There is increasing concern about how to maintain the capability to reason and remember in our aging population. Cancer is a growing problem in all age groups. Joseph Mercola, MD posted an article on Dec. 28, 2015 titled “Herbs for Brainpower.” There are many critics that discredit the idea that food, herbs and supplements can improve health. Scientific research into a field called epigenetic influence has proven that what we eat and drink can have a substantial effect on our health at the cellular level.
Oriental Medicine practitioners based in China, Japan and Korea rely heavily upon elixirs composed from a pharmacopeia of roots and herbs to maintain and strengthen the immune system and organ functions. Ayurvedic medicine from India takes a similar approach through the use of herbs and diet. Western medicine scoffs at this idea that herbs and diet can cure major diseases, and cites the lack of proof that these approaches are effective. Western medicine is ignoring 3,000 to 5,000 years of successful Oriental Medicine (OM).
A study published by Danielle Simmons, PhD found that the eating habits of fathers were transmitted to future generations through DNA. Other studies have shown that certain foods and herbs have direct impact on immune functions that preserve cognitive functions and prevent cancer. The active components in some foods and herbs operate at the cellular level to impact metabolic processes in the body.
Dr. Mercola’s article recommends common vegetables and tea to provide a compound called apigenin. Apigenin is found in parsley, celery, basil, thyme, chamomile tea, and 10 other listed vegetables. The unique property of apigenin is that it works with estrogen to modify stem cells into neurons used to transfer and store information in the brain. In addition to research showing that apigenin improves neurogenesis, regrowth of neurons, apigenin has shown promise in treating inflammation throughout the body, and it has anti-carcinogenic properties. W. somnifera [ashwagandha], used in Ayurvedic medicine, is commonly used in India and has been clinically shown to reverse dementia in lab studies. The complete list of reference studies is provided at the end of Dr. Mercola’s article.
Apigenin has even been found to make treatment with the breast cancer drug paclitaxel more effective. And according to the International Journal of Oncology:
Apigenin has been shown to possess remarkable anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic properties. In the last few years, significant progress has been made in studying the biological effects of apigenin at cellular and molecular levels.
Another herb that has shown positive results in slowing or reversing cancers and neural degeneration is curcumin, which is derived from turmeric. Curcumin contains a compound called aromatic-turmerone. According to a German research article, ar-turmerone has been shown to increase neural stem cell growth in lab rats by up to 80%. The article “Aromatic-turmerone induces neural stem cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo” was released Aug. 12, 2014 by the lead author, Maria A Reuger. Ayurvedic medicine also offers W. somnifera [ashwagandha], that has been clinically shown to reverse dementia in lab studies.
Foods that are useful for overall health, and particularly brain function, are sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and decrease degeneration of neurons in critical areas of the brain. Wild salmon, sardines, mackerel and other fatty fish provide how amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. The highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D are found in fermented cod liver and skate liver oils. The attached video refutes the idea that omega-3 fatty acids can improve brain function. Other research listed in Dr. Mercola’s article asserts omega-3 benefits.
A final positive step in maintaining brain function and preventing cancer is to exercise your body and your mind. Mental and physical exercise on a daily basis helps to maintain performance. The dementia pills have not proven to be effective, especially in advanced cases. Chemotherapy drugs often talk of success when they extend life by a few months in aggressive cancers. Including the listed foods and herbs in a healthy diet that is low in sugar and alcohol consumption provides major support of mental functions and cancer prevention. Eat healthy foods that have been identified to aid in the prevention of dementia and cancer. Your health is worth this effort.