Eat Mediterranean for a Better Brain
Recent research shows a strong relationship between cognitive health, memory and eating a Mediterranean diet. The University of Alabama project (called REGARDS: Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Strokes) investigated how geography and race may impact brain health. The research showed a link between eating a Mediterranean diet emphasizing meals high in healthful fats (like olives and olive oil, avocado and nut oils) and better thinking and memory abilities.
Scientists discovered that the REGARDS study participants (over 17,000 subjects were included) were less likely to suffer from cognitive impairment if they ate as Romans do—consuming plenty of vegetables and fruits, eating whole grains in moderation, limiting dairy and red meats, and daily servings of olives, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. Paving the way for a broader understanding of brain nutrition, you can now also benefit from this revolutionary finding.
For years, many Americans have avoided fat, choosing low-fat foods for better heart health and to lose weight. The report indicates that eating the right kinds of fats may improve cognition and memory. For example, mono-saturated fats (found in olives, avocado and coconuts) and Omega-3 fatty acids are known to have positive effects on cell membranes in the brain and throughout your body. The omega-3 fatty acid, DHA (the most abundant source is salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies) influences how your brain cortex works and is important in retinal function.
Mediterranean foods also provide neurotransmitters, their precursors and anti-oxidants. For example, a Dopamine precursor, Tyrosine, is found in almonds, bananas, avocados, lima beans, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. A lack of dopamine can cause depression, cravings, addictions and difficulty focusing.
Tomatoes, a key ingredient in Tuscan, Spanish and Greek salads, soups and sauces, is high in lycopene. This nutrient fights cell damage in the brain (and in other tissues).
Whole grains in bread, pasta, risotto and polenta contain natural folic acid, vitamins B-6 and B-12. These vitamins are memory-enhancers, energy-supporters and play a role in detoxification. Studies have shown that healthy levels of vitamin B12 may be instrumental in the fight against Alzheimers disease.
Everyone can benefit from better brain nutrition. Whether you are a parent interested in raising smarter kids, a student suffering from problems with focus or an adult or senior who wants to tune up the brain, think more clearly or prevent the effects of aging, remember that what you eat DOES make a difference.
The super-foods found in the Mediterranean diet may help achieve better brain function by building healthy neurons and brain cells, and by helping to protect and restore the brain from oxidative damage. Summer is a great time to explore a more Mediterranean diet with the abundance and availability of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
If you are ready to tune-up your brain, contact Better Brain Balance to explore the healthy wonders of a brain-friendly diet and learn about training programs that strengthen the brain. We offer a complimentary 30-minute consultation to prospective clients.