There’s no doubt about it, you can get fitter and trimmer with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Did you know that it can boost your brain health, too? As the baby boomers age and are living longer, there’s more concern about having a healthy brain, as well as healthy body. By the time people reach 85, they have a 50/50 chance of Alzheimer’s. With more of the population living to that age, it’s easy to understand why brain health has become so important.
Eat healthy fats for a healthy brain.
There are a lot of healthy fats available, each with its own special twist. Olive oil, for instance has protective antioxidants called polyphenols, while salmon, almonds and walnuts have omega-3 DHA fatty acids that help stimulate the growth of new brain cells and protect brain health. Walnuts also provide copper and manganese, while almonds have vitamin E. The saturated fat in coconut oil and the monounsaturated fat in avocado help protect the brain and improve functioning.
A healthy diet not only prevents obesity, it also can boost brain health.
Eliminating processed foods can go a long way to improve brain health, just as eliminating sugar can. Instead of pulling those dandelions in the trash after you pull them, put them in a salad (pesticide free ones, of course). The prebiotic fiber helps boost the growth of healthy gut bacteria that also is helps boost brain power. Eggs contain choline that makes the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Asparagus also helps the bacteria in the gut and provides anti-inflammatory nutrients, plus folate. Toss in some kale for greens that are rich in vitamin A, K and C, plus have potassium and iron. Basically, the list could go on, but as you can tell, these are all components of a healthy diet.
Exercise is another piece of the puzzle.
Exercise boosts circulation, so it sends oxygen and nutrient rich blood to all parts of the body, including the brain. It also stimulates the production of BDNF a hormone that allows the brain to create new cells and take in more information. It also stimulates the brain to create the “happy hormones” like endorphins, dopamine and serotonin. That works the brain and stimulates growth. Exercise boosts memory, mood and brain power, while burning off the hormones of stress that can cause fuzzy thinking. The catch is that you need to do it at least three times a week to get the maximum effect.
- Herbs and spices play a role in brain health. Sprinkle on turmeric a potent anti-inflammatory that has been considered as a potential Alzheimer’s fighter.
- Having a good social life and laughing is also good medicine for the brain. They help exercise the brain and keep it in shape.
- Don’t forget vitamin D when it comes to brain health. While you can get it from food and supplements, the best way is through exposure to the sun.
- Be aware of food additives that may cause damage. The aspartic acid from aspartame when ingested frequently, is known to create neurological disorders and symptoms.