Sunday, July 27, 2014

Brain Food

Alzheimer's is a disease that is characterized by the decline of intellectual functions such as memory and thinking impairment, personality changes, disorientation of time and space and a hard time processing clear thoughts and conversation. It is not known if Alzheimer’s is genetic or attributed to our surroundings, diet and other health issues but if you take control of your diet, these foods can help lower the chances of having Alzheimer’s or slow its progression. .
Here are some of the foods that you can easily include in your eating habits.

1. Leafy dark greens. At least one serving a day of kale, spinach, watercress, collard and/or mustard greens. These foods are high in folate and B9, which improves cognition and helps to reduces depression. 

2. Cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, brussels sprouts and kale contain folate and have cartenoids that lower homo-cysteine (an amino acid linked with cognitive impairment). 

3. Beans and legumes. These foods contain more folate, iron, magnesium and potassium that can help with general body function and neuron firing. They also contain choline, a B vitamin that boosts acetylcholine (a neuro transmitter critical for brain function). 

4. Whole grains. Good bets include quinoa, kammut and gluten-free oats (not bread and cereal) Try to cut processed white bread out of your diet as well as cookies, sugary carbohydrates, tortillas and chips.

5. Berries and cherries. These fruits contain anthocyanin that protects the brain from further damage caused by free radicals. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and contain antioxidants and lots of vitamin C and E. The darker in color the better for you.

6. Pumpkin, squash, asparagus, tomatoes, carrots and beets. These vegetables, if not overcooked, contain vitamin A, folate and iron that help with cognition. 

7. Omega 3s. People whose diets contain daily omega 3s have been shown to have 265% less risk of having brain lesions that cause dementia and Alzheimer’s compared with those 
who do not. These fatty acids help the brain to stay healthy. You can get your omega fatty acids from oily fish(such as salmon and sardines), flax seeds, olive oil (not safflower) or by taking a good quality Omega 3 supplements. One of the best seeds to add to your diet is chia, which is loaded with Omegas and protein.

8. Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. These seeds contain zinc, choline and vitamin E. 

9. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts and pecans. All of these nuts contain omega-3s and omega-6s, vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6 and magnesium. 

10. Cinnamon, curry, turmeric and cumin. Theses spices can all help to break up brain plaque and reduce inflammation of the brain which can cause memory issues. In addition to eating the foods listed above, you’ll want to decrease the risk of illnesses that can make your brain age such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.-heart disease.
By adding these foods into your daily diet, you may notice over-all better health. Remember, nothing happens over-night. Don’t think of it as a diet, think of incorporating healthy foods into your eating habits as a healthy lifestyle change.

Part Two of Brain Food will be coming soon.

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