Jul 26, 2016

Potluck: Food to keep your brain at its finest – Pueblo Chieftain

Attempting challenging puzzles and reading up on the theory of relativity aren’t the only ways to keep your brain at its finest.

The right diet likewise can do wonders, improving the brain’s function and even helping to reverse brain damage. Meanwhile, the opposite likewise is true. Poor diet choices not only hurt the waistline, but have actually a negative effect on the brain.

“When it comes to the brain, sugar is public enemy No. 1,” says Daniel Amen, M.D., a clinical neuroscientist and brain imaging expert.

Sugar is pro-inflammatory, increases erratic brain-cell firings and is addictive, says Amen, author of the Brand-new York Times bestseller “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.”

“Sugar is insidious, sort of like heroin,” he says. “It will make you want it over and over again.”

Sugar has actually company on Amen’s list of unfriendly brain foods, including a few surprises, such as corn, which has actually one of the worst fatty-acid profiles of any vegetable.

Others on the avoid-at-all-costs list include artificial dyes, especially red dye; foods along with trans fats, such as cookies, cakes and pie crusts; and low-fiber foods, which include lots of fast-food choices.

Fortunately, there are likewise great food options that can heal the brain and even help reverse brain damage, Amen says. Those include:

Healthy fats. Surprisingly, fat is not the enemy. That’s because there are “good fats” and “bad fats.” Some examples of good fats are olives, sunflower seeds and flaxseed. Amen likewise points out that 60 percent of the solid weight of the brain is fat.

Fish. Salmon, halibut, sardines, mackerel and other fish are loaded along with healthy oils and healthy fat.

Avocados. This nutrient-dense fruit is loaded along with healthy omega 3 fatty acids, which build brain-cell membranes, reduce brain inflammation and promote Brand-new brain-cell formation.

Raw nuts. Go easy on the amount because they pack a lot of calories, but raw nuts are very healthy for the brain.

Chocolate. Here’s another surprise. Chocolate likewise has actually been shown to decrease cravings and increase blood flow to the brain. It’s what usually is added to chocolate — sugar and dairy products — that makes it bad.

Colorful vegetables. Green is great, but along with vegetables you can branch out into such choices as yellow squash, purple carrots and orange bell peppers. “You want things that are high in fiber, that are colorful, that are really medicine for your brain,” Amen says.

“Anytime you prepare to eat something, don’t just think about the pounds you might put on. Ask yourself: Is this good for my brain or is it bad for my brain?


— Compiled by Mike Spence


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