Health tips for the brain (and for the body) by NBH.

Blueberries, fresh, frozen or freeze-dried, can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.  Blueberries are one of the top anti-oxidants for the body and the brain. Should be organic due to significant use of pesticides on crops for non-organic. Raspberries, blackberries and raspberries are similar choices, all organic.

Avocados contain monounsaturated fats that increases blood flow to your brain and can lower blood pressure that can damage cognition. One-half an avocado per day gives you the health benefit without too many calories. Remember: Good fats are good for the brain and the heart.

Egg yolks (and the white portion for protein) are rich in the nutrient choline. Low levels of choline have been associated with insomnia, memory issues and fatigue.  The egg yolks are also rich in omega 3s which are anti-inflammatory. Eggs do not raise cholesterol!

Research has shown that people who eat no eggs compared to people who consume many eggs have approximately identical cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is produced 80% in the liver and dietary cholesterol has small and clinically insignificant effects on blood serum cholesterol levels.

Scores of studies have shown the value of eggs, the yolk being the most nutritious part. In a 2013 study at the University of Connecticut, researchers demonstrated that people on a low carb diet, eating whole eggs, even on a daily basis, improved insulin sensitivity and other cardiovascular risks factors.   FREE RANGE hens are preferred.  Eggs have only 70 calories. Boil on Sunday and keep them handy for use during the week.

Wild Salmon. This fish is rich with omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for brain function. Omega-3s possess anti-inflammatory properties and disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and fatigue are linked to inflammation of the brain. Another excellent fat. Herring and Sardines are other great sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Nuts and seeds. Walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, almond butter, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, pecans, pistachio nuts, all are great sources of energy, vitamin E, healthy fats and protein. All are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. Great snacks. A handful but not a canful each day or even three times a week is brain healthy and heart healthy and helps maintain satiety and level blood sugar levels when used as a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

Note: Our bodies cannot manufacture omega-3s. DHA is an essential component of the human brain and diets deficient in omega-3s are correlated with a lower metabolism.

Hint: Good fats burn fat. 

Exercise. Some of us do not like the word exercise as it connotes hours in the gym. Yet science has shown that 30 minutes per day of “vigorous movement” has great value. Most of us sit most of the day and lead sedentary life styles. Our genes were not meant to support sedentary life styles.

Science tells  us that walking just 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week, stimulates Brain Derived Neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which nurtures the creation of new neurons and synapses that underlie learning.  Exercise increases the processing of new knowledge and storing it in the brain for recall. Blood flow to the brain, through regular exercise (movement) is touted by Dr. Amen, a leading expert on brain health, as the No. 1 protection against Alzheimer’s disease.

Did you know? The aging brain does not need to decline and in fact we have the ability to increase the number of our neurons and synapses as we age.  I like to say that wisdom only comes with aging but aging does not necessarily mean you get wise. It is up to you! Like exercise, improving our brains takes commitment and dedication.

Disclaimer: There is no single scholarly article supporting the claims in this blog.  Nevertheless, the information has been gleaned from reputable sources and is believed to be factual.

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