The scariest part about aging is not the inevitability of wrinkling skin and thinning hairlines. The cognitive decline that goes along with it is more terrifying as you think about it. The realization that we might be reduced to a senile someone our family used to know is not a very comforting thought.
Science says that the human brain has an almost virtual storage capacity. But regardless, our brain function can decline at some point. It is mainly due to the neurons getting damaged because of genetics, stress, disease, and other factors.
We are also likely to experience a mild cognitive decline and brain fog at any age. But, these can be slowed down by reinforcing the brain with supportive practices.
How to Boost the Brain Function
Do you know that the brain is the fattiest organ in our body? Composed of about 60% fat, it is considered the powerhouse of the body. The fatty acids in the human brain are vital for its proper functioning and wellness.
Memory problems can also occur to anyone at any time. Genetic and health problems such as dementia are unstoppable. However, many brain issues can be delayed by a supportive lifestyle.
You can protect and boost brain function by:
- Getting enough sleep to prevent the buildup of protein in the brain that fogs the memory.
- Engaging in brain training activities like board games, puzzles, reading, learning new things, etc.
- Increasing social interaction to manage stress and depression.
- Staying physically active to help increase the blood flow to the brain.
- Eating a healthy diet that leans on fish, healthy fats, whole grains, nuts and other plant-based products.
Brain-Boosting Foods & Herbs
The market is loaded with brain supplements that are said to enhance memory and improve brain function. We roughly comprehend it as pills that will make us smart.
Brain supplements do not breed genius people. However, the herbs used in its ingredients can help improve focus, concentration and clarity of thinking.
Here are some of the herbs, spices and ingredients that are widely used in over-the-counter brain supplements and memory enhancers.
Brahmi: Bacopa monnieri is what Ayurvedic medicine considers as the paramount herb in promoting brain health. It is used for treating brain disorders and improving cognitive function. Bacopa is a potent brain tonic that helps in the rejuvenation of the aging brain.
Gotu kola: or Indian pennywort (Centella asiatica), is a nootropic or brain enhancer that is similar to Bacopa. However, Gotu kola performs a slightly different function in the brain than the latter. It is best in the prevention of the disease by stopping the decline in brain activities. Thus, Gotu kola is considered preventive while Bacopa is curative.
Reishi Mushroom: Popularly known as Ganoderma (Ganoderma lucidum) or Ling zhi, is a type of mushroom with a reddish-brown shade. It is considered a mushroom with divine potency used by monks and spiritual leaders for centuries. You can buy a potent Reishi Mushroom tincture here.
Reishi is great for strengthening the mind, improving memory and boosting willpower. It also slows down aging with its strong antioxidant properties.
Lemon Balm: Known scientifically as Melissa officinalis, provides notable benefits for brain health. Packed with antioxidants like rosmarinic acid and polyphenols, it exhibits neuroprotective properties, reducing oxidative stress in the brain.
This Brain Bundle contains both Reishi and Lemon Balm, plus Cordyceps and Lion’s Mane mushrooms for added benefits.
Ginkgo Biloba: It is a good remedy for circulatory and nervous problems. It helps strengthen the nervous system by increasing oxygen and blood flow. Taking ginkgo will enhance cognitive performance, alertness and memory recall.
Ginseng: Panax ginseng is an all-healing herb and tonic that can refine brain function. Consuming it in a short period may help increase mental ability and cognitive performance. It is also best for slowing down aging and all its accompanying problems. Ginseng is rich in antioxidants that scavenge the free radicals damaging the brain cells and help flush them away.
Fennel: Foeniculum vulgare contains amino acids that act as a general brain booster. It works by increasing the electrical conduction that powers up the brain to improve its function and abilities. Fennel also reduces the stress and anxiety contributing to the degradation of the brain.
Pepper: Both black and white pepper from the Piper nigrum species may help reduce inflammation. They contain piperine, which increases the serotonin and dopamine levels. These help reduce stress leading to positive effects in cognition and in developing healthy brain tissues.
Dried Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflowers, cashews and flaxseeds, among others are full of nutrients that boost brain power. They are full of important fatty acids that feed the brain. Eating nuts can improve thinking ability, memory and concentration.
Dried nuts are also considered the most important brain food for their compounds that bolster brain health. The best thing about them is they are easy to snack on. You can swap chips and unhealthy finger foods for dried nuts for bigger benefits and satiety.
Cardamom: Drinking a cup of cardamom tea (Elettaria cardamomum) can calm the nervous system. It brings positive effects for rejuvenation and improving brain functions. When used with brain-boosting nuts, cardamom improves the activity of the nuts in increasing thinking ability.
Goji Berry: Lycium barbarum is considered a super berry packed with polysaccharides. These compounds are brain-protective. Goji berries can slow down brain degeneration in diseases like Alzheimer’s. It can be eaten raw or dried, or taken in its juice, tincture or tea forms.
DIY Brain Booster
The food that we eat plays a role in affecting brain health. Fortunately, these foods are not hard to find. Eggs, salmon, fruits, leafy greens, whole grains and lean meat are great for feeding the brain.
The following recipe combines a delicious and nutritious combination of nuts known for their brain-boosting superpowers. It has:
- Walnuts to improve cognition and support brain power
- Almonds to help in the growth of brain cells
- Pumpkin seeds to enhance memory
- Fennel seeds to reduce anxiety and stress
- Flaxseeds to regulate the overall brain health
- White pepper to prevent brain cell degeneration
- Mishri or rock sugar, a cooling Ayurvedic sugar that calms the mind and reduces mental fatigue
In preparing your DIY brain booster, you are free to add other neuroprotective seeds like cashew, sunflower, roasted chickpea, cardamom and others.
You can also use table sugar instead of rock sugar if you don’t have any. Just adjust the sweetness according to preference. But rock sugar, also called sugar candy, is more ideal than regular sugar when it comes to health benefits.
Homemade Brain Boosting Nuts and Seeds Recipe
- 2 tbsp flax seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- ¾ cup walnuts
- ¾ cup almonds
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- 3 tbsp rock sugar
- ¼ tsp white or black pepper
- Put all the ingredients in a grinder or blender and grind until pulverized.
- Transfer the powder into a clean and sterile jar and you can use it for about 2 to 3 months. You can also keep it in the fridge to extend its shelf life to 4 months.
How to Use
Add 2 tsp of the brain powder to a glass of milk or coffee, and take it before bedtime or in the morning before a meal.
This brain booster also brings a whole lot of benefits. It helps improve eyesight, boost immune resistance and bring overall wellness. It is best for both kids and adults in supporting brain growth and preventing damage.