Many people don’t realize the importance of brain health, which affect our memory, attention, cognition, and ability to learn and adapt to new things. Most people do not actively think about their brains, which is one of our vital organs. After all, it is hard to think about caring for organs like the brain and heart because they so infrequently experience noticeable symptoms as other major organs do.
The more science uncovers about the benefits of preventative health, the more that younger generations are taking it upon themselves to practice preventative care. Brain health, specifically, used to be thought of as an issue that only impacted older people. However, memory issues among Millennials and Gen Z have been on the rise over the past few years.
Initially, this statistic might seem shocking. However, essential life factors like financial insecurity, busier work schedules, and higher levels of stress all impact younger people’s wellbeing. Stress and difficult situations can challenge one’s motivation to eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and practice proper stress management. These things directly impact brain health, which could affect one’s mental performance and outlook in life.
For these reasons, more consumers are looking into dietary supplements specifically for brain health. Understanding this need, supplement companies like Herbalife Nutrition researched and developed ways for their customers to improve their nutrition for this aspect. Herbalife not only does this through innovative product development, but they also teach their distributor networks about the importance of brain health and nutrition.
Herbalife’s team of experts, clinicians, and registered dietitians have been talking about the value of micronutrients, exercise, and brain health supplements to support healthy aging and better cognition. Adopting healthy lifestyle practices is a start and taking a nutritional supplement to target brain health longevity is another way to help the brain out for the long term.
How Does The Brain Age?
It is no secret that we all age. It often surprises us when we see people who “age well” or who “age poorly,” especially when we are so used to seeing celebrity figures with access to plastic surgery, expensive skincare routines, and an endless supply of nutritious foods and personal trainers. But the truth is that aging looks visually different for everyone because several different factors influence it .
Despite the differences in lifestyles, nutrition, environments, and genetics, there is evidence to support the idea that most people who live long, eat well, exercise, and experience low levels of stress have better memories and brain health, in general. Along with this, people who eat healthy proteins, antioxidant-rich plants, and whole grains tend to do even better. This is typical because their healthy lifestyle behaviors in coordination with health-enhancing food mitigate harmful effects within the body.
The brain ages in the same way that the body does. All bodies will eventually wear themselves down. For the brain, there are three natural aging steps. The first step consists of mild memory slips, which do not affect how a person functions. At the next stage, a person might experience more frequent cognitive challenges – such as frequently forgetting where they put their car keys. These are typically mild and not a cause for concern, nor do they interfere with a person’s sense of self or ability to interact with their surroundings. The last stage is dementia, in which a person’s memory is too poor to interact with their surroundings independently.
The rate at which these stages happen is sometimes influenced by genetics. However, they more frequently can be linked to lifestyle and nutrition.
How Does Nutrition Impact The Brain?
There is no denying that nutrition plays a crucial role in helping our vital organs function properly. When you drink enough water, your skin looks healthier. Not drinking alcohol in excess protects the liver and kidneys.
Brain health – especially nutrition– can be complex. Not only should people be eating and avoiding specific foods, but drinking specific amounts of water and eating in a way that supports the heart will also make a massive difference in the brain’s health and wellness. It can make a difference in day-to-day cognitive thinking, as well as long-term health. On top of that, if other parts of the body are struggling (like the heart), it can also take a toll on the brain.
Some studies even suggest that eliminating certain foods from your diet (and increasing foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids) can prevent cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s by reducing inflammation throughout the body. Antioxidant-rich foods can help, as well, by reducing the impact of oxidative stress upon the brain.
The hardest part of including brain-healthy foods into a diet can be getting over the mindset that creating a brain-healthy diet is hard. Many brain superfoods, like nuts and berries, are easy snacking foods. Some brain-healthy foods to integrate into a regular diet include:
- Nuts, specifically walnuts
- Fatty fish, like salmon
- Leafy Greens
- Dark Chocolate
- Bone Broth
- Whole grains
- Black Coffee
Adding in just a few servings of these foods increases a person’s weekly antioxidant intake, supporting brain health. However, avoiding common processed foods is also an excellent way to get started on taking care of brain health, as well. Foods to avoid for brain health include:
- Refined Sugars
- Trans Fats
- Processed Carbohydrates (often known as “white” foods)
- Aspartame and artificial sweeteners
- Excess Salt
- Cheese & Bovine Dairy
- Excess red meat
Additionally, many dietitians recommend getting a food allergen test to see if you might be allergic to common food allergens, such as shellfish, dairy, and gluten. Eating these foods if you have an allergy can lead to increased inflammation sources in the diet, which in turn can lead to poor brain health. Many people with gluten allergies notice a “brain fog” lifts when they eliminate gluten from their diet.
Of course, it is one thing to discuss practical steps toward eating a brain-healthy diet and another thing entirely to put those steps into action. Busy lifestyles, budget restrictions, and even transportation issues can prevent people from making trips to the store to get brain-healthy food. So, to take care of nutritional gaps in the modern diet, the supplement industry began. Supplements that help brain health exist, too, including:
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Vitamin E
- Asian Ginseng
- Huperzine A
- Fish Oil
- Rhodiola Rosea
A newer, lesser-known supplement is also starting to gain popularity among Western society, as well. This supplement, called Bacopa, came from Ayurveda practices and shows a lot of potential for brain health for those who do not practice Ayurveda.
What is Bacopa?
Bacopa is a plant native to Asia. Bacopa (also known as Brahmi, Herb of Grace, Thyme-leaved Gratiola, and Water Hyssop) has been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for ailments as well as for preventative health for centuries. Like many other brain health nutritional supplements, Bacopa has been found to have significant antioxidative properties, reducing the impacts of oxidative stress upon brain cells. This protects brain cells from significant damage and loss, which contributes to premature cognitive aging.
Additionally, Bacopa has nootropic properties which add to increased cognitive functioning. Nootropics refer to anything that may increase the brain’s ability to retain learning, as well as anything that might potentially increase the amount the brain retains over the long-term. Bacopa works to improve working memory, memory acquisition and storage, and memory retrieval. It also helps with attention issues, which is a common problem among younger generations. This often means taking Bacopa can lead to better attention spans, more thorough thought processes, an improved ability to multi-task, and an improved ability to change subjects or focus when a situation calls for it.
Finally, Bacopa is an adaptogenic substance. In clinical studies, it has been shown to reduce stress as well as stabilize mood. Many do not know that stress and anxiety have adverse effects upon the brain – and that long-term stress can cause memory and focus issues because of an excess of cortisol present in the body. When the body is introduced to adaptogens, it effectively teaches the body to resist stress.
Bacopa’s effectiveness is not just based on word-of-mouth, however. Several studies have been done on people of various ages regarding the effectiveness of Bacopa. Studies of the plant’s use on healthy adults have shown that it can support improved memory retention, rates of learning, and environmental processing. Studies showed similar results in people aged 60 and older. So, it is not surprising that nutritional health companies like Herbalife have sought to incorporate Bacopa into its nutritional supplement offerings.
About Herbalife’s MemoryArmor
Herbalife Nutrition’s Bacopa-packed offering is called MemoryArmor, and it is a supplement dedicated to addressing all the aspects of memory aging that people often run into trouble with. MemoryArmor includes Bacopa and several other memory and cognition-supportive ingredients to be taken in coordination with a healthy diet, exercise, sleep schedule, and regular physical activity. It supports healthy short-term memory formation & recall, as well as supporting healthy attention. Added vitamins additionally support brain health, supporting brain cell health and cognition through all stages of life.
Unlike the Ayurvedic practice of including the whole Bacopa plant into a diet, Herbalife ingredients like Bacopa undergo processing and regulation to ensure that all the plant’s active ingredients (and no harmful ingredients) enter the consumer’s diet. No added sugars, pesticides, sweeteners, or anything else clouds the supplement. MemoryArmor includes:
- Bacopa, for memory and learning support
- Vitamins B12 and B6 for short-term memory recall, enhanced energy and alertness, and attention support
- Vitamin D for mood and brain function support
The thinking behind Herbalife Nutrition’s release of MemoryArmor was to support brain health holistically, rather than just specific aspects of brain health. To do this in a way that would be the most beneficial to customers, Herbalife sought advisory boards and mental health/brain health experts alike to get their opinions on how to best combine Bacopa with other brain health ingredients.
Once gathering these experts’ opinions on the composition of the nutritional supplement itself, Drs. Gary Small and Luigi Gratton added feedback to every process of product implementation. Independent distributors were then trained about this exciting product and how customers can supplement their diets with this natural brain health ingredient.
Nutritional supplements will always be a personal choice, and nothing can ever beat getting enough sleep, going for a refreshing run, or biting into a crisp kale salad when it comes to keeping your brain healthy. But for those who struggle juggling their busy lifestyles already who want to improve their brain health, Herbalife ingredients have always been good support – and their MemoryArmor with Bacopa is looking like a good way to break the mold when it comes to nutritional support.