Brain Health Part 2

June 19, 2018
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You are what you eat.  You’ve heard me say it before and you’ll hear me say it again.  In every facet of life, food can make us or break us; after all, food is the fuel that makes our bodies go.  How often do we over look that simple yet profound concept?  Sure, food tastes good, is a social cornerstone, and should be enjoyable; but why can’t we consume good fuel that satisfies all of those desires?  The answer is, we can!  We just have to know what we’re supposed to be eating and why.

In the US, we tend to follow the Standard American Diet, AKA the S.A.D Diet.  The acronym is as unfortunate as it is funny and accurate. This diet is characterized by a higher than desirable intake of dairy, sugary drinks, starches, and processed red meat. Let me go back to “variety and moderation” for a moment.  Nothing wrong with dairy and starches here and there, but it can’t be a pillar of your diet.  This is where we go wrong and encounter diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, etc. in terms of lifestyle disease choices.

So what does diet have to do with our brain health?  With combating Alzheimer’s Disease?  Well, to be frank, the answer is A LOT.

There are two ways of eating that are believed to help combat high blood pressure and encourage heart health.  The two diets are known as the DASH Diet and the Mediterranean Diet.  A combination of these two diets are known as the MIND Diet.  The MIND Diet cuts back on red meat, saturated fats, and sweets.  Sound like depravation?  Well listen to this: observational studies suggest that following this eating pattern can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease by up to 53%.

Do I have your attention yet?

Our brains rely on the food we eat to feed it, so why not give it what it requires and what we expect of it?  Hate when you search for an easy word during a conversation?  Or what about when your 11 year old asks you a basic history question?  No doubt that feeding our brain can combat these issues.  After all, Omega-3’s are what is suspected to be what allowed our brain to evolve past primates.

The cliff notes guidelines to follow: 3+ serving of whole grains each day, leafy greens 6+ times each week, berries 2+ times a week, fish at least once a week, cook with olive oil, cut back on the cheese to once a week, poultry at least twice a week, and wine once a day.  Jury’s out on how often we should consume wine, but moderation is moderation!

All that being said, for the most part, we know when we’re eating to help our bodies and we know when we’re eating to hurt it.  Make simple and sustainable choices in your food and I guarantee that your brain will thank you for it.

Your heart is the greatest healer of your life.  And your soul is the heart of your life.  Let’s start living, folks.  Today starts now.  Until we meet again, this is Dr. Higgins saying, good bye.