I want to thank Cindy Johnson for submitting this article, I hope you will find it interesting and informative. She is a great writer and I am very happy to have her articles here on my blog.
By Cindy Johnson
Brain chemistry is so important to how you feel and process thoughts. If you feel like you’re living in zombieland, walking through life in a fog, or unable to think as well as you once did, a few simple changes to your diet could literally change your life.
Polyphenols – Never heard of polyphenols? But you’ve heard that drinking red wine is good for you, right? The component of red wine that’s so important is polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant. But don’t worry, if you’re not a wine drinker, you can get the same benefit from blackberries, concord grape juice and -wait for it- chocolate. Polyphenols reduce inflammation and help build neural pathways, increasing communication between brain cells and blood flow to the brain.
Omega-3s - Remember the old adage about fish being brain food? Turns out that’s not just a wives’ tale. Salmon is a great source of DHA, the essential omega-3 fatty acid that lubricates and protects your brain. DHA is also available in supplement form. Omega-3 fats lower cholesterol, which could relieve your stress, but scientists are also exploring the way omega-3 fats prevent Alzheimer’s. Salmon is also loaded with vitamin D, which most diets lack. Low vitamin D can really make you feel horrible.
Oleocanthal – Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO to Rachel Ray fans) has a compound called oleocanthal that disables amyloid B-derived diffusible ligands (ADDLs) –dangerous proteins that induce memory loss, brain degeneration, and eventually Alzheimer’s.
Curcumin – If you’re a fan of Indian food, you already know about curry…but do you know how healthy it is? Tumeric is a main ingredient in curry powder, and it offers some serious brain-boosting power. Curcumin reduces beta amyloid plaques (hallmarks of Alzheimer’s), lowers cholesterol and fights inflammation.
Vitamins – Obvious? Sure. But the specific vitamins you need are often lacking in your diet, and vitamin supplements are not as effective as whole food sources. For a major cognitive brain function boost, skip the pill and look for foods rich in folate (one of the B vitamins), vitamin E, and vitamin K. Dark leafy greens, like spinach, collard greens, kale, and even (surprisingly) parsley, are great sources of these vitamins.
It’s pretty easy to incorporate powerful, brain-boosting foods into a daily diet. Most of us eat foods we are familiar with every week. (Did your mom have meatloaf Monday? Mine did). The key to permanent change is habit. Substitute salmon salad for tuna salad, order out for curry instead of Chinese, have spinach instead of iceberg lettuce in salad. Eat the green garnish…it might be the healthiest thing on your plate.
Cindy Johnson is a freelance writer with a new passion for healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. Read her blog for weekly health tips. When she’s not writing, Cindy loves to hike in the mountains of North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, son, and a small assortment of dogs.
Photo by TEDxPioneerValley2012