If you want to be on top of things, you need to eat the right kind of Brain Food. Not only will the good healthy food keep your memory sharp, but it will also help ward off dementia and Alzheimer's. And as a bonus, you'll get to feel a lot more energetic too. However, there are some not so good foods out there as well. Sometimes they are right in front of us. They can be harmful, and they can be down-right ugly depending on which way you view them.
I read a report the other day from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City where they had discovered that the levels of grilling meat on the barbie might adversely affect your brain. They go on to say that the longer you grill a piece of meat, the more you'll increase the risks of brain damage which, you'll soon discover, leads to dementia and Alzheimer's.
The reason why barbecued meat is an unhealthy choice for any eating plan and that it could get a little ugly in the making is that grilled steak, pork chop or any other animal product produces a chemical compound known as glycotoxin. This chemical is not only linked to dementia and that other horrible word, Alzheimer's but this substance is also linked to obesity and diabetes too. Try and digest that for a moment or two.
Little wonder why so many of us are out of condition and live unhealthy lives. Now, if you've read the about page, you'll gather that I may be somewhat biased because of my vegetarian lifestyle. Just be aware that the more glycotoxin you have in your blood, the more you'll experience reduced cognitive functions and much higher insulin sensitivities. Get the picture!
I found out from my younger brother recently that my sister-in-law always wanted the most significant portion of steak, chop and sausage she could get her hands on once the food was done and dusted. She had not only diabetes, but things got horrific when she developed breast cancer and premature death. She also had a lot of pain for the worst part of two years.
She tried to convince me that stress was what caused her deadly diseases. Yes, stress can add to the problem to some extent, but with the combined consumption of unhealthy food, that makes for a lethal cocktail. It's a harsh reality in any man's or woman's terms. If the early warning signs are there and the alarm bells are ringing, it's time to charge and be more responsible for your wellbeing. I hope this makes some sense.
While the evidence may be inconclusive, there still seems to be a strong correlation between consumption of glycotoxin-rich foods and damage to the brain, including that of insulin sensitivity. If you're a meat-lover and want to reduce your risk of dementia as well as metabolic syndromes, particularly if you're over 60, you should avoid grilling and frying meat, both of which are high in toxins. Better still, turn to a plant-based diet for a healthy future.
Below is a list of the good plant-based Brain Food that will help, not only to survive but prosper too. To your good health.
Legumes for Energy
The nutrients in legumes such as lentils, beans and peas contain slow-release glucose (low-GI carbohydrates) and are an excellent source of the B vitamin folate. The quantity needed 1/4 - 1/2 cup of cooked lentils provides around 100 mcg of folate, which contributes to adults recommendation dietary allowance of 400 mcg a day.
Why because the slow release of glucose provides a steady supply of energy for the brain to function optimally. Folate is essential for brain health as it helps reduce levels of homocysteine an amino acid that can impair brain function. And with low levels of folate, depression is not out of the equation.
Red Lentils are soft and earthy in flavour, easy to cook and widely used in Indian cuisine. While Puy Lentils may hold their shape better than the more delicate red and yellow varieties, they are peppery and rich in flavour. Butter Beans are mild and creamy in texture and perfect for making a potato-free mash. Cannellini Beans are buttery and soft, making them great for absorbing flavours. They are perfect for salads or slow-cooked stews and casseroles. Haricot Beans are lightly sweet and creamy and are great for beans on toast.
Kidney Beans make a delicious pureed for a creamy side dish or in stews. Pinto Beans are speckled light brown Mexican beans and are excellent in stews and salads. Black Beans, mainly used in South American inspired dishes, are great for adding black colour to any meal. Chickpeas are exceptional in casseroles and stews, and the canned variety in the making of hummus.
Oats for Concentration
The nutrients in oats are a great source of fibre and is a low GI grain. Quantity needed one bowl of oats daily for breakfast. Why because oats provide the glucose you need to fuel your body and it spreads out over a more extended period compared with the fast-release effect of sugary foods. Spikes in blood sugar make it hard to concentrate.
Olives for protection
The nutrient content in olives are rich in an antioxidant called hydroxytyrosol, and the quantity needed is around 6- 7 daily. Why because the antioxidants in olives help protect the body against the damage caused by free radicals. Olives are also rich in monounsaturated fat.
Tomatoes for Focus
From a nutrient perspective, red and purple tomatoes contain the phytochemical anthocyanin and the quantity needed 1 cup of chopped tomato daily. Why because anthocyanin helps keep your memory sharp and strengthens focus. These flavourful fruits can also help with a positive mood and overall clarity.
Avocado for Blood Flow
From a nutrient perspective, avocado is an excellent source of monounsaturated fat which is the central added fat in the Mediterranean diet and the quantity needed one quarter or one-half avocado daily. Why because the Mediterranean diet is beneficial for the heart and also protects against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Monounsaturated fats aid healthy blood flow which benefits the brain. A diet in saturated fats and synthetic trans fats is also associated with reduced brain function.
Berries for Memory
From a nutrient perspective, contains high levels of antioxidants and flavonoids. Quantity needed 1 cup daily. Why because flavonoids help improve memory, learning and general cognitive function including reasoning skills, decision-making verbal comprehension and number skills. Flavonoids may also slow age-related mental decline.
Broccoli for Healthy Cells
From a nutrient perspective, all leafy green vegetables, including broccoli, are good sources of a variety of vitamins. Quantity needed 1 cup of dark green leafy vegetables daily. Why because the vitamins in all dark green vegetables help convert tryptophan into serotonin, the mood-enhancing chemical. The large amount of vitamin K in broccoli enhances cognitive function and improves brainpower.
Turmeric for Brain Protection
From a nutrient perspective, turmeric contains curcumin Quantity needed. Include this orange colour spice as part of a balanced and varied diet. Why because adding turmeric to stews and curries helps protect your brain. Curcumin can reduce memory deficits in people with Alzheimer's and brain trauma.
Beetroot for Mental Performance
From a nutrient perspective, beetroot contains loads of nitrates. Quantity needed 1/2 cup daily Why because nitrates help increase blood flow to the brain thereby improving mental performance.
Whole Grains for Cholesterol
From a nutrient perspective, whole grains such as brown rice, millet, oats, rye, bulgur, wheat, maize and quinoa are a great source of complex carbohydrates and fibre. Quantity needed three servings daily. Why because soluble fibre can regulate blood cholesterol levels which in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and brain injury such as strokes.
Citrus for better Concentration
From a nutrient perspective, citrus such as grapefruit and oranges contain the flavonol quercetin. Quantity needed 2 or 3 servings daily. Why because quercetin in citrus belongs to plant pigments called flavonoids which act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories in the body and help reduce learning and memory impairment. They're also associated with improved concentration and awareness.
Nuts and Seeds for Longevity
From a nutrient perspective, nuts such as almonds, walnuts brazil nuts and pecan nuts and seeds such as sunflower, sesame and pumpkin are an excellent source of vitamins. Quantity needed one handful daily. Why because vitamins such as vitamin E supports "Messenger activity" in the brain. It's associated with improved neurological performance and longevity.
Nuts and seeds are a great way to add crunch and depth of flavour to just about any dish, and the health benefits are also significant in so many ways. They are useful in fats, protein and minerals. Below is a list of some of the best nuts and seeds needed for optimum health.
Cacao Nibs for Stress Relief
From a nutrient perspective, cacao is high in magnesium. Quantity needed 320-420 mg magnesium daily for adults. Why because magnesium helps the brain tolerate stress and recover from trauma. A deficiency is associated with cognitive impairment and feelings of anxiety.
Raw cacao powder which has a rich flavour with a natural sweetness is the unfinished form of chocolate. Not only is cacao a good source of magnesium, but it's also a good source of iron as well as having antioxidants and other unique compounds that benefit your health. You can use cacao in cakes, mousses, smoothies, chocolate milk and hot chocolate for the perfect healthy chocolate fix.
Please take note that the information on this site is designed for educational purposes and is intended solely for a general readership. The contents herein are not intended to offer any personal medical advice or to diagnose any health issues you may have. This information is also by no means a substitute for medical care by a licensed healthcare provider. For that, you'd need to consult your medical doctor or a health care practitioner for any advice should you require prescription medication.