Boost your Brain Power
Author: Lia Pellizzeri Date Posted:3 October 2016
Whether you want to protect your brain from age-related degeneration or increase your memory and concentration, we’ve put together a list of things you can start doing TODAY to make sure your brain is the healthiest and most powerful it can be!
Increase your Antioxidants.
What if there was a way to turn on a switch in your body that manufactured its own antioxidants? Nfk2 is a protein found in the nucleus of cells that can be activated in the presence of free radicals – the nasties capable of causing oxidative damage to our DNA and brain tissue.
So while it’s great to incorporate antioxidants into our diet, we can actually use our diet to produce a vast amount of our bodies most important free-radical fighters including Glutathione and Superoxide Dismutase.
The most potent Nfk2 activators include:
- Resveratrol - found in red wine, grapes and Vaccinium berries (one type being blueberries).
- Cruciferous Veg - in other words, broccoli and other cabbage-related vegetables. Eat your cruciferous greens!
- Catechins - abundant in green tea and matcha.
- Curcumin - a polyphenol found in the culinary spice turmeric, a delicious addition to your diet.
- Allicin - otherwise known as the main and active constituent of garlic.
- Coffee - drink up! This amazing drink inhibits reactive oxygen species (ROS) in both its caffeinated and de-caffeinated forms. But don’t go overboard.
Get your blood pressure sorted!
High blood pressure means the brain is not receiving adequate oxygen, resulting in damaged blood vessels and vascular inflammation, thus increasing the risk of cognitive impairment and or memory loss.
Decreasing your blood pressure if it is too high can be greatly helped by improving lifestyle factors including a diet low in salt and sugar, whilst being high in healthy fats and proteins, regular exercise, and better stress management.
You may be pleased to find out that light to moderate alcohol consumption can actually help regulate blood pressure through relaxation of blood vessel walls. However drinking responsibly and within the guideline is paramount, as drinking more than two standard drinks per day can have a detrimental effect.
Supplements can give you a head start:
Although getting vitamins and minerals from our diet is the best way to absorb and utilize nutrients, it’s just a fact of life that our diet can sometimes fall short at times.
Sometimes it may be as basic as not eating enough, perhaps nutrient absorption isn’t optimal or you may simply not be a big fish fan, in these cases it can be convenient and beneficial to supplement.
These are my top picks for brain health:
- Krill Oil: The reason why Krill is particularly great for brain health is that along with significant amounts of EPA/DHA or omega-3 fatty acids, Krill also contains an antioxidant called astaxanthin, one of the most potent carotenoid antioxidants with the unique ability to cross the blood-brain barrier!
- Calamari Oil: Who knew that tasty calamari could be so good for you! The humble squid contains significantly high quantities of Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA. DHA is especially good for brain health due to it being the preferred source of fatty acids for brain tissue. Supplementation with DHA has been shown to improve learning ability and general brain health, whilst low levels are linked to age-related cognitive decline.
- Ginkgo: This master herb has a lot going for it. Its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier allows for increased blood flow and antioxidant activity to occur at targeted sites – improving concentration, attention, and short-term memory.
- B9 & B12: High homocysteine levels in the blood are indicative of a wide range of health problems including increasing your cardiovascular health risk, inflammation, and together with low B9 (aka folate) levels pose as a risk factor for poor cognitive function. Low levels of folate often correlate with high homocysteine levels, so getting adequate folate and B12 is imperative in driving down the inflammatory homocysteine levels and maintain optimal levels of both nutrients in the body.
Simple as that! Aerobic exercise is emerging as one of the single best things you can do to not only help neurodegeneration, but to actually help reduce active memory decline and improve overall brain health.
The effects of regular aerobic exercise, whether it be a morning walk, an afternoon at the gym or simply pottering around in the garden, can actually enhance learning and memory and counteract age-related as well as disease-related mental decline.
Whoever knew it was so easy to boost your brain health! How are you going to help your brain today?
|Written by Lia Pellizzeri|
Lia is a qualified Naturopath who believes in the power of nature to heal many of today’s acute and chronic conditions. She’s not only passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, but about educating people on nutrition and the amazing benefits of herbs and supplements in addressing symptoms and their underlying issues.
Lia loves to cook, bake and read… when she isn’t busy telling people to enjoy their egg yolks and other healthy fats, she can most likely be found on the lounge with a latte and a tattered copy of Lord of the Rings.