If you spend enough time studying and learning about health, a few things will happen. First, you’re going to start understanding that everything we put into our bodies has an impact on how it feels to be alive and in our bodies. What we eat and drink and don’t eat and don’t drink can change our mood, hormones, sleep, energy, and comfort. Second, your friends and family will start thinking you’re odd as you begin to reject common cultural food staples that it turns out are actually causing chronic disease and many other struggles like cancer:
- ‘What do you mean you’re not eating sugar anymore?’
- ‘Well. I just… I learned it was really bad for me and…’
- ‘So you can’t have the dessert but…’
- ‘Or the salad dressing, or the…
Third, you’re going to begin to experiment with supplementation either in food, drink, powder, or vitamin form, to help ensure that you’re getting everything you need. The following will explore a few of the things that have been shown to be fantastic for your brain and body.
Turmeric can be taken in a pill, a tea, sprinkled on food in a powder form, or cooked with. This spectacular root is known for its bright yellow color (it does stain, so be wary) and its crucial role in many curry dishes, but it does so much more. Turmeric reduces inflammation in the body, including the brain, and inflammation has been linked to nearly every western chronic disease, including Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and cancer. What’s more, the anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric is measurably equivalent to many prescription anti-inflammatories with absolutely no side effects.
No, not those types of mushrooms (this isn’t a microdosing article). There are many non-psychedelic mushrooms like reishi, cordyceps, lion’s mane, chaga, and turkey tail that have been blowing researchers away lately. These mushrooms can help fight cognitive impairment in aging adults, regulate levels of the stress hormone cortisol, combat fatigue, and protect the brain via antioxidant properties. The list of benefits of these medicinal mushrooms goes on and on. These super mushrooms can be purchased fresh or dry for cooking, as well as found in powder, pill, and tea form, depending on your preferences and cooking habits.
Adaptogens are a category of herbs and fungi, including holy basil, ashwagandha, astragalus root ginseng, Rhodiola Rosea, and cordyceps (yes, that mushroom is in two categories because it’s extremely healthy). Adaptogens work within the body to bring your hormones to a balanced level. This is part of what makes so many adaptogens known as brain boosting nootropics, which are also known as cognitive enhancers. As you can imagine, there are countless benefits of balanced hormones; in particular, this works to help keep cortisol levels down.
In today’s society, many people (especially young parents, primary caregivers, and students) are in states of chronic stress which can lead to adrenal fatigue which can lead to chronic fatigue, brain fog, weakened stress responses, moodiness, irritability, decreased libido, hair loss, hormone imbalance, and autoimmune conditions. Adaptogens can be taken as food, tea, supplementary powders, or supplementary tinctures.
The above list is just the beginning. Once you start doing research on natural plants and naturally-derived supplements and how they influence the brain, you won’t be able to stop. Remember to introduce new supplements one at a time, so you have the time to determine how each one makes you feel.
Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.