Eve's Health & Fitness

DOB: October 27 CURRENT RESIDENCE: North Eastern Oklahoma OCCUPATION: Certified Group Fitness Instructor HEIGHT:5'1"; WEIGHT:105 lbs.; BF%:14.3% bodyfat FAVORITE BODY PARTS TO TRAIN: Back, abs FAVORITE CHEAT MEAL: Mexican and any dark chocolate CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Featured as a fitness role model in Chad Tackett's Global-Health & Fitness website: http://www.global-fitness.com/ DESCRIBE MYSELF: Competitive, energetic, persistent, focused, consistent, and driven.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Foods That Promote Brain Health

The act of thinking is hard work, and your brain needs plenty of fuel to keep you alert, walking, talking, learning and remembering. Evidence is growing that food and dietary choices made today may influence brain health and efficiency now and in the years to come.

To maximize brain health, the brain needs an abundance of healthy cells (neurons) sending and receiving electrical signals at lightning speed. During the normal aging process, the brain makes fewer new neurons, and the connections (synapses) tend to lose the flexibility that enables the cells to communicate effectively. However, diet can have a role in maximizing those neurons over the years, thus promoting brain health.

For the Short Term, Think “Sugar” – But Not That Kind
Like all cells, those in your brain run on sugar – glucose – but a steady, constant supply rather than peaks and valleys of surplus and deficit can help produce optimal brain health.

Glucose comes from carbohydrates, but simple carbohydrates – like table sugar and corn syrup – hit the bloodstream in a hurry, causing a spike and rapid decline. Complex carbohydrates are typically found in high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They allow glucose levels to rise slowly and taper off gradually. Adding a high-quality protein can help keep blood sugar and mental sharpness at most advantageous levels even longer.

Many people reach for foods high in simple carbohydrates when they’re looking for a quick breakfast and/or snack. Try to resist this temptation. As a mother of four, my days usually start very early and it would be easy to grab a sugary pastry. But I rarely do so; I’ve personally found that a breakfast high in complex carbohydrates and with some protein – like lox with some fruit – is the best fuel to kick-start my often long days.

Fat That’s Good for You
Brain cells also need some dietary fat, and the best choice appears to be omega-3 fatty acids. DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, salmon, tuna and sardines, is the main component of brain synapses, and a lack of omega-3 has been shown to diminish cognitive performance. Walnuts, flaxseed oil, soybean oil and canola oil also are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. If fish and nuts are not a regular part of your diet, I highly recommend taking a purified omega-3 supplement daily.

Fruits and Vegetables for the Long Run
Within the past few years, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers have focused a great deal of attention on extracts from vegetables and fruits – particularly berry fruits – and their apparent ability to reverse age-related brain cell deficits and improve cell-to-cell signaling. They are a great source of antioxidant phytochemicals, which could help protect the brain from free-radical damage.

Although there is no single miracle food that will prevent or reverse brain disorders, it appears that choosing a balanced diet that includes a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, may promote brain health and make a difference over time.

To a long and healthy mind.

Cheers,

Eve :-)


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