Anti-inflammatory properties are important since many brain disorders including depression, anxiety, ADHD, brain fog, and Alzheimer’s are linked to chronic inflammation of the brain. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory effects on the brain are attributed mainly to two unique compounds, 10-gingerol and 6-shogaol. Ginger is rich in antioxidants that protect the brain from free radical damage. Free radicals are unattached oxygen molecules that are a natural byproduct of metabolism, but overproduction leads to inflammation and premature cell ageing, and can even damage cells down to the level of their DNA. The brain is particularly susceptible to free radical damage since it uses a lot of oxygen. Free radicals are caused by everyday occurrences such as stress, lack of sleep, grilled meat, fried food, air pollution, and radiation from your mobile phone and computer. The antioxidants in ginger also defend the brain from further damage and improve memory loss after a stroke. Another way ginger enhances brain health is by shielding important glial cells from damage. Glial cells help preserve neurons and remove metabolic debris and toxins that contribute to Alzheimer’s. Ginger Balances the Brain Chemicals Associated with Depression. Ginger increases the level of two of the most important brain chemicals — serotonin and dopamine. Depression is strongly linked to deficient levels of both. Serotonin is your “happiness molecule” that is critical for sustaining a positive mood. Dopamine is considered the “motivation molecule” that helps you focus and be productive. It’s also in charge of your pleasure-reward system.
Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can accelerate the aging process. They are believed to be among the key drivers of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. Some studies in animals suggest that the antioxidants and bioactive compounds in ginger can inhibit inflammatory responses that occur in the brain. There is also some evidence that ginger can enhance brain function directly. In a study of 60 middle-aged women, ginger extract was shown to improve reaction time and working memory. There are also numerous studies in animals showing that ginger can protect against age-related decline in brain function.
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