Good morning and welcome to a new week! I am certainly hoping this one is better than the last one. Unfortunately, we are still without a working oven, but I've been able to do quite a lot in our toaster oven including roasting veggies, baking cakes and cookies. I am feeling better but still not 100% but poor little A is still suffering from this cold and has a wet, hacking cough. Anyways...
Let's talk about brain health today.
Taking care of your body is not just about increasing longevity, its about improving and maintaining quality of life.
A good example is dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Some individuals do experience early onset, but most cases happen to to the elderly. If you are thinking that you need not worry about cognitive decline, because, after all, eventually you won't even be aware you are in it, then just think about the devastation that these diseases will cause your loved ones.
If you are thinking that its just an inevitable part of aging, you are wrong. There is increasing evidence that lifestyle plays a big part in our risk of Alzheimer's. Remember, only a very small proportion of cases are genetically related. Moreover, according to a recent article published in Psychology Today, prevention should begin early in life.
The BAD diet (Basic American Diet), high in red meat, fried foods and refined carbohydrates is BAD for your brain. So if you are on a low carb diet, for goodness sakes, get your protein from fish, poultry and eggs, not red meat!
Research has found that just 6 months on a diet that is rich in fresh veggies, fatty fish, and low in carbs can attenuate memory decline, speed up mental processing, and boost executive function.
The key nutrients for brain health are vitamin B12, D, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, mono- and polyunsaturated fats, carotenoids, vitamins A and C, and fiber. But the benefits only come from getting these from food, not from supplements.
Conversely, saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium are bad for your brain. So if you are chowing down on bacon because we no longer have strong evidence these things are associated with heart disease, here's a reason to continue to limit consumption!
So, what's a healthy brain diet? Surprise, its similar to a diet that's good for every other part of your body too:
- Leafy greens
- Cruciferous veggies
- Yellow/orange veggies
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts)
- Legumes and beans
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fatty fish
What may surprise you is that WHEN you eat is also important. This is when supporters of intermittent fasting get to act smug! Fasting for 12 hours is very beneficial for your brain! If this sounds impossible or extreme, remember, this can include the 8 hours your are sleeping and be as simple as quitting eating before 8pm and not having breakfast before 8am,
Of course, physical activity is also extremely important for brain health so don't forget to move!