My subscription to Eating Well is up for renewal and it crossed my mind, “Is this worth the money and do I really use it?” I went back to a few old copies to reread them and see if I did indeed truly use any of those delicious looking (and sounding) recipes. Well, fortunately for me, I did find that I have used many of the ideas from that magazine, especially those that relate to brain and heart healthy eating. As a result, today’s Weekly Message topic: Brain Boosting Foods (and for the record, if any of you think you don’t need these types of foods, think again).
We all know that eating the right foods can be good for your heart health (i.e., reduced high blood pressure, lowering of bad cholesterol, etc.), yet you may not think about food for your brain. That’s right, certain foods can actually aid in the positive functioning of our brain, or, in short, develop brain power. Many of the foods that are good for your heart are also good for your brain, yet some of the foods on the list below may come as a total surprise.
Read on and incorporate into your life style … it will do your body and your brain a lot of good. As always, if there is any question as to whether you can eat certain foods, check with your physician and consume foods of any type in moderation.
Brain Healthy foods (from a CNN Health article, 10 Foods To Help Boost Your Brain Power, by Karen Anzel, Sept. 8, 2011):
- Blackberries: These delightful little berries allow our brain cells to talk to each other by offering up antioxidants which reduce inflammation.
- Coffee: A Finnish study revealed that folks who sipped 3-5 cups of coffee per day, and who were in their 40’s and 50’s, “reduced their odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 65 percent.”
- Apples: Apples contain quercetin, “an antioxidant plant chemical that keeps your mental juices flowing by protecting your brain cells.” Quercetin fight off free radicals which can damage the outer lining of your neurons and “eventually leading to cognitive decline.”
- Chocolate: You have all probably heard that dark chocolate can help with maintaining good blood pressure, well, as little as one third of one ounce of chocolate can help with increasing blood flow to the brain, essential to a healthy brain.
- Cinnamon: Research has found that two compounds in cinnamon can counteract certain proteins (tau protein) that may have much to do with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Spinach: Dark, leafy greens are wonderful for all sorts of heart healthy reasons, yet they can also help prevent dementia through the ingestion of vitamin E and Vitamin K, both found in abundance in spinach.
- Extra virgin olive oil (as Rachael Ray would say, “EVOO!”): ADDL’s are proteins that attach to brain cells and make them unable to communicate with each other, those causing brain function to deteriorate (i.e., dementia). EVOO contains olecanthal which disables ADDL’s.
- Salmon: My favorite fish, rich in omega-3 fats which are good for your heart, but also vitamin D. Both components help to fight off cognitive disease.
- Curry: Mmmmmm. One of the main spices in curry is curcumin, found to fight brain inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s, but it also works at lowering cholesterol.
- Concord grape juice: Red wine lovers have know for years that a moderate amount of red wine consumed regularly is good for your heart, well it seems those same grapes offer your brain some needed help in the form of improved “spatial memory and verbal learning skills.”
Of course there are many more foods that we could add to this list, however, if you were to slide these few foods into your diet on a regular basis you would be improving your chances of living a healthier life – what do you have to lose?