Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Brain Aging: The Brain-Food Connection

Brain Aging: The Brain-Food Connection

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For decades, the medical community has recommended dietary management as part of the therapeutic plan for many conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. To date, no such recommendations exist for brain aging and dementia. In fact, many scientists and nonscientists alike are still reluctant to believe that our food choices might have something to do with the way our brains age or our risk of developing a brain disease.

In part, this is due to the fact that historically nutrition has been glossed over in medical schools, as well as in most post-grad mental health programs. It is only in recent years that nutrition was granted scientific-field status, and diet has been acknowledged as a legitimate means of protecting ourselves against brain aging and brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Little by little, scientists have come to appreciate the powerful connection between the foods we eat and our brain health. This very revelation has fostered a fast-growing body of evidence showing that we might very well be eating our way to dementia.

Brain Aging

What many of us have only begun to grasp is that the actual health and quality of the foods we eat has dramatically diminished. Animals are routinely fed growth hormones, antibiotics, and genetically modified (GMO) feed, which we in turn ingest when we make a meal of them. Chicken and pigs are fed poisons like arsenic as a preservative. Conventionally raised produce is showered in pesticides and chemical fertilizers. In addition to being toxic and depleting our soil of nutrients, these treatments drive our produce to grow larger and plumper in appearance while disguising the fact that they possess an unprecedentedly diminished vitamin and mineral content. Additionally, chemically modified fats and refined sugar are routinely added to most foods. This is done not only to preserve the foods’ shelf life but to deliberately increase our cravings for them, which in turn drives sales and profits.

What has gone unnoticed until now is the discovery of how, of all the organs in our body, the brain is the one most easily damaged by a poor diet. From its very architecture to its ability to perform, everything in the brain calls out for the proper food. Many of us are unaware that the only way for the brain to receive nourishment is through our diet. Day after day, the foods we eat are broken down into nutrients, taken up into the bloodstream, and carried to the brain to replenish its depleted storage, to activate cellular reactions, and, most importantly, to be incorporated into brain tissue. Proteins from meat and fish are broken down into amino acids which, among other things, serve as the backbone of our brain cells. Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains provide important carbohydrates such as glucose, as well as the vitamins and minerals that energize the brain. Healthy fats from fish and nuts are broken down into omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that make our neurons flexible and responsive, all the while supporting our immune system and shielding the brain from damage and brain aging. Our brains are literally what we eat.

Health and Wellness Associates

Preventative and Restorative Healthcare

healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

 

Foods, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

4 Foods That Make You Smarter, Really

Health and WEllness Associates

EHS – Telehealth

 

4 Foods That Make You Smarter, Really

 

Do you ever wish you could improve your memory or concentration? Does your brain sometimes feel sluggish when you’re trying to learn something new? You might shrug it off as a lack of smarts, but poor mental performance could also be linked to the foods you eat. You can choose to eat foods that will make you smarter, help you process information faster and help you retain what you learn.

 

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Can food really make you smarter?

Some people are naturally more gifted in certain areas than others. Eating amazing food will not suddenly make you a mathematical genius or a musical prodigy. However, your brain does have potential for learning, and making some specific dietary choices can help you realize that potential by improving your ability to focus, remember, and make connections.

What foods should you eat?

Your mind and body benefit from healthier foods in general, but there are some specific foods that are especially nourishing for your brain. Try to add these foods to your diet to boost your brain power:

  • Walnuts: Walnuts are the king of nuts when it comes to brain health. They have the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids than any other nut. Your brain uses omega-3 fatty acids. When you don’t get enough of this nutrient to feed your brain, cognitive function starts to decline, especially memory.
  • Fish: Like walnuts, fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, but that is not its only benefit. Researchers discovered that eating fish once a week increased grey matter in the brain. Eating fish can actually prevent age-related deterioration of brain function — fish makes you smarter, and you stay smarter for longer when you make it part of your diet.
  • Blueberries: Berries are one of the best foods for brain health. Blueberries and other berries (like blackberries and raspberries) improve the neural pathways in your brain, prevent neural cell death, reduce inflammation, and improve cognitive and behavioral function in the brain.
  • Leafy greens. Green foods are among the most nutrient dense on the planet. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, especially folic acid, which helps to prevent against cognitive decline. Greens will help you be more aware of your surroundings and keep your vocabulary sharp.

Think about it — a salad with kale, spinach, walnuts, salmon and blueberries could be the best thing to give your brain on a daily basis!

What foods should you avoid?

Just like some foods give your brain a boost, others push it into a fog. The biggest brain-buster is sugar. Diets high in sugar and high-fructose corn syrup drastically reduce your mental readiness. Researchers discovered that elevated sugar in the diet leads to greater insulin production and resistance in the brain. Exposure to elevated insulin reduces the brain’s response, leading to memory loss and slower motor function. Increased insulin resistance also affects how well your cells store energy for later use — your brain will not be able to fire on all cylinders without the right available nutrients.

Your diet affects how well you’ll do on a test, how quickly you respond to drivers on the road at rush hour, or how quickly you solve a problem. So, the next time you’re trying to decide what to make for lunch, remember to feed your brain.

 

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