A person's brain health declines as he ages. In particular, neurons -- building blocks of the nervous system -- die or become damaged. As a result, his risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease increases. Fortunately, he can protect himself from neurodegenerative diseases with the help of natural medicines like the bush apple tree (Heinsia crinite), according to a study published in the journal FoodScience and Human Wellness.
The leaves of the bush apple tree are consumed as a vegetable or as a component of concoctions for treating bacterial infections, diabetes, hypertension, and infertility. Their effect on neurodegenerative disease, however, is something that has not yet been fully understood.
The researchers discovered that the bush apple leaf contains high levels of phenolic compounds, such as quercetin, ellagic, chlorogenic, and caffeic acids. In addition, they found that the aqueous bush apple leaf extract had higher total phenol and flavonoid contents than the methanol extract.
The results of the experiment demonstrated that aqueous and methanol bush apple leaf extracts modulated the activities of enzymes linked to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The extracts also inhibited ferrous ion (Fe2+)-induced lipid peroxidation in isolated rat brain.
In addition, the extracts suppressed the production of malondialdehyde in rats' brains. The aqueous extract, in particular, exhibited greater neuroprotective effects. Malondialdehyde is a toxic chemical that causes oxidative damage to brain cells. It also contributes to the development and progression of neurodegenerative conditions. Based on these results, the researchers concluded that bush apple leaves could be used in functional food. The leaves can also improve symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Exercise your brain – Animal and human studies showed that doing brain activities stimulate new connections between nerve cells. These may even help the brain produce new cells. Reading, taking courses, and solving word puzzles or math problems can help build up your brain.
Get moving – Physical activity also helps keep your brain sharp. In one study, researchers found that animals who exercise regularly experienced increases in small blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood the area of the brain responsible for thought. Exercise also accelerates the development of new nerve cells and improves the connections between brain cells. As a result, the brain becomes more efficient and adaptive, leading to better performance.
Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels – Having one of these health conditions increases your risk of cognitive decline. You can prevent these by following a healthy and balanced diet and exercising regularly.
Socialize – Leading an active social life can help prevent memory loss. Engage in stimulating conversation and stay connected with your family and friends.
Get enough sleep and relax – Getting enough sleep and managing your stress help reduce the buildup of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.