Train Your Brain in August: With Nutrition

All month we will explore the brain. Specifically, we’ll walk you through the methods for training your brain to be stronger, smarter, and faster!

Brain Food chalk board sign with food in backgroundYour blood vessels (arteries and capillaries) carry oxygen and nutrients into your brain and then deliver them to the neurons to keep them healthy. If your blood vessels are unhealthy, they can clog up, or break open. Both of these are called strokes (the first is ‘ischemic’ and the second is ‘hemorrhagic’). When this happens inside your brain it can lead to permanent impairment or death.

So it’s critical to keep blood vessels as healthy as they can be. One easy way to do this is through nutrition, and the Mediterranean dietary approach is associated with healthier hearts for exactly this reason.

It starts with a focus on real foods that are minimally processed. This includes fruit (rather than fruit-flavored jolly ranchers, rollups, Fruity Pebbles cereal, etc), vegetables (other than the fried potato), nuts (without nougat, sugar encrusted products), meats that lean on fish and chicken, and desserts that are small and naturally lower in sugar.

The nutritional impact of this approach is that the omega-3 fatty acids found in the fish and nuts and veg you consume turn out to be healthy for your blood vessels, keeping them elastic and strong. Likewise, other parts of this traditional dietary approach include the walnuts, high-cocoa chocolate, olive oil, berries, and green leafy vegetables that make sure blood pressure stays under control.

Finally, as with anything, moderation is key. In healthy cultures they eat all these wonderful foods, but they eat small. Truly following a Mediterranean diet requires that we control food quality AND quantity, and can help move the needle of health in a positive direction by giving your arteries their best chance to stay healthy for life.

 

 

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