This is the first day of the rest of your life. You have the power to choose to live a life style that will be beneficial to maintaining brain fitness and functioning.
Diet – not as in, “I am on a diet”, but rather as a life style choice – a positive behavioral modification with astounding results for brain fitness. Your brain needs the nutrients provided by certain kinds of food to function optimally.
You are what you eat! You make choices each day between healthy, brain rich foods that contain powerful nutrients to keep your brain healthy or sugar laden, empty caloried, artery clogging foods that are unhealthy for your brain.
We all know about the nutritional value of “green leafy” vegetables, but to know and not do, is really not to know. Think about it. You can fill your refrigerator with nutrient dense, rich colored fruits and vegetables OR sugar and (bad) fat filled items that are calorie laden and nutrient poor. I can see you saying, “Oh no…I’m not giving up what my frosty flakes and doughnuts”. To paraphrase a cliché, “Nothing tastes as good as a clear thinking brain feels!”
I suggest a food inventory as a first step in choosing a brain healthy life. Discard and avoid as much as possible (I used to say eliminate until the participants began throwing things at me) in the following categories comprised of 5 W’s and a T:
- white Sugar – a no brainer. Neither your brain nor body needs all that sugar. It is hidden everywhere. Substitute honey as a natural sweetener, and use it sparingly. Develop a taste for the natural goodness of foods.
- white Salt – Do not salt food as you cook. Remove it from the table. If “cold turkey” seems too harsh, wean yourself. Use herbs and non salt seasonings to enhance rather than hide the flavor of your food. Your body needs some salt, but you get enough in foods.
- white Flour – It is the basis of most foods consumed today. Choose instead all the nutritionally rich whole grains/multigrain products which are abundant and are nutrient rich for brain and body. Look for “whole wheat” as a first ingredient on the label.
- white Rice – Sample the goodness of the nutlike flavor of brown rice, or the taste-bud delights of long grain and wild rice. The “cooks in a minute” white rice has been stripped of all nutrition, not to mention taste.
- white Fat that is found in the marbling of most red meat. Eat small amounts of red meats and remove all visible fat. Choose instead fish and skinless chicken.
- Transfats – Unless you have been living in a cave, you know how bad transfats are for you body and your brain. The government has stepped in to force manufacturers to label the percentage of transfats in all products. Read the labels.
Retrain your taste buds to the flavors of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fish.
The darker the colors of fruits and vegetables, the more nutrient dense they are and the better for your brain. Do your brain a favor – you are what you eat.
P.S. A small piece of dark chocolate is good for your brain!