactones, and ginkgolic acids. It brings oxygen to the brain. It has been used for dementia, vertigo, tinnitus, mood disturbances, inattention and headaches.
Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) - contains anti-stress, cognition enhancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. It prevents disease and ageing. It has been used for memory and anxiety.
Curcumin (Curcuma Longa ) - anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-arthritis, pro-healing and boosting memory cognitive functions. It decreases the amount of amyloid plaque formation.