The next time you want to get rid of your brain fog - reach for a nourishing snack. Recent research has revealed a complex system of communication between the intestinal and central nervous systems. This interaction and unique partnership in functioning is known as the gut-brain axis. The interesting news is that research into the gut-brain axis suggests that certain nutrients not only have an important impact on our cognitive health but they also support our motivation and ability to focus as well.
Here are five natural ingredients that can help you regain your focus and support your brain health. And the best part? They are readily available in food or supplement form, making it super easy to incorporate them into your daily diet.
A culinary favorite, turmeric is a bright yellow spice with an impressive list of health benefits. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is a strong antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory properties that support the whole body. Used in India for centuries in food and for medicinal purposes, recent evidence suggests that curcumin has major benefits specific to brain health.
As an antioxidant, curcumin has the potential to act on inflammation and oxidative damage that play a role in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Research also points to curcumin’s ability to improve cognitive function by boosting levels of an important protein called the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. Since BDNF helps the brain grow new neurons, curcumin may help fight age-related decreases in brain function and boost working memory in older adults.
You can find curcumin in Health Plus’ Turmeric Joint Cleanse.
Besides aiding digestion, a number of studies have reported that probiotics may enhance brain functioning - meaning that what affects your gut can affect your brain. While studies are still ongoing, it is thought that probiotics and by extension, prebiotics, could be central to this gut-brain communication. According to a Harvard Medical School post, “some research has found that probiotics may help boost mood and cognitive function and lower stress and anxiety.”
Check out the Health Plus line of prebiotics and probiotics.
The brain is a remarkable organ that is constantly working on our behalf. According to a study published by the National Institute of Health ‘the brain uses more energy than any other human organ and lipids represent about 50% of its dry weight.’ The study further states that to support proper brain functioning and protect against oxidative damage that can lead to deterioration, we need to make sure we consume dietary fats. Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is a compound that is naturally produced by the body. It is a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps with energy generation and transfer in cells, and protects many major organs, like the brain, from oxidative stress. Oxidative damage can interfere with regular cell functioning and contribute to many health issues. Since our natural supply of CoQ10 diminishes as we age, it is vital for our brain health to supplement with CoQ10 either by eating foods like meat and seafood, or by taking a dietary supplement.
Check out Health Plus’ Kidney Cleanse, which contains CoQ10.
Amla Berry, also known as Indian Gooseberry, is an incredibly potent antioxidant. It is rich in vitamin C, Vitamin B Complex, fiber and minerals like manganese, copper and potassium. As a powerful antioxidant, Amla berries can help protect the entire body against destructive damage caused by oxidative stress. According to the University of Oregon’s Linus Pauling Institute, B vitamins, in particular, are thought to be beneficial to brain health and cognitive function.
Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to help relieve stress, increase energy levels and improve concentration. Also known as Indian ginseng, it provides a number of benefits for your body and brain. Research has shown that Ashwagandha promotes antioxidant activity that protects against oxidative stress. Additional studies suggest that it may be effective in boosting memory and improving focus and task performance.
Check out Adrenal Support from Health Plus, which contains both amla berry and ashwagandha.