Diet & Nervous System

Diet & Nervous System

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  • 3 Answers
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    A , Psychiatry, answered
    Colorful fruits and vegetables are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, beneficial digestive enzymes and free radical-scavenging antioxidants that support the health of your entire body, including your brain and nervous system. Several studies have found that eating foods rich in antioxidants can significantly reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairment. For instance, blueberries have earned the nickname “brain berries” among neuroscientists, due to their rich antioxidant content. In one lab study, rats that ate blueberries were better able to develop their motor skills and also gained protection against strokes. Have you ever wondered where antioxidants get their health promoting qualities? I’ll tell you! Antioxidants are part of a plant’s defense mechanism and are produced in abundance -- along with other natural chemical compounds -- when a plant must fight to stay alive under the sun, or it is when threatened by hungry insect invaders. These survival-induced compounds are responsible for the plant’s color and flavor, along with its antioxidant and nutrient density. When we eat these foods, we ingest their cell-protective, survival properties -- which happen to taste delicious!

    As a side note: This is precisely why I suggest that you choose organic fruits and vegetables instead of conventional. Organic foods have not been sprayed with synthetic, brain-harming pesticides and have been allowed to fully engage their defense mechanisms while growing. This means that they have developed their full flavor profile and likely contain amplified levels of antioxidants, as compared to conventional fruits and vegetables that were sprayed with harmful chemicals and didn’t have to fight to stay alive. Have you ever noticed how much better an organic apple, tomato or strawberry tastes? The difference in flavor may surprise you!

    Fruits and Vegetables with High Antioxidant Levels:
    • Acai berries
    • Avocados
    • Beets
    • Blueberries
    • Blackberries
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels Sprouts
    • Cherries
    • Cranberries
    • Kiwi
    • Oranges
    • Plums
    • Pomegranates
    • Raspberries
    • Red bell peppers
    • Red grapes
    • Strawberries
    • Spinach
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    A answered
    Replace the olive oil in your favorite vinaigrette with walnut oil. Walnut oil, which is chock-full of brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, cuts brain inflammation, a precursor to many cognitive problems. It also keeps oxygen-rich blood flowing to your brain by thinning the blood slightly.
    
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    A Pediatrics, answered on behalf of
    Fruits and vegetables are always a good option. Kids like being able to dip things, so try carrot sticks with a little bit of ranch dressing or hummus or apples slices with peanut butter. Nuts are really good if there’s no issue with nut allergies. Tuna on whole wheat bread is great snack, if you can get your kids to eat it, because it’s full protein. Small yogurt cups are a good option as well.
     
  • 2 Answers
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    A answered
    You need carbohydrates to fuel your brain properly, but that doesn't mean eating more sweets -- which cause a fast rise and plunge in blood sugar levels. Think complex carbohydrates (starches), such as whole-grain foods, vegetables (sweet potatoes are a great choice) and beans. Complex carbs contain fiber, which helps slow blood sugar level changes and reduce negative effects on mood.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Generally, what's harmful to your heart is also harmful to your brain. Make no mistake-no matter how many of those fried potato skins are busting your buttons, a portion gets shuttled up through your arteries to your brain.

    Saturated fats, for example, clog arteries that lead to your brain, putting you at increased risk of a stroke. Omega-3 fatty acids-those fats found in fish-however, are helpful for your brain because they help keep your arteries clear. They also reduce depression.
  • 2 Answers
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    A , Neurology, answered
    What foods are good for brain health?

    Believe it or not, the foods that are best for your brain health and immune system contain...fat! In this video, neurologist David Perlmutter, MD, discusses how pure, natural sources of fat and cholesterol are actually ideal for a healthy brain.


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    A answered
    Research shows that people who fast one day a week or month unlock a unique form of blood glucose that helps the brain more efficiently transmit information. Then break your fast with brain-healthy blueberries, walnuts and maybe a glass of red wine.
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    Have you ever noticed that you don't tend to get hungry when you're busy and then, when you start thinking about food, suddenly you want it? There's a fundamental relationship between thinking about food and eating. When you're craving food even when you aren't hungry, it's likely that you're bored, tired, stressed, or trying to avoid something you don't want to do. You're probably looking for a way to distract yourself from the resistance you're feeling and the negative or stressful thoughts that underlie it.

    These thoughts create uncomfortable feelings, and rather than ignore them or sit with them until they dissipate, you make a beeline to the refrigerator to change your experience. Yet when something happens that requires your immediate attention, food is the farthest thing from your mind. When the house is on fire, I guarantee that you're not thinking about your stomach. If you're thinking about food when you aren't hungry, try asking yourself, "What experience am I trying to avoid right now?"

    The problem with thinking about food is that it leads to eating. Of course, this isn't a problem if you're actually hungry and it's time to eat. But if you're in the habit of thinking about food often, it's likely that you're eating more food, and more pleasure food in particular, than your body needs. Thinking about food can become our mind's default position, coming in whenever we're stressed, excited, overwhelmed, upset, elated, or bored -- any excuse to think about food will do. The key to skinny thinking is becoming more aware of how you think about food and how often you think about it.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Nuts contain monounsaturated fats to keep your arteries clear, as well as levels of precursors of serotonin to boost mood. Eating 1 ounce a day is just right; more is fine, but remember to be careful of calorie overload-an ounce is about 12 walnuts or 24 almonds. The brain/body benefit? The RealAge for men becomes 3.3 years younger; for women, it's 4.4 years younger.
  • 7 Answers
    A
    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Follow these diet tips to improve your brain health:
    • Opt for healthy fats. Choosing monounsaturated "good" fats instead of "bad" saturated fats offers you the most protection against brain damage from silent strokes, so spread peanut butter (or the more sophisticated walnut, macadamia, almond, or cashew butter) instead of cream cheese on your whole-grain bagel; olive oil and vinegar instead of Ranch dressing; and a small handful (6 to 12 halves) of walnuts plus a crunchy apple instead of snacking on chips or ice cream.
    • Catch some omega-3s, even if you don't love fish. Three 3-ounce servings a week of non-fried fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, haddock, or sardines, can make your RealAge younger. Not into fin food? Take omega-3 capsules. I like the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) form of omega-3s (and prefer algae-based supplements to fish oil) and recommend 600 to 900 milligrams a day.
    • Buy brain-boosting foods, especially produce and whole grains. Drive-through dining with a multivitamin chaser won't cut it. Aim to eat a rainbow of brightly colored produce for vitamin C. Get vitamin B6 from baked potatoes, roasted skinless chicken breast, and chickpeas; vitamin B12 from seafood, yogurt, or nutritional yeast; and folate (yep, it's in the B family) from spinach, lentils, papayas, and asparagus. Add almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, or hazelnuts for your dose of mixed tocopherols (the active component of vitamin E). Top it off with a vitamin D supplement (1,000 IU of vitamin D before age 60; 1,200 after). On the bright side, spending 10 to 20 minutes a day in the sun can boost your body's production of vitamin D by between 3,000 and 20,000 IU, depending on your skin type.
    • Go easy on (or eliminate) meats, sweets, and white carbs. Limiting these also helps protect your brain's thinking ability. Choose fish, nuts, or beans instead of beef; fruit, veggies, or nonfat/no-sugar-added yogurt instead of sweets; and 100% whole grains in place of white bread, white rice, and white pasta.
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