Spend One Day a Week Nourishing Your Brain
The Best Brain Foods
Credit: USDAThe brain occupies a special place in the pantheon biological organs. While it is recognized as absolutely necessary for the regulation and perpetuation of life in all species, the brain is also, almost universally, accepted as the seat of consciousness and identity in humankind. As such, its proper care and maintenance is of considerable interest to physicians, biological scientists and most anyone else who uses one.
With the life expectancy of men in the United States now topping 75 years of age and women at 80 plus, a prudent person should consider how to best feed and maintain their most important organ. While there are innumerable afflictions that can damage the brain and diminish one’s ability to interact with the world, there are is a simple and effective way to maintain brain health.
The Big Picture - A Brain Healthy Diet
Credit: Jens LangnerThe brain, as you can imagine, is remarkably adept at fulfilling its own needs on the weakest of diets. When the body is in trouble, the brain will actually divert resources to itself over other organs. With these facts in minds, it is actually quite easy to provide your brain with a maximum of nutrition with a healthy diet in just one day per week. The diet is not particularly strict and is actually quite delicious. Once a week, just eat these few items for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a sweet treat for dessert and your brain will be far healthier and happier.
Coffee, Eggs and Some Blueberries
Credit: thomas muesStart with coffee and eggs. The beneficent effects of coffee have been widely documented for over five decades. Aside from the healing powers of the large amounts of anti-oxidants in it, a Cup o’ Joe also reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia and many other neurological disorders. Egg yolks - you can skip those tasteless white omelets – are rich in choline, the chemical which most improves memory function.
Add some toast with blueberry jam of just finish with a bowl of blueberries and you will have contributed greatly to our continued brain health. As an added bonus, blueberries also help with the rest of your body by diminishing age-related declines in motor function, balance issues and overall coordination.
Turkey Sandwich on Whole Grain Bread with Avocado
Credit: USDAThe pleasures of a roast turkey and the accompanying tryptophan are very well known. In short, there’s nothing like a good nap after a hearty Thanksgiving meal. Even better, the leftovers provide a fantastic brain food when combined with a whole grain bread and some heart healthy avocado.
In general, whole grain breads improve circulation in all parts of the body which is essential for bran health; In addition, they provide omega- fatty acids and a host of brain-healthy vitamins including vitamin E and B12. Both of these vitamins are renowned for their positive short and long term effects on the brain.
Don’t forget to add the incredibly delicious accompaniment of avocados to your sandwich. This wonderful fruit, though sometimes maligned for its fat content, is actually quite healthy. In particular, it promotes blood flow to the brain and reduces blood pressure. Both of these factors can significantly contribute to a healthy brain.
Poached Salmon and Broccoli with Blanc Beurre
The dinner portion of the day’s diet includes a classic dish from French haute cuisine; a fish and vegetable dish with a simple beurre blanc sauce. All deep water fish are brain healthy but salmon is especially so as it contains omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for optimum brain function. Eating this fish is so good for you and your brain that experts recommend having it 3-4 times per week.
The broccoli in the dish helps with memory and slows the overall aging process in the brain. In addition, the chemical, sulforaphane, found n high concentrations in broccoli has been shown to aid in the brain healing process. Lastly, broccoli presents a veritable cornucopia of good things for your brain including calcium, vitamins C, B5, B6, B2, betacarotene, phosphorus, folate and iron. While not perfect, it is one of the super foods for keeping your brain in top working order.
Beurre blanc is a fantastic, emulsified butter sauce that makes everything taste better. While not specifically good for your brain, it lets you eat far more of these two excellent brain healthy foods.
Chocolate and Mixed Nuts
Your brain is no dummy. It knows that people are going to cheat on diets so it has cunningly found two great desserts that are also excellent brain foods, chocolate and mixed nuts. Every kind of chocolate is good for the soul and for the brain. The dark variety has a considerable amount of anti-oxidants while the PEA and theobromine in milk chocolate stimulates concentration and improves one’s focus. When you are facing a test or a big presentation, try some chocolate beforehand.
Mixed nuts, specifically peanuts, walnuts and pecans but also other nuts contain plentiful omega-3 fatty for improved overall brain activity while almonds will naturally regulate the neurotransmitters in your brain and allow for a more balanced mood.
Some Poisons to Avoid
Credit: Evan-AmosContrary to conventional wisdom, alcohol in moderation is not unusually bad for the brain. In fact the contention that a brain cell is killed for every ounce of alcohol consumed is an outright fabrication. Still, excessive consumption of alcohol should be avoided except at the holidays or on weekends or whenever the mood strikes.
Far more dangerous to the brain are the usual suspects. Too much salt, processed and fatty foods, any food with traces of pesticides can result in physical problems such as swollen hypothalamuses and the significant loss of neurons. Clinical studies have shown that the consumption of all of these foods results in lower IQ scores, decreased cognitive functioning and an increase in non-utile hyperactivity. These results are especially prevalent in the developing nervous of children.
The short answer when it comes to eating brain healthy is to consume the same foods that would otherwise keep you healthy and trim. A sound body is the foundation of a sound mind so take care of your brain and it will take care of you.