From the Desk of Spencer Thornton, MD
January 01, 2012
BRAIN FOOD: Maintaining an alert mind takes adequate sleep (7 to 8 hours nightly are recommended), regular exercise (walking is great, but don’t stop there), time off and stimulation (like puzzles, good books and challenging hobbies).
If your brain's not always keeping up, check what's in your diet. The right food and drink plus nutritional supplements are crucial to good brain health. Here are a few recommendations:
EPA /DHA OMEGA-3s: The ultimate brain food. It's what keeps the walls of brain cells flexible, fluid and able to communicate with each other. Your body can't make EPA /DHA, so you have to get it from food or supplements. In one study, people who took EPA /DHA supplements daily for six months improved so much that their brains appeared to be three years younger. (How much: Aim for 500 milligrams a day. You can get it from eating salmon or trout or an EPA/ DHA supplement like ZoOmega-3®.)
COLORED FRUITS AND VEGGIES: The phytochemicals (plant chemicals) in foods like dark-green spinach, brilliant-orange sweet potatoes, deep-red raspberries and bright-yellow peppers not only directly neutralize free radicals, they also switch on genes that boost your body's own antioxidant defense system for a double whammy. (How much: At least nine servings a day are recommended, or by adding a full spectrum multiple nutritional supplement like Oclair®.)
WATER: Even a little dehydration can blur your thinking. How much: Drink enough so that your urine looks pale at all times (if it’s dark, you need more fluids). Sip, don't chug. Your body can't absorb more than 1 cup in 20 minutes. And water is much better than sugary “soft” drinks.
NUTS: Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and pecans all pack healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats (like that in olive-oil) that help keep your arteries clear, the better to carry blood unimpeded to your brain. They also provide the raw materials your body uses to produce mood-boosting serotonin in your brain. How much: 1 ounce a day (12 walnut halves, 24 almonds or 24 pecan halves).
DARK CHOCOLATE: Real dark chocolate, made by adding fat (cocao butter) and sugar that's 70 percent or more cocoa boosts your levels of feel-good dopamine and provides flavonoids, which help keep arteries young. (Most milk chocolate only contains about 35 percent cocoa plus milk solids.) How much: 1/4 ounce, several times a day. (Yes, milk chocolate contains dark chocolate, but it’s “diluted” with milk solids and sugars. Stay with the dark stuff.)
5 FOODS THAT HELP WEIGHT LOSS
Eating to lose weight isn't just about living on carrot sticks and dry Melba Toast. Instead, add these flavorful foods to an eating plan you can stick to for life.
1. Salmon: The omega-3 fatty acids in this fish may help your body lose fat, especially when coupled with exercise. If you can’t get salmon I recommend an EPA/DHA dietary supplement like ZoOmega-3®.
2. Eggs: Dieters who eat eggs for breakfast stave off hunger longer — and eat less the rest of the day - than the folks who load up on carbs at breakfast.
3. Peanuts: A small daily serving of peanuts - just 20 dry-roasted nuts - can help keep your waist thinner. Just make sure you substitute the nuts for a high-calorie food that's already in your diet.
4. Apples: Munch on an apple before every meal, and you'll be less likely to clean your dinner plate. Apples are packed with filling fiber, but aren't high in calories, so you fill up sooner.
5. Water: We’ve found that one capsule of Avantrx® with a glass of water 30 to 45 minutes before meals gives satisfaction and a feeling of fullness with less food.
Prunes to the rescue
You know you’re getting old when you’re at a five star restaurant, ask for prunes, and your waiter says, “Good choice”. I say that jokingly, but prunes are nature's “fountain of youth” when it comes to your cells. That's because these crinkly sweet dried fruits are loaded with minerals and vitamins that rev up your body's own antioxidant production. The antioxidants your cells produce then neutralize free radicals, removing them from your body and preventing the kinds of damage that invite everything from heart disease to cancer. This makes prunes not only anti-aging but anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting as well.
In Summary, a little attention to small changes in your diet, plus wisely used nutritional supplements, can add to your life and health.
Spencer Thornton, M.D.