7 Tips to a Healthy Brain
- Limit red meat. Now I’m not saying to avoid it because some people actually need red meat in their diets to feel well. However, the red meat you find on the store shelves is not what it used to be! Choose nuts, seeds and fish more often and try to incorporate some vegetarian meals into your weekly menu. When choosing red meat, select ‘grass-fed’ red meat, so that you are getting the healthiest versions out there.
- Get your Omega 3s. Eating wild salmon, cod, haddock, or halibut 3 times a week is a great way to get omega 3s. However, many health practitioners believe that supplementing with omega 3 fatty acids is a good choice. Why? a) we don’g generally eat enough fish each week. b) the fish is often farmed, meaning the fish are eating unnatural foods and their fat ratios are out of whack c) fish hold toxins so we may be getting more toxins that we can handle. Balance Point Health Centre sells thoroughly tested omega 3’s that will not contain any harmful toxins.
- Load your plate with veggies and fruits. We know this! Fruits and veggies help to keep inflammation down, including inflammation in the brain. Veggies are chock-full of antioxidants and vitamins that fight oxidative stress and brain damage. For example, flavonoid antioxidant foods show promise for managing symptoms of various anxiety disorders, neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, according to Dr. Axe.
- Exercise. According to Harvard Health, “exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells. Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment.”
- Meditate. According to Forbes, a study from UCLA found that long-term meditators had better-preserved brains than non-meditators as they aged. Participants who’d been meditating for an average of 20 years had more grey matter volume throughout the brain — although older meditators still had some volume loss compared to younger meditators, it wasn’t as pronounced as the non-meditators. Meditation doesn’t have to be time consuming. Pick something you do every day…like walking up stairs, and decide that you will breathe deeply as you go up and down stairs, staying in the present, paying attention to the feeling in your feet and notice your breathe. Doing this daily will ensure your brain gets the rest it needs.
- Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels. Ditch the sugar and high carbohydrate foods to ensure your blood sugar levels stay balanced throughout the day. Here is what Harvard Medical has to say. “We found an association between higher HbA1c levels and many different measures of cognitive function, even across these low ranges of blood sugar elevation,” says Dr. Goldfine, whose report appeared in the January 2015 American Journal of Medicine. When considered in light of the earlier, similar findings, this indicates that thinking and memory function are progressively worse as blood sugar levels go up in people with cardiovascular disease, she says. The trend continues from normal blood sugars to HbA1c levels of 8.0% and higher.” So get those HbA1c levels checked and keep your blood sugar balanced!
- Use essential oils. In tune, a proprietary blend developed by doTerra has been formulated to help with focus, the key to learning. Frankincense is also being tested by John Hopkins Teaching hospital for it’s ability to cross the blood brain barrier and address inflammation in the brain.
Linda Ljucovic, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Oakville