5 nutraceuticals that can encourage a healthy brain
Brain function is one of the main things that keeps us all happy. With a healthy mind comes a healthy body, so the saying goes.
No stranger to the concept, dietary supplement companies have long marketed a wide range of products to tap into this desire to stay young and maintain a sharp mental agility.
Let’s take a look at five functional food and senior nutrition products that can help reduce the decline of cognitive health over time, combat anti-aging and promote clinical health.
These supplements are believed to boost cognitive wellbeing by increasing the flow of blood to the brain and improving brain functions, memory and alertness. The ingredients claim to boost brain power, too, and some could even lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimers.
A whole range of processes cause us to age. Some are simple, such as the depletion of a vital substance called phosphatidylcholine in our cell membranes. Others are more complex and difficult to target directly, so a broad spectrum of approaches is advised.
1. Fish oil
The main fish oil supplements provide two types of omega-3 fatty acids, which have both been linked to numerous health benefits and have been shown to help stem the decline of brain function.
Fish oil has a rich source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA helps with the structure of the brain and taking this supplement has been linked with improving thinking skills. According to experts, EHA supplements also help people prone to suffer from depression.
This popular health food compound is found in turmeric, hence its orange color. Turmeric is a natural active ingredient that promotes the healing and brightening of skin. Adherents have been applying turmeric topically for hundreds of years. It also provides a host of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Recent research has found that it may also benefit thinking and memory.
This much sought after dietary supplement is a type of fat compound called a phospholipid which is found in the brain. Phosphatidylserine was discovered back in 1941 by Jordi Folch and Howard Schneider and first grew in popularity in the West.
Due to clinical trials conducted in Italy, word of its effectiveness at memory enhancement quickly spread to the rest of the world.
Studies have shown that taking 100 mg of phosphatidylserine 3 times a day could help reduce age-related decline in the brain and preserve brain health.< p class="font-bold"> 4. Acetyl-L-Carnitine
This amino acid is produced naturally in the body but is often taken as a nutraceutical by health food fans. It helps with feelings of alertness, improvement in memory and could help with dementia.
An antioxidant, it occurs naturally in some fruits including grapes, raspberries and blueberries. Taking such supplements can improve memory and brain function, according to some studies.
5. Vitamin B
In one research study, B vitamins were given to over-70s for a two-year period. The patients had previously suffered from mild cognitive impairment. Scientists found that those who had taken a combination of B vitamins, folic acid and vitamin B12 had a slower cognitive decline. This effect was observed in comparison to those who had taken a placebo.
Dieticians say it is advisable to not just rely on getting B vitamin nutrients from the food you eat but rather take a supplement with added folic acid and vitamin B12. Ted Cooperman, president of ConsumerLab.com said: “About 30% of people over the age of 50 don’t absorb B-12 properly from food.”
Several other ways of improving brain function center on challenging the mind with new activities. Such a practice helps build new brain cells and strengthen connections between them, say experts. You should choose activities that are challenging and you enjoy doing, as these are most effective.
Also, taking part in social activities and interacting with others keeps the brain cells working and strengthens connections.
Your brain needs a range of nutrients, fluids and energy to work at full capacity, too. Eating a well-balanced range of foods, getting enough exercise and reducing your alcohol intake are all proven methods for improving your brain health.