Mental and Cognitive Health

  1. Ginseng beats back Alzheimer’s symptoms

    Could this "tea trick" save your precious memories?

    It can be tough to watch as the disease progresses in a loved one or family member with Alzheimer's.

    Eventually, holding a conversation... and responding to the world around them... become impossible.

    To make matters worse, there's no cure to date. In fact, Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S.

    But a recent study shows that the root of a plant the Chinese have known about for ages can actually REVERSE cognitive impairment.

    And what's more, you can get it by drinking a delicious Chinese tea!

    The benefits of ginseng were first documented during the Liang Dynasty in China, a period from 220 to 589 A.D.

    Because a growing body of research is showing several of ginseng's compounds -- including ginsenosides, ginseng peptides, and ginseng polysaccharides -- to have a number of health, it's become one of the most widely-used herbal treatments in the world.

    In the new study, published in the December issue of Phytotherapy Research, Chinese researchers isolated a special protein from ginseng and gave it to rats that had been induced into an Alzheimer's-like mental state.

    Now, cells normally die as we grow and age. That's just part of the cycle of life. But with Alzheimer's, the neuron cells in your brain tend to die off prematurely -- while you still need them!

    In the study, however, not only did the rats given the ginseng protein get to keep MORE of their neurons for LONGER, but their overall cognitive function improved as well.

    This just confirms what was found in a study published last year, which looked at a different ginseng extract, called Rg3GE, in memory-impaired mice.

    Mice given Rg3GE over the course of two weeks ran through a water maze with no problems, compared to those in the placebo group that struggled with their spatial memory.

    I'm sure there's much more to find out about the powers of ginseng -- since, after all, what we know about Alzheimer's is constantly changing, growing, and expanding. I'll be sure to keep you up to speed here in my eTips and my Nutrition & Healing newsletter.

    You can find many varieties of ginseng at your local health food store as a tea, a supplement, or in root powder form -- but you want the "true" ginseng (Panax ginseng, also called "Asian ginseng" and "Korean red ginseng") and not Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), which is a totally different plant.

  2. Late-night eating messes with your brain

    Don't wreck your memory for a midnight snack

    Even if you can stick to a healthy diet during the day, it's a different ballgame when late-night hunger strikes.

    A pint of ice cream never looks so good as when you're curled up in front of the TV with all the lights off.

    But according to scientists, if you give into those nighttime cravings -- especially if you're waking up in the middle of the night to eat -- it could ruin more than just your waistline.

    It turns out that raiding the fridge or freezer can do a number on the part of the brain used for critical learning and memory.

    For the study, a group of UCLA researchers fed two groups of mice at different times -- one when they would normally be sleeping, and one when they would normally be up and about.

    When each group's memory was tested after feeding time, the mice that were fed during their normal sleep hours were less able to commit something to their long-term memory.

    In contrast, the mice that got to eat during their normal feeding hours showed better long-term memory recall.

    The research suggests that tinkering around with the body's natural circadian rhythms -- not just when you sleep, but also when you eat -- somehow reduces the levels of something called CREB, a protein in the hippocampus part of the brain that's key to storing memory.

    So even if it's a healthy snack, the mere fact that it's past bedtime is enough to change your brain chemistry.

    Of course, more studies need to be done on humans to fully understand the potential implications for us -- but it's been well-established that midnight snacking and other off-schedule eating can mess with your metabolism and heart health.

    It can even put you into a pre-diabetic state.

    So, if you're regularly heading to the fridge before heading to bed... or you're waking up in the middle of the night with the munchies... try eating a high-protein dinner with lots of fiber to keep you feeling full for longer periods of time.

    If you're not hungry but you're eating anyway -- maybe because you're just bored, or even depressed or anxious -- find something else to distract you. Taking a warm bath or a hot shower can do wonders to hit the "reset" button... as can splashing some water on your face.

    If you have trouble staying asleep and find yourself snacking to pass the time in the wee hours, natural sleep supplements like melatonin, L-theanine, and 5-HTP have all been proven to help you stay asleep throughout the night.

  3. B vitamins combat memory loss

    Preserve your precious memories with B vitamins Remember the good old days when your mind was like a steel trap? You could tick off every family member's birthday and anniversary at the drop of a hat! Now, some days it's hard to remember what you had for breakfast. For years, we've been told that memory loss is just a natural...
  4. Turn to Mother Nature for mood disorders

    Clear the dark clouds with this crazy arctic flower Your mind races with worry after worry. It may have even gotten so bad that you can't sleep at night. And even during the day, the negative thoughts just keep running through your head, like a record player skipping. When you're talking about conditions like anxiety... panic disorders... and depression... there...
  5. Weight training curbs cognitive impairment

    In a recent study, aging adults who participated in moderate strength training reduced symptoms of cognitive impairment after six months -- and all it took was twice a week.

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