The brain is a very hungry organ. It is the first of the body’s organs to absorb nutrients from the food we eat. Give the body junk food and the brain suffers. Certain brain foods actually help boost a child’s brain growth and improves brain function, memory, and concentration. That’s a very important piece of information for all parents to ensure that they are giving their kids the “superfoods” they need to get the most of their school day. Here are a few foods to consider: -Salmon Salmon is high in omega 3’s, which are essential for brain growth and function. Research shows that when kids get more of these fatty acids in their diets, they have sharper minds and do better at mental skill tests. LUNCH: Instead of making a tuna sandwich, make salmon salad instead. Simply add a little mayo or plain yogurt and add some celery or carrots or a little chopped green onion. A little Dijon is a nice extra too. Serve on WHOLE grain bread, which is also a good brain food. DINNER: Salmon patties are easy to make – use 14 oz. canned salmon, add some blanched baby spinach, ½ onion finely chopped and salt and pepper. Make into patties and then into panko. Heat grapeseed oil, cook over medium heat, and serve with brown rice. -Peanut Butter Peanuts and peanut butter are a great source of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that protects nervous membranes. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals which helps to prevent cell and tissue damage. -Berries In general, the more intense in color, the more nutrition. Berries also have a high level of antioxidants, especially Vitamin C. Try berries with your morning oatmeal, add cranberries to couscous and feta, or make a fast sherbet – freeze berries that you’ve had in your fridge and know they need to be eaten by the next day. -Whole Grains The brain needs a constant supply of glucose and whole grains provide that in spades. The fibers helps regulate the release of glucose into the body. And, remember, getting enough fiber is important for pooping every day. -Beans Beans are really special because they have energy from protein and complex carbs and have lots of fiber as well as lots of vitamins and minerals. They should win the gold medal for about the best food on the planet. They are excellent brain food since they keep a child’s energy and thinking levels at peak performance for a long time. -Milk and Yogurt You’ve heard “milk does the body good” and it’s true. Dairy foods are packed with protein and B vitamins – essential for growth of brain tissue. Milk and yogurt also provide a bigger punch with both protein and carbs, the preferred source of energy for the brain.
Superfoods are foods are nutritionally dense and thus good for one’s health. The term has no set scientific meaning, however, and any list of “top” superfoods is purely subjective. The following list was compiled from the healthiest foods that everyone should (and can) include in their diets. Foods on the list had to meet 3 of 5 criteria: – great source of fiber, minerals and other nutrients
– high in phytonutrients
– assists in reducing heart disease and other illnesses
– low caloric density
– readily available
In accordance with this criteria we all be eating: 1. Almonds – for fiber, riboflavin, magnesium, iron and calcium (they actually have the most calcium of all nuts) 2. Apples – for pectin and vitamin C 3. Blueberries – for phytonutrients and a low-calorie source of fiber 4. Broccoli – for calcium, potassium, folate, fiber and phytonutrients 5. Red beans – for a low-calorie source of protein 6. Salmon – for omega-3 fatty acids 7. Spinach – for vitamins A, B and C as well as magnesium 8. Sweet potatoes – for a fat-free, low-calorie source of beta carotene 9. Vegetable juice – for an easy way to include vegetables in your diet 10. Wheat germ – for a concentrated source of niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and zinc.
Dopamine is neurotransmitter in the brain that plays vital roles in a variety of different behaviors. The major behaviors dopamine affects are movement, cognition, pleasure, and motivation. It is triggered during a variety of activities including food, sex, happiness, addiction (drugs, caffeine), pleasure, pain, motivation and gambling.
The reason Dopamine is critical is it allows us to manage our sensation-seeking mind and allow us to experience genuine pleasure rather than an image of happiness that is unattainable (addiction to foods, drugs, sex or gambling) Increase Dopamine Through Diet, Exercise and Adequate Sleep. -Eat foods rich in tyrosine. Almonds, avocados, bananas, low-fat dairy, lima beans, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds may all help your body to produce more dopamine. -Increase your intake of antioxidants. Dopamine is easy to oxidize, and antioxidants may reduce free radical damage to the brain cells that produce dopamine. Many fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants. Exercise regularly. Exercise increases blood calcium, which stimulates dopamine production and uptake in your brain. Try 30 to 60 minutes of walking, swimming or jogging to jump-start your dopamine. -Get plenty of sleep. Your brain uses very little dopamine while you sleep, which helps you to build up your supply naturally for the next day. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society indicates diets high in animal protein may help the elderly function at higher levels physically, psychologically, and socially.
Life expectancy has increased in many countries, with more elderly citizens experiencing ability decline. Research has suggested people’s ability to absorb or process protein lessens with age, prompting Megumi Tsubota-Utsugi, PhD, MPH, RD, of the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Japan, and her colleagues in Tohoku University and Teikyo University, Japan to examine if protein intake affects functional capabilities in older adults. The resulting study analyzed this relationship and featured 1,007 individuals with an average age of 67.4. Participants completed food questionnaires at the study’s onset and seven years later. Intake of plant, animal and “total” protein was recorded. Men who consumed the highest amount of animal protein intake had a 39 percent decreased chance of experiencing decline compared to those whose intake was lowest. This difference wasn’t seen in women. No link between plant protein intake and functional decline was apparent in the men or the women.
There’s nothing quite like a vine-ripened tomato, bursting with juice, or a slow-simmered tomato sauce, thick and rich — and now a new study suggests the red fruit and its products could be good for lowering the risk of stroke.
Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio found that men with the highest blood levels of lycopene were the least likely to have a stroke over 12 years. Lycopene is an antioxidant that is found at high levels in fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, watermelons and guavas, according to the National Institutes of Health. For reference, a cup of tomato juice (240 milliliters) contains approximately 23 milligrams of lycopene.
“This study adds to the evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stroke,” study researcher Jouni Karppi, Ph.D., said in a statement. “The results support the recommendation that people get more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, which would likely lead to a major reduction in the number of strokes worldwide, according to previous research.”
The Neurology study included 1,031 men between the ages of 46 and 65 who lived in Finland. Researchers analyzed the lycopene levels in their blood at the beginning and the end of the study (which lasted, on average, for 12 years). By the end of the study period, 67 men had had a stroke. Fewer men with the highest lycopene levels had strokes than men with the lowest lycopene levels: Of the 259 men with the highest levels of lycopene, 11 had a stroke; meanwhile, of the 258 men with the lowest levels of lycopene, 25 had a stroke.
And when the researchers analyzed strokes that were caused solely by blood clots, they found that the men who had the highest levels of lycopene had a 59 percent decreased stroke risk compared with those with the lowest levels of lycopene.
A new study from the UK and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal claims that people who enjoy life will have better physical function and faster walking speeds than their more pessimistic counterparts.
As part of a follow-up study testing the link between happiness and physical performance, the UCL researchers have assessed the enjoyment of life of 3,199 participants aged 60 years or older.
The participants in the study were asked to rate on a four-point scale how much they subscribed to the following statements: “I enjoy the things that I do,” “I enjoy being in the company of others,” “On balance, I look back on my life with a sense of happiness” and “I feel full of energy these days.” The study found that people who had a low sense of well-being were more than three times as likely to experience problems in performing daily activities. Video: The Heart
Eating a special diet called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan can help protect your heart. Following the DASH diet means eating foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, which can help protect your heart. Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Limiting certain fats you eat also is important. Of the types of fat — saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat — saturated fat and trans fat increase the risk of coronary artery disease by raising blood cholesterol levels.
Major sources of saturated fat include: Red meat
Coconut and palm oils
Sources of trans fat include: Deep-fried fast foods
Packaged snack foods
Heart-healthy eating isn’t all about cutting back, though. Most people need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet — with a goal of five to 10 servings a day. Eating that many fruits and vegetables can not only help prevent heart disease, but also may help prevent cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, may decrease your risk of heart attack, protect against irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure. Some fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are a good natural source of omega-3s. Omega-3s are present in smaller amounts in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, soybean oil and canola oil, and they can also be found in supplements. Following a heart-healthy diet also means drinking alcohol only in moderation — no more than two drinks a day for men, and one a day for women. At that moderate level, alcohol can have a protective effect on your heart.
When you think of garlic and lemons, you might think about using them for flavoring fish or making a homemade vinaigrette. But these pungent, potent foods also have health-improving properties. One way in which garlic and lemon may be helpful is by increasing the health of your arteries.
When the level of “bad” cholesterol is too high, it can build up on your artery walls. This decreases blood flow and can put you at risk for heart attack or stroke. While there are medications to decrease bad cholesterol, natural dietary changes, such as eating more garlic and lemon, may benefit you as well.
Include more garlic in your daily cooking, advises the Cebu Cardiovascular Center at Cebu Doctors’ Hospital. This is the easiest and least expensive way to eat more garlic. Garlic is a savory addition to salad dressings, pasta, soup, stew, roasted meats, roasted vegetables and stir-fries. -Try a garlic supplement. If you don’t like the taste of garlic in food but want to benefit from garlic for your artery and heart health, garlic supplements can be useful. However, supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so their composition could be questionable. Speak to your doctor for advice regarding garlic supplements before trying them.
Moderate alcohol use may be of most benefit only if you’re an older adult or if you have existing risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol.
Women who have two or more drinks a day and men who have three or more may run into detrimental effects ranging from weight gain to relationship problems. But in smaller quantities, alcohol can actually be good for you.
A 2010 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology linked light drinking (defined as one drink a day for women and two for men) to significant heart benefits. Guidelines for moderate alcohol use:
If you choose to drink alcohol you do so only in moderation — up to one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men.
Examples of one drink include: Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters) Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters) Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters) Keep in mind that moderate use of alcohol doesn’t mean that using alcohol is risk-free.
Vegetarianism has gained a lot of notice lately due to a couple of studies that suggest people who follow a vegetarian lifestyle have greater longevity. Though neither study reached a definitive answer to the question, “Do vegetarians live longer?” they have definitely given us all something to chew on. The results of the two studies definitely show some sort of correlation between vegetarian or vegan lifestyles and length of life, but the groups studied were so specific, it’s hard to say anything conclusively. The first study focused on a one-time survey of more than 70,000 Seventh-day Adventists. They were chosen as the focus of the study because their lifestyle encourages healthful diets, as well as abstention from alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. Not everyone studied was a vegetarian or vegan, but the Seventh-day Adventists are taught that a meatless diet is the ideal. Researchers found that men who ate vegetarian diets were less likely to die from heart disease or other heart-related conditions. However, there was not a similar result in women who followed a vegetarian lifestyle. In the second study, the focus wasn’t primarily on vegetarians, but on overall fruit and vegetable consumption. More than 71,000 Swedes had their eating habits studied for 13 years. It was found that people who said they never ate fruits and vegetables died, on average, three years sooner than those who frequently ate foods like apples, carrots and tomatoes. While this study was not perfect, it did seem to indicate that consuming more fruits and vegetables, and more vegetables than fruits, may help people live a longer life. Video: Coronary Artery Disease