With proper diet, nutrition, and memory use, your brain can remain sharp and active well into your nineties. Many of you have been reading my blog for over a year now and have learned about the impact of nutrition on the body but may have wondered how much food impacts memory, speed and capacity of learning, attention, mood and behaviour. You may be surprised to learn that keeping your body healthy is actually the best way to feed your brain and keep it healthy.
Dr. Mark Hyman, MD is the author of “The UltraMind Solution,” a book I highly recommend and from which I will draw information and share with you. He states that a 53-year old man with lifelong bipolar disease and depression experienced relief for the first time in thirty years after tuning up his brain function with folate and vitamins B12 and B6. He explains that a 3-year old boy with violent behaviour calmed down after balancing his blood sugar and clearing out toxic bacteria from his intestine. A 23-year old woman’s anxiety and depression lifted after she stopped eating the foods to which she was allergic. A 70-year old man, who was losing his memory and had been diagnosed with early dementia, removed the mercury from his body, and was able to work and function normally again.
Miracles happen every day in the world of natural health.
Dr. Hyman is not the only doctor to state that “mental or brain disorders” are simply the names of common responses that our bodies have to a variety of insults and deficiencies. He describes seven keys to keeping your brain in balance. The keys are:
- Optimize nutrition
- Balance your hormones
- Cool off inflammation
- Improve your digestion
- Enhance detoxification
- Boost energy metabolism
- Calm your mind
When it comes to optimizing nutrition, Mark states, “Food is the fastest-acting and most powerful medicine you can take to change your life.”
Foods that damage your brain include:
- Any form of sugar or refined carbohydrates (Get off the sugar and save your brain!)
- Dairy and wheat (Avoid for one month (minimum) to see if health of brain improves)
- Trans or hydrogenated fats (found in baked goods, processed foods, margarine, these fats damage your brain cells
- Caffeine (increases anxiety and depression)
- Alcohol (four glasses a day can double your risk of dementia and depletes the body of the mood-boosting B vitamins. As soon as you start getting drunk, you are damaging your brain.)
Foods that feed your brain include:
- Good fats e.g., Fish or seal oil, nuts and seeds (particularly ground flax), avocados, coconut oil etc.
- Amino acids that come from healthy sources of protein e.g., organic turkey, chicken or fish, nuts and seeds, legumes, eggs, quinoa, spirulina, chlorella, hemp etc.
- Healthy sources of carbohydrates e.g., organic fruit (particularly blueberries), vegetables (particularly spinach) and low gluten or no gluten grains such as spelt, kamut, brown rice, millet etc.
Vitamins, minerals and supplements that feed your brain include:
- Folate – Prevents and helps depression, insomnia, forgetfulness and mood disorders
- B Complex – Needed for improved memory, circulation to the brain and brain function
- Vitamin D – Prevents and helps depression and dementia
- Magnesium – The relaxation mineral which prevents and helps anxiety, insomnia, ADD and Autism
- Zinc – Binds to toxic substances in the brain and removes them
- Selenium – Critical for a happy and healthy brain
- Fish or seal oil – Low levels in the body have been associated with impaired brain function
- Acetylcholine – Most important of the neurotransmitters. Maximizes mental ability and prevents memory loss in adults
Dr. Hyman recommends healing “a broken brain” by eating and supplementing in this way for 6 weeks and watching the dramatic improvements in memory, mood and thinking speed. Nutritional medicine is our future. Why not set the wheels in motion and begin paying more attention to what you put in your body now?
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Until next time,