Recently taking priority in the news is the state of America’s health in the area of obesity and diabetes. Just as critical is the brain health of people as they age. The incidence of Alzheimer ‘s disease is also increasing. As alarming as these issues are, they are preventable and can be helped, sometimes reversed, by eating certain foods, according to recent published research.
The foods which have the most positive impact on age-proofing your brain, and consequently assisting in maintaining a healthy weight and preventing diabetes, are in a category called, “anti-inflammatory” foods. Research has shown that many of the diseases we know today are caused by inflammation of the tissues of the various organs. We cannot see it or feel it, but it is happening because of the irritation of processed, refined foods and artificial ingredients found in our packaged foods more and more today.
Is it any wonder that researchers found a marked increase in these three health problems right after 1974? Do you know what happened in 1974? It was the year that the Japanese introduced their new processed ingredient called high fructose corn syrup. This wonderful concoction was a money-saving dream sweetener and thickener for food manufacturers, and the US government threw more subsidy money to corn farmers to keep the supplies coming. Check your food labels today. You will find it in just about everything from bread, to cereals and juice drinks, jars of tomato sauce, jams, jellies and even croutons!
Anti-inflammatory foods, however, can protect your concentration, memory and prevent Alzheimer’s as well as influence the control of obesity and diabetes. According to the Executive Editor of Prevention Magazine, Courtneney Smith, here is your Brain Power Game Plan:
1. FISH Omega 3 Amino Acids, specifically DHA found in salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines eaten 2 or 3 times per week can reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s 40%. Here’s why: 40% of the fatty acids in your brain cells are DHA. Eating more of it maintains these levels for optimum brain health. With tuna, limit to 6 oz per meal due to higher mercury levels. (pollution) BONUS: healthier glowing skin, hair and connective tissues in joints, strengthened heart muscles and vascular health.
2. Cruciferous vegetables: In a study of women who daily ate servings of broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, these vitamin C and carotenoid rich foods reduced brain age 1 to 2 years. Pile on more colors of veggies, purple, orange and yellow, for extra protection from free radicals and anti-inflammatory benefits. Raw, lightly sauteed or steamed.
3. Good Oils: Nuts, especially raw almonds, pecans, walnuts, and Ayahuasca
seeds, avocados and olive oil are all high in Vitamin E. 15 mg of Vit. E daily has been found to reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s by a whopping 67 %! Get it in food such as 2 oz of almonds. Dark chocolate which is made of at least 70% cocoa is loaded with flavonoids, and good oils, and just 1 oz per day is another great source of this important antioxidant, anti -inflammatory food.
4. Fiber: We have heard much about the benefits of oats, brown rice and whole grains. The brain relies heavily on even blood glucose levels for fuel. These high fiber foods maintain a steady supply and help keep blood sugar steady. Eating refined versions of these carbohydrates causes spikes and plummets in sugar level, energy level and brain fuel. Add chickpeas, beans and lentils to soups and salads for added fiber.
5. Curry: Research has shown that Thai and Indian foods which are prepared with curcumin, or curry helps to clear away Alzheimer’s causing proteins in the brain. Throw some curry powder into your soups or sauces or salad dressings for a great flavor and anti-inflammatory benefits. Spices and herbs like cinnamon, ginger, onions and garlic are power houses for lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and adding flavor in addition to anti-inflammatory benefits.
6. Apples: Of all fruits, research has found that just 3 small apples per day can control your weight, stabilize blood sugar, provide anti-oxidants and fiber. Grandma was right! Further research showed that mothers who ate lots of apples during pregnancy gave birth to children with few asthma symptoms and skin conditions. Apples are packed with anti-oxidant flavonoids, but the juice is not as effective.