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Boost your family's brains naturally

The human brain is part of the complex and highly sophisticated central nervous

system that includes the spinal cord. A great way to explain to children is the brain is the computer part of your body that sends messages via the spinal cord out to the rest of the body. These messages are instructions that help us carry out every function from walking, throwing a ball, reading a book, eating our food and also unseen functions like the digestion of our food. Optimising you and your family’s brain-power can have a myriad of positive effects increasing concentration, mood-balance, memory, thinking and learning. The following are simple ways to boost your brains:

Nutrition: Eating a broad spectrum of fresh whole foods is a brilliant starting point. Whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, legumes, meat, poultry and fish all contain a variety of essential nutrients such as magnesium, b-vitamins, iron, zinc and fats that boost brain health. However, a diet high in processed sugary foods will deplete nutrients rapidly, so ensure your daily food intake is higher in wholefoods. Additionally, sugary processed foods alter your body’s blood insulin levels, which inadvertently affects cognitive function attributing to fatigue, restlessness and poor concentration. Swap the packet of chips or biscuits for a handful of fruit and nuts or veggie sticks with a homemade dip or even a boiled egg!

Lifestyle: Improve your sleep quality. If possible have dinner before 6.30pm, avoid screen time at least an hour before bed, ensure rooms are dark and cool, spend time reading in bed together too which is relaxing and brain boosting! Daily exercise can also improve sleep as well as helping control blood sugar levels. Exercise also alters mood and cognitive function by providing the brain with oxygen-rich blood.

Herbal Medicine: Herbs like our vegetables and fruit are diverse in their nutrient profile. Used therapeutically they can offer many medicinal actions that further support and assist various bodily functions. For example Bacopa or Brahmi is my favourite brain herb. It has been shown in various studies to improve learning and memory. This herb is delicious in herbal tea as it has a sweet flavour. Try adding it to Chamomile or Green Tea. Chamomile is a calming herb and can relieve anxiety. Green Tea is a powerful antioxidant and also contains the amino acid theanine. Theanine increases the brain’s alpha frequency improving mental alertness and attention.

Lastly, make time to relax as a family. Time to rest, recuperate, connect, laugh and play boosts a happy and well-balanced mind. Love and light, Jaunita May Your Family Naturopath

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