Logo NHC

Alzheimer’s and Brain Health

3 Ways to Improve Brain Health

Aging and risk factors of chronic diseases can affect mental health and physical health, including of the brain. Before you or a loved one experiences cognitive decline, memory loss, or impaired cognitive function, protect a healthy brain with a healthy diet, physical activity, and mental stimulation.

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that robs a person – most often older adults – of their short and long-term memories, interrupts thinking processes, and changes behavior patterns. Lifestyle and environment are factors that play a major role in brain health and the onset and progression of dementia. This article highlights three lifestyle factors you can focus on to improve your brain health.

Proper Nutrition Supports Brain Health

Food should be the first thing to think of when you want to improve your brain’s health. After all, you have total control over the quality and quantity of what you eat. For brain health, you may want to pick up a copy of The Mind Diet by Maggie Moon. The Mind Diet combines the best elements of the Mediterranean Diet with the heart-healthy DASH Diet. This diet focuses on foods that feed the brain and neural function: green leafy vegetables, colorful veggies, nuts, beans, berries, whole grains, fish, poultry and olive oil. This diet nourishes the brain with more plant-based foods and encourages animal protein at fewer meals.. A moderate adherence to the Mind Diet has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 35%, while a high adherence offers a 53% reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.

Foods for Brain Health

What is the best mushroom for brain health, or the best vegetable for brain health? The Mind Diet recommends at least one serving per day of green leafy vegetables, as well as at least one serving a day of other types of vegetables, including mushrooms. One way to get more mushrooms is through supplements like BrainMD Smart Mushrooms, which contains a blend of six organic mushrooms grown in the U.S.

What is the Best Mushroom for Brain Health?

What is the best mushroom for brain health? Mushrooms are versatile with many important health benefits, so there are no wrong answers. But lion’s mane mushrooms are a standout when it comes to emerging research about their potential to support brain health. Nordic Naturals Cognition Mushroom Complex is one way to add more of this cognition-supporting mushroom (plus Bacopa monnieri extract) to your health routine.

Dietary Supplements Support Brain Health

You may also consider reaching for additional supplements that help promote brain health. Depleted soils have decreased the amount of nutrients in our foods. Medications can cause nutrient depletions. Restrictive diets may not allow for adequate nutrition intake, while others may suffer with poor digestion. If this sounds like you, you may require a little extra help from the supplement aisle.

Omega-3 Supplements for Brain Health

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats our bodies cannot make. That means we have to get these fats from our diet or through supplementation. The best source of omega-three fatty acids is from fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines. These should be eaten twice a week. Omega-3’s are important for rebuilding brain cells and help counteract inflammation in the brain. If eating fatty fish twice a week just isn’t your thing, reach for a fish oil supplement that has been tested for impurities. Aim for about 2,000 mg of fish oil a day. For starters, try True Grace Omega-3 Fish Oil, highly concentrated softgels containing key nutrients EPA and DHA to support brain, heart and immune health.

Turmeric Supplements for Brain Health

Turmeric is a colorful orange spice popular in middle eastern cooking. In recent years, western populations have begun using turmeric as a daily supplement to help relieve occasional pain, improve antioxidant status, and to boost brain health. In fact, spices like turmeric, rosemary and sage increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is needed to create new brain cells and has been shown to protect against neurodegenerative diseases. With all of the health benefits derived from turmeric root, it is actually poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. 

As a spice, use turmeric in daily cooking. As a supplement, look for a whole food turmeric supplement combined with fenugreek. Try Gaia Professional SolutionsTurmeric Fenugreek Complex, which features curcumin and fenugreek to achieve higher bioavailability. 

Fenugreek aids in turmeric’s absorption. Increase the use of rosemary and sage in your everyday cooking, brew them as tea or reach for their liquid extracts.

Games Support Brain Health

Have you ever heard the phrase “Use it or lose it?” This applies to many things, including brain function. Mental games like crossword puzzles, sudoku, puzzles, and word searches help maintain and build cognition and memory. Popular apps like Luminosity or Bright Focus can be downloaded to smartphones. These games take only a few minutes a day and have also been shown to increase BDNF, attention and working memory. Brain games should be practiced every day. When is the last time you let your brain play?