Posted on by Village Green Nutrition Team
People often think of brain and memory health as something that will naturally decline with age. Many spices and spices and can, however, help delay these signs of aging – and that’s just one way that they can boost your health. Many people don’t realize that there are herbs and spices that can help support brain health sitting right in their cupboard or spice rack.
What kind of benefits can herbs and spices give our gray matter? People who take them regularly often mention an increased ability to focus, improvement in their reasoning abilities, and even elevated mood. One significant benefit from these natural remedies has to do with memory. Loss of memory is a growing concern for Americans, especially baby boomers. Alzheimer’s is a growing epidemic. The CDC found that nearly 6 million U.S. citizens were living with it in 2020, and the numbers are rising.
This article offers background information on the seven best herbs and spices for mental health, how they help the human brain, and habits to adopt to improve brain health.
Overview of Using Herbs and Spices for Brain Health
Many studies show that several of the herbs and spices below boost the activity levels of neurotransmitters in the brain as well as reduce inflammation. Millions of Americans already use coffee for their daily jolt of mental energy. Coffee has its downside, though, because it can overstimulate the body’s adrenal glands.
There are different theories on how these plant-based remedies work. One theory states that they have several compounds, so their beneficial powers come from a cocktail of brain-enhancing goodness.
Top Herbs and Spices to Promote Brain Health
The following list outlines some herbs and spices that may help improve brain health.
This is the yellow spice found in curry. India is likely the native home of turmeric, as its inhabitants have used it for hundreds of years. It offers more than flavor, though; many scientists have touted its anti-inflammatory abilities. Chronic inflammation has been linked to Alzheimer’s, so this is an important attribute. The active compound in turmeric is curcumin.
Originating in Southeast Asia, ginger is a healthy (and tasty) spice. Ginger, like turmeric, is believed to be effective as an anti-inflammatory. A 2012 study linked it to improved brain reaction time and memory.
Rosemary is an herb shown to have antioxidant properties as well as the ability to lower the stress hormone, cortisol. Using a diffuser to inhale the essential oil of rosemary has been shown to lower cortisol levels in the blood. You can also enjoy rosemary in your food.
Ginkgo has been shown to improve cognitive health, brain function and reduce inflammation. It has been shown to enhance oxygen and blood flow to the brain.
This adaptogenic herb has a long history of use helping to counteract the negative effects of stress. Ashwagandha aids in promoting concentration and focus, and it has been shown to also support cardiovascular and endocrine health.
Ginseng has been used in Chinese medicine for hundreds of years and is highly regarded for its anti-inflammatory properties, ability to boost brain function, and increased energy levels. Some studies seem to show ginseng can also help improve a person’s immune system.
This ancient herb offers brain-boosting and stress-reducing properties, and emerging studies show it may help with ADHD. Bacopa may help reduce restlessness and impulse control.
Scientific studies on many of these herbs are still ongoing, but preliminary results and reports from users have been positive. This is excellent news for people looking to support their brain and cognitive function.
In addition to taking herbs and spices for brain and memory health, there are also many lifestyle choices that can greatly boost your brain’s ability to function at its best.
Better Brain Health Habits to Adopt
Many activities promote good brain health. Most of them are fairly simple, take little time, and help improve overall health, not just that of your brain. Here are some of the best.
Get Some Cardio
People who elevate their heart rates through proper cardiovascular activity create increased blood flow to the body and brain. This can help to reduce a decline in cognitive ability.
The brain, similar to other muscles in the body, gets its exercise through learning. Continued learning is available through community college classes, online learning, or just picking up a good book, doing puzzles, playing an instrument, learning a language, and so many more things.
Studies reveal that smoking contributes to declining cognitive function. People who stop smoking increase their likelihood of improved brain health.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
The body and brain are closely linked. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces strain on the heart. A healthy heart means blood flow to the brain is likely to be healthy too.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Getting the proper amount of quality sleep each night can help to make your mind sharper.
Eat an Anti-inflammatory Diet
There are many foods that promote healthy brain function, such as wild-caught fish, a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and seeds.
Maintain Mental Health
Depression, anxiety and stress all take a toll on the brain. Working through mental health issues, talking with friends, or getting professional help when needed can be very beneficial.
One ongoing challenge in the digital age is maintaining real human contact. Staying connected through social media is not the same as interacting with people, though it is certainly better than nothing and has been a life-saver for many people during the pandemic. Humans are social creatures. Though people also need time alone, isolation can negatively impact mental health.
There are many ways to support healthy brain and cognitive function. Using or taking herbs and spices, eating an anti-inflammatory diet and practicing healthy lifestyle habits can be extremely helpful.
Come to Village Green for Brain and Memory Supplements
Village Green Apothecary has a wide selection of top quality nutritional supplements, including hard-to-find practitioner brands. We also have a very knowledgeable staff that can help you choose supplements that are the best fit for you. Contact our team for support and guidance.
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