Your brain’s health is interconnected to the rest of your body’s health. If you have an organ system out of whack, your brain will be affected too. This is why it’s important to keep your whole body in health with nutritious eating, exercise and less toxins. Your brain, as well as the rest of your body is affected by what we eat and what we don’t eat. When eating for brain health you want to make sure you include healthy fats, good clean protein, and lots of good fiber. However, there are some things you want to avoid. This includes:
- Sugar – Did you know that Alzheimer’s Disease is also referred to as Type 3 Diabetes? A few hundred years ago, the average person consumed just 2 lbs of sugar a year. Today, the average person consumes 2-3 lbs of sugar each week or around 150 lbs of sugar per year. Sugar is a huge contributor of inflammation in the body. We should aim for 5% or less added sugar per our total calories for the day.
- Trans Fats – Most of us know we need to avoid trans fats. They have been linked to heart disease and inflammation among other problems. A healthy heart means your brain is getting sufficient blood flow, thus being heart healthy is important! Trans fats are found in processed foods. You need to be careful to read the ingredients lists as a manufacturer can say it’s trans-fat free if the serving size contains less than 0.5mg of trans fat per serving. Realistically, we consume more than one serving listed on the package. We should aim for 0 trans fats and to be sure we do that, we need to stick to real, whole foods.
- Toxins – When your body is burdened with chemicals and toxins, it will affect your brain. We cannot live in a perfect non-toxic environment but we can make our environment better. Clean up your eating by eating organic food, drink pure water, use non-toxic personal care products. There are many “clean” products out there. You can use ewg.org site to help rank your products for toxicity as well as naturally clean products like using essential oils.
Specific foods you want to make sure you have in your diet for a healthy brain include:
Healthy Fats – Getting in good fats is vital for your brain. Today, we consume too many omega 6 fats and not enough omega 3 fats. Our ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 should be close to 1:1, however, we are upwards to 10-20 : 1. This is due to the manufacturing of processed foods, get rid of them. This unhealthy balance can cause an inflammatory state in the body, thus affecting our brain function. Much of our “ill” health is due to inflammation. Consuming proper ratios of healthy fats can combat inflammation and can contribute to a healthy blood flow. And a healthy blood flow means a healthy brain.
- Wild Salmon or other fatty fish
- Nuts and Seeds
- Olives or Olive oil
- Coconut Oil
Probiotics – A major organ system linked to retain good brain health is a healthy gut! Our gut and brain are intimately tied together. If your gut is inflamed or unhealthy, your brain will also suffer. New research is linking our microbiome (healthy bacteria living in our gut) to our mood, our immune system and our overall health. To maintain a healthy gut, try eating probiotic rich foods like:
- Plain, unsweetened yogurt
- Good probiotics
Antioxidants – Antioxidants help scavenge up free radicals and helps protect the brain from oxidative stress. So eating foods high in antioxidants in important. What foods contain high antioxidants? This would come from your 9-13 servings of fruits and vegetables you should be eating everyday!
- Leafy Greens
- Dark Chocolate (a little goes a long way here – this is one superfood where more is not better)
And don’t forget exercise! When you exercise, you increase the blood flow to your brain giving it more nutrients, oxygen, and stimulates neuroplasticity encouraging new connections. So get up and move your body!
So, just remember, your body should be treated as a whole, not as isolated organs. They are all interrelated and connected to work together. Keep your body healthy and your brain will also be healthy. If you need help with this, contact me at email@example.com. It’s what I do.