“Eat for the Brain”
During This Time of COVID-19 Mental Fitness is Imperative,
And So is Your Dietary Health
There is no question that nutrition has a striking impact on your day-to-day well-being, memory and focus. Of course, we’re living in very different times where we have been sequestered, quarantined, sheltered, etc. for months and that, in and of itself, has contributed to a lapse in our dietary fitness. Many of us has put on a few pounds, our normal activities have suffered, that which we once found stimulating has disappeared, all because we don’t feel good about ourselves and we’re not getting out and socializing like we once were.
Well, I’m here to tell you get off your backside and do something about it. In the past two blogs I have written about mental fitness along with a variety of things you can be doing to get back to a new normal. This week’s blog is dedicated to health and a new way of enjoying food, and how I view that as equally important in the drive to regain a new normal and feeling great about ourselves.
“There is no one human mold. You’re one a kind for a reason, so don’t strive to be anyone but you. Let your uniqueness be your wings, and let your spirit be the winds that carry you.”
Wellness Pursuits, Michelle Hawk, Editor
This paragraph is a bit heavy, but after having researched it, I learned a great deal and al of us Boomers can learn more just by reaching out. “The average brain contains about 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons. These neurons branch out and connect at about one trillion points. This is such a vast and dense network of connections scientists call it a ‘neuron forest.’ Your neurons communicate with each other through connecting points known as synapses. The signals that form your memories and thought move across your neurons as minute electrical charges. When these charges reach a synapse, they trigger the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters. These chemical messengers travel across the synapse carrying signals to other nerve cells in progression. Unfortunately, with increasing age, the brain undergoes several changes that affect these processes.
Certain areas of the brain in addition to neurons shrink and become less extensive affecting our memory, learning, and other complex mental activities. This is a normal function of aging, but much can be done to restore brain health by following these very simply methods of improvement.
Eating a brain-boosting diet can support both short-and-long term brain function. Here are a few helpful ideas to start with.
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT. This is the holy grail where everything falls into place as long as we maintain a healthy weight. The latest research indicates that being overweight could multiply your risk for cognitive decline as you grow older. In particular, abdominal obesity (belly fat) can lead to a variety of health concerns that compromise brain health and function.
STAY HYDRATED. There is no question this is where many of fall down. We simply are not drinking enough water or alternative vitamin and health drinks. When your brain becomes even mildly dehydrated, it cannot operate at peak performance.
DARK CHOCOLATE. Yum! As you know it is made from cocoa, aka cacao, which contains flavonoids which are an excellent source of antioxidants.
BERRIES. Yum again. Fresh fruits are another great source of rich antioxidants. To name a few: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, black currants and mulberries.
Dark chocolate and berries have many positive side-effects on the brain, including:
- Improving communication between brain cells,
- Reducing inflammation throughout the body,
- Increasing plasticity which helps brain cells form new connections, boosting learning and memory function,
- Reducing or delaying age related neurodegenerative disease and cognitive decline, and
- Who couldn’t get behind dark chocolates and berries?
NUTS AND SEEDS. A great source of the antioxidant Vitamin E which protects cells from oxidate stress and support brain health as we age. A study found that Vitamin E may also contribute to improved cognition and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The nuts and seeds with the highest amount of Vitamin E includes: sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts. I’ve always had a love affair with these seeds and nuts.
WHOLE GRAINS. Another excellent source of Vitamin E which includes: brown rice, barley, oatmeal, whole grain bread and whole grain pasta. And don’t forget beans.
COFFEE. Finally got to one of my favorites. Beyond boosting alertness, studies suggest that caffeine may increase the brain’s capacity for processing information. It is a well-known contributor to our ability to concentrate and stay focused. So drink up folks, but with moderation. Too much caffeine and you can become jittery. Doctor’s do suggest having one cup of caffeine in the morning but limiting your intake in the late afternoon or evening hours because it may affect your sleep.
SEAFOOD/FISH. Everyone has read about the importance of Omega 3-Fatty Acids present in fish and the abundance of health benefits associated with them, and therefore the reason why we should be eating more fish…more to follow on this subject…
“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt,
and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
Leonardo da Vinci
This is an opportunity for you to look at your life as both a painting and poetry, that is, with our new normal, we’re possibly starting over with a blank slate. How glorious that is for each of us. Don’t fall prey to the old ways of doing things, now is the time of your life to change and begin anew, by following many of my suggestions over these past three weeks. And they are just that, suggestions. But I will tell you that I try to follow each of these helpful tips and routines on a daily basis and they have had a dramatically positive impact on my life, and that of my BoomerGuy. And, once again, that’s what this website is all about, positivity and inspiration and staying relevant.
Because of the vast amount of information on the subject of brain health, I have broken up these blogs and will follow up with my final blog next week as a continuation to the benefits of dietary fitness and newly introduced brain-loving supplements.
Editorial contribution by Russell Blaylock, M.D., Medix Health, LLC
Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional, nor do I subscribe to providing information that is not well-researched and authored and acknowledged by those people who are medical and science professionals in their respective fields of study and practice. While they are the experts, my BoomerGuy and I strive to be better each day and not sink into a life of “so-so.” We are truly trying to make a difference in the lives of each and every Boomer through which we come in contact. Until next week…
Your Number One BoomerGal wishing you health and safety. STAY RELEVANT.