Healthy Food

How to keep our brain healthy and memories alive | by Ayesha S | Sep, 2021

Ayesha S

I was browsing through YouTube and I stumbled on a video ‘Power Foods for the Brain | Neal Barnard | TEDx Bismarck’, thanks to YouTube recommendations. The video stayed with me, cause it talks about brain health and ultimately how to reduce the risk of diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Because memories are precious treasures to me, the thought of memory loss at any point in life is scary to me. If I ask you what is the most loved or most important thing to you, most of us will say our family and friends and other such things; but our memory is what keeps it all together, everything that matters to us.

Here’s a summary and takeaways from the video.

Overview

Dr Neal Barnard mentioned he lost his father to Alzheimer’s Disease and as Dr quotes “of all the things that could ever happen to you, the very last thing you would want on your list is Alzheimer’s Disease. Because when you lose your memory you lose everything, everyone, everyone that ever mattered to you”.

So he went on to study various medical and health research projects related to ageing, dementia, Alzheimer etc. and shared results and conclusions from the studies in ted talk.

Saturated fats are one of the unhealthy fats. These fats are most often solid at room temperature.

The number one source of saturated fat is dairy products. Foods like cheese, butter (Notice that these are solid at room temperature), milk and so forth. you get the idea right? (solid fats)

And then comes the meat, bacon etc.

Also, the bakery products like cakes, biscuits, pastries and doughnuts contain trans fat — bad/ unhealthy fats.

Oils like coconut oil, palm are also high in saturated fats.

I know you’ll say, but.. but iron is necessary it’s good, yes iron, copper it’s all good, but they are a double-edged sword. As we know metals like iron, rust badly if kept for a long time. So unutilized iron, copper oxidize in blood and produce free radicals which cause sparks in the brain.

Hence we need to keep a check on iron copper intake. And to reverse the oxidization we should include antioxidants in our diet. Vitamin E.

Vitamin E is a natural fire extinguisher to those sparks. It is present in fruits like mangoes, avocados and in spinach, in nuts like almonds, walnuts and peanuts and seeds like sunflower seeds.

But an important point to note here is vitamin E is present in multiple forms, if we keep taking one type of Vitamin E it reduces the absorption of other types of it. Hence take it in natural forms from fruits, veggies and seeds.

Fruits or food of colours like blueberries and grapes. These food have something called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are the pigments that give red, blue, purple plants their rich colouring. These anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants just like vitamin E.

Exercise — a very important aspect of healthy living. We all have thought of doing exercise or workout daily but did we do it? Nope 😐

But there is no need of fancy workouts and a proper schedule, all you need to do is a 30–40 minute brisk walk. Yep! or you can put it as don’t keep sitting and laying all day long on a couch, get up from a place and do small brisk walks in between, that will improve your physical health as well as your brain health!

That’s it, these were my key takeaways from the video, but I feel Dr Barnard left an important factor, Sleep, so I added my learnings and findings from other sources here.

and last but not least…

A healthy amount of sleep is important for the proper functioning of the brain. The important part of the brain, the hippocampus, informational inbox, or the part which decides what to keep in memory. So, when we are sleeping it decides what stuff from the day is worth storing, and what not so it can free up some space. So basically Sleep helps in better memory optimization.

While we are asleep the brain clears out toxic waste accumulated throughout the day, and what toxic waste you say… not just any harmful waste but the ones associated with Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.


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