- Most people forget this truth about cognitive decline
- How to feed your brain to keep it younger, sharper, more focussed
- One of the most important factors in a healthy brain (you just might not realise it)
I did it again.
Found myself in the kitchen wondering, “Why am I here?”
It wasn’t a philosophical question. I wasn’t searching for the meaning of existence.
Genuinely, I had no idea why I was in the kitchen.
This happens to me a lot. I’m sure it was because my mind was racing with thoughts…“What shall I put in the Good Life Letter this week?”… “what shall I cook tonight”… “where’s my phone?”… “what on earth is going on with the news at the moment?”.
It’s probably not a great sign is it?
Even if it’s because I’ve got too much on my mind, I don’t like feeling dithery, or doddery, or befuddled.
As I’ve got older I worry more and more about losing my memory and my mental sharpness or the power of concentration.
I’ve no doubt it’s something that concerns you too.
After all, the brain is vital isn’t it? It defines who we are, our mood, our personality, our ability to work and pursue hobbies. Keep a young brain and you keep your zest for life.
But humans haven’t always been so concerned about the brain.
In ancient times, some cultures thought the brain was just useless matter stuffed into the head cavity, and it was the heart that did the thinking, the feeling, the remembering.
When mummifying pharaohs, ancient Egyptians scooped out the brain through the nostrils and chucked it away. This is because the brain was deemed useless for the afterlife. However, they carefully removed, preserved, then replaced the other internal organs.
While we have now realised the importance of the brain, we still have a weird attitude to it, almost going the other way and seeing it as something that doesn’t get affected by our diet and lifestyle like other organs.
“We sometimes think the brain is a separate system from the rest of our body,” says Dianna Purvis Jaffin, director of programmes for the Brain Performance Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas.
What she means is, when it comes to nutrition, we usually think of its effect on our heart, liver, kidneys, skin, blood and bones…
But we rarely think about how it affects the brain and our mood and outlook on life.
Or to put it another way…
We rarely think about how food makes us think!
How to eat your brain fitter
Like any other organ, what we eat is essential for the brain’s health and functioning.
If you eat well, you keep your brain younger and sharper, with a more positive outlook and greater powers of focus.
Here are a few examples:
- A Rush University study has found that people who eat leafy greens daily have the brainpower of people 11 years younger who eat no leafy greens.
- A Nutritional Neuroscience study on adults aged 65 to 75 showed that those with higher levels of plant-based omega-3s in their bloodstream did better on intelligence tests.
- It has also been shown that omega-3s improve depressive symptoms – it’s suspected that they have an effect on serotonin and serotonin receptors in the brain.
- And a study on Choline, a B-complex vitamin found in egg yolks, showed that increased intake improves brain function.
So some fresh boiled eggs… some walnuts…. some kale and cabbage… some mackerel or salmon… they’re the real brain food, containing all the above nutrients.
But maybe you’re thinking, “yeah well I know all that, Ray, oily fish, nuts, green veg, blah blah blah.”
Well, perhaps you aren’t aware of this one…
A World Alzheimer’s Report in 2009 showed that only 3.6% of South Asians over 60 have dementia compared with 7.2% in Europe.
Well, it could be down to an important ingredient in their diet. For more information, take a look at this book that I wrote: The Spice That Helps Your Brain
One of the most important factors in a healthy brain (you just might not realise it)
Lisa Mosconi is the author of Brain Food: How to Eat Smart and Sharpen Your Mind.
She ran a study comparing the brain scans of middle-aged people who had eaten a Mediterranean diet most of their lives against those who ate largely processed foods, processed meats, sweets and fizzy drinks.
She found that “the latter group’s brains had shrunk prematurely”.
As well as a diet rich in oily fish, green veg, legumes, complex carbs, olive oil and berries, she says that another factor could be how much water you drink.
Over 80% of your brain is made of water. In fact, it’s so sensitive to dehydration that a lack of water causes brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, confusion.
In the long-term, continual dehydration can lead to the dreaded ‘brain shrinkage’ and you really don’t want that!
So one of the simplest protective measures you can take is to make sure you stay hydrated.
Fairly easy and cheap that one too!
Oh, and if you’re worried about poor memory, bad sleep patterns and lack of concentration, then consider boosting your magnesium.
For more details, take a look at this: [Trial a Magnesium Supplement RISK-FREE]