Are You Eating to Protect your Brain?
These days I spend a lot of time researching Alzheimer’s. What started as a need, since my mother has had it for fifteen years or so, has grown into a curiosity about preventing the disease.
The more I read the more surprised I am about the nutritional value of the food we eat. Sounds a bit foolish I suppose, but for years I didn’t pay that much attention. We all have heard of the food pyramid, how we should eat more fruits and vegetables, less fats, and so on. But the reasons why are remarkable to me. It’s become fascinating to learn about what each recommended food offers for our health.
The food we eat can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. That seems a powerful statement to me. Shouldn’t we all be including them in our daily diets then?
You can read the entire article here to learn more about the best foods that make every list for your brain’s health. Researching the article made me more aware of how one part of our body interacts with another part. What you do for your brain’s health usually helps your heart’s health. Your cholesterol levels, your diabetes risk, even your bone strength benefit at the same time.
Since writing the article, I have seen more foods recommended that I want to include today. Will they all be effective? Could some be considered wives tales? Maybe, maybe not. But IF they might help, in my mind they are worth trying. Unless you have allergies or reactions to certain ones, they can’t hurt. Most are fairly easy to include in your daily meal plans too.
Let’s start with the easiest one. The apple. Apparently the generations old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” has some truth to it.
The anti-oxidants contained in apples is the first reason why, since flavenoids like querceitin have anti inflammatory properties that help reduce the free radical damage in the body.
They also help lower risk of several types of cancer, help keep blood sugar regulated, lowering the risk of diabetes, and aid in heart health, partly by helping to keep veins clear of plaque build up. For brain health, the quercetin has helped lower the inflammation that often causes deterioration and death of brain cells.
Those are reason enough to keep up the apple-a-day tradition. In case you aren’t convinced, I read of a recent “mathematical model” study that showed eating an apple a day TIED with taking a statin for cholesterol levels. Don’t stop taking your medication! I’m not saying that. It was still another surprise at how effective the food we eat can be on our overall health.
Next comes apple cider vinegar, a favorite of mine especially in salad dressing. What surprised me was how many areas it can help our bodies.
Dating back to Hippocrates for usage (that’s around about 400 BC), it is a known anti-inflammatory. You may have known that. You might not realize it lowers glucose levels, helps absorb calcium for our bone health, and aids the immune system with anti-oxidants. In addition it helps balance the water in our systems through the potassium, helps balance our pH levels which can reduce the crystal build up that causes arthritis and helps reduce bad cholesterol.
Knowing all that, doesn’t it make you want to find ways to add it to your diet?
The last one is already on the top best foods list, but I’ve learned an additional impressive fact. One serving daily of beans may decrease your cholesterol level five percent. That’s the LDL, bad cholesterol. As usual, that affects the whole body. Lower cholesterol means cleaner veins. Cleaner veins make for improved blood flow to and from the heart. That makes for a healthier heart, which then pumps blood more effectively to the brain, making for a healthier brain.
Don’t you love how it all works together? So next time you are making up your grocery list, be sure to include these on your list along with the other top foods to keep your brain healthy.
October 30, 2015
Turmeric is king.
December 11, 2014
Wow, I’m glad to know that my habit of eating an apple nearly every day is based on more than just how much better it makes me feel. I find I have more digestive problems if I skip a day. As I age, I’m less inclined to put up with anything that is uncomfortable, so I’m diligent about getting my apples!
Regarding the beans: Does it matter what kind of beans? Green beans? Dried beans? Are some varieties better than others? We get a lot of dried beans in our diet, but fresh beans only in summer.
December 16, 2014
Thanks for your comments Kathryn! Beans of all kinds are very good, though the studies I’ve seen don’t list green beans in there. Black beans, lentils, kidney, red, and garbanzo are usually on the list, with black and lentils at the top. Isn’t it interesting that your body knows when you don’t eat an apple? I love that!