Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, Osteoporosis, Fibromyalgia & comparable diseases haunt our growing geriatric population in the united states, affecting over 5 million people.
Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life, a prominent symptom being memory loss + confusion. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of Dementia resulting in 60 – 80% of diagnoses. Others include Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, and Vascular Dementia.
All of these above diseases are neurodegenerative diseases. Neurodegeneration is a combined result of genealogical and environmental complications through genes, lifestyle, diet, and stress.
Scientific research has yet to isolate single circumstances that contribute to neurodegeneration. However, the physical & emotional burden of such diseases warrant answers.
Ayurveda looks at excretion of waste as one of the most prominent indicators of health.
Our bodies excrete waste through various processes and locations (i.e. ear canals, nasal cavity, bowels, skin, tongue, eyes, etc). Without proper elimination, our bodies’ cleansing mechanisms become clogged with “ama”, waste.
As we digest food, environmental exposures, and sensory impressions, we can either enhance bodily functions or inhibit them. Alzheimer's disease, in particular, is a result of plaque build-up (from beta-amyloid proteins) on our nerve cells; eventually blocking neural communication in our brain and thus, the rest of our body.
AYURVEDIC APPROACH TO NEURODEGENERATION:
Through a balancing act of proper digestion, diet, exercise, rest, and emotional well-being, we can mediate the onset of severe life-altering diseases.
Natural medicine offers a myriad of herbal cocktails that carry potential to re-wire the progression of Alzheimer's whilst simultaneously offering acute symptomatic relief. Phytochemical research (chemical constituents found in plants) continues to highlight extremely effective compounds that stimulate anti-inflammatory, anticholinesterase, and antioxidant responses.
A Mediterranean diet has been proven to aid in the excretion of toxins and plaques in the body.
INCORPORATE THESE 6 INGREDIENTS:
- Fresh fruits & veggies: focusing primarily on dark greens & non-starchy veggies (eggplant, cauliflower, and tomatoes)
- Olive Oil: a great nutritive and nervine tonic.
- Legumes & beans (Get at ur Syrian gal for her HUMMUS RECIPE!)
- Omega’s BABYY: every day, try your best to remember these lil' guys.
- Probiotics: kefir, yogurt, cheese, etc (in moderation, Y'all)
- WATER. Drink it all.
Ayurveda suggests 30 minutes of elevated heart rate exercise (i.e. 30 minutes of sweating).
YOGA... there are 8 limbs to yoga, dear friends. It's not all about handstands & backbends. See below for a list of clinically proven practices to support neurological functioning.
- Pranayama (breath support)
- Meditation (calming the Central Nervous System - specifically our relaxation response/parasympathetic nervous system)
- Inversions (removing strain from the heart)
- Stretching (stimulates heightened brain functioning through the regulation of automatic functions)
- Balance (encourages communications between different neural spheres)
Check out my teaching schedule for some opportunities to explore these practices. Privates are available. Ayurvedic Consultations coming soon.
HERBS FOR ALZHEIMERS:
PRIMARY USES: nervine sedative and tonic and adaptogen (see the article on adaptogens)
SYSTEMIC EFFECTS: lowers cholesterol, anti-inflammatory, reduces anxiety, and stabilizes blood sugar.
Studies have also shown its effects on improving cognition and memory. Ashwagandha inhibits the formation of beta-amyloid proteins – the plaque build-up our nerve cells that prevents transmission and communication between neurons, consequently potentiating Alzheimer’s.
- Traditionally, Ashwagandha was taken as a powder (¼ to ½ tsp), mixed with warm milk and honey – taken before bed. Click here for fab recipe.
- The tablet form is often favored due to its convenience.
CONTRAINDICATIONS: Do not take Ashwagandha during pregnancy.
PRIMARY USES: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, and hemostatic response. Turmeric is highly versatile and one of the most researched herbs to date. Turmeric is a truly magnificent rhizome that reduces plaque build-up; therefore a beneficiary herb in preventing the progression of Alzheimer’s.
- ½ tsp – 1 tsp of powder hyperlink
- Turmeric golden mylk (click for my morning recipe)
TIPS + TRICKS:
Surprisingly, it is not difficult to intake ½ - 1 tsp of turmeric per day. Just throw a dash in a lil’ bit of everything! Obviously, fresh is best! So, throw a nob in your smoothie/juice and a sprinkle of powder on your morning eggs, lunch, and dinner entrée!