Healthy Beginnings

Try various foods, supplements and essential oils for a healthy brain

Vitamin E, which can be found in avocados, does wonders for brain health.

The human brain is the most complex organ in our bodies. It controls all of the processes for the body, brings us joy or sadness, and helps us to see, feel, smell, taste and touch the world around us.

It is amazing, but also so fragile. Poor diet and injuries to the head can cause all kinds of problems for the brain. From losing our senses to losing our memory, all can be lost in one second of inattention or a lifetime of feeding the mind and not the brain. Think about that one.

Our brain needs the right kinds of foods, just like our bodies, to function at peak performance. Many issues with the brain — including dementia and Alzheimer’s — are caused by a build-up of plaque in the brain.

Some foods and supplements can help with slowing the progression of this plaque. One of my favorite herbs is from India — Ashwagandha, which is an adaptogen that also helps to sweep away the beta amyloid plaque that causes Alzheimer’s.

According to published reports, Indian scientists did a test for 30 days with mice and found that it not only cleared out plaque, it reversed some of the behavioral problems associated with this disease. I have also had some amazing results with some customers using a combination of Coconut Oil with Phosphatidyl Serine in helping to reverse some of the memory and slowing the progress. I personally have used it for several years and really would not want to be without it.

Vitamin E as found in nuts, avocados and seafood like shrimp and trout are great for the brain. Vitamin E helps to ward off cognitive decline, but most of us do not get enough, so supplementation is good. Try to find a Vitamin E that has the mixed tocopherols or tocotrienols with the alpha, beta, gamma and delta.

Another food or supplement that everyone is raving about for joints also works phenomenally for the brain. Turmeric (or Curcumin) has been found through several animal and human studies to reduce beta amyloid plaque in the brain.

With its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Curcumin covers many of the ills of those of us who need a little help as we get older. And using Turmeric in your food has nearly the same results as using the more active compound of Curcumin, and it tastes good, too.

Which brings us to Essential Oils, and my very favorite oil, Frankincense. It has been found to help any kind of brain disorder. It has a special molecular makeup that includes “sesquiterpenes,” which are able to cross the blood/brain barrier.

Sesquiterpenes stimulate the limbic system of the brain, promoting memory and releasing emotions. Research from the Universities of Berlin and Vienna found that these Terpenes increase oxygenation around the pineal and pituitary glands, which allows for a balance of emotion regulating and memory stimulating hormones.

So there you have it — some food for thought for you and some very good oil to use for so many issues in the body.

Elaine Brooks is owner of The Herb Lady, located in Sparks. Visit or call 775-356-1499 to learn more.