I have been reading a book on brain health, by Daniel Amen. If ind it very interesting. His overall theme is that most people’s brains are not very healthy because of the poor nutrition, lack of exercise & lack of sleep. I just finished reading the chapter on nutrition and thought I would share the Eleven rules the author shares for our best nutrition. By following these rules, we can lose weight, lower blood pressure, bad cholesterol, increase focus and energy and enjoy life much more. So here they are:
- Drink plenty of water, some green tea (2-3 times a day), and limit drinks with calories.
- Watch your calories – The bottom-line message about calories is that the fewer you eat, the longer you live. Calorie restriction with optimal nutrition should be our motto.
- Increase good fats and decrease bad fats – Bad fat (saturated fats), really bad fat (trans fat), and good fat (unsaturated fats). Good fat foods: Anchovies, Avocados, Lean Meats (Chicken/Turkey), low-fat cheeses, Nuts (walnuts are the best), Olive oil, Canola oil, Flaxseed oil, Salmon, Soybeans, Tuna.
- Reduce your Sugar intake – Sugar spikes your blood sugar level then sends it crashing down about 30 minutes later, leaving you feeling lackluster and dim-witted. If you want to cut down on your sugar intake, start by cutting out the soda and limiting the cookies, candy and ice cream. Hold the bread before meals, bread makes you hungrier and encourages you to eat more.
- Dump artificial sweeteners and replace them with small amounts of natural sweeteners – Artificial sweeteners can cause joint pain, headaches, increase sugar cravings. Natural sweeteners like stevia, Xylitol can be used on a limited basis.
- Limit caffeine intake – caffeine restricts blood flow to the brain, dehydrates the brain, interferes with sleep, can be addictive in high amounts, can accelerate the heart rate and raise blood pressure, can give you the jitters, increase muscle tension, upset your stomach, elevate inflammatory markers and interfere with fertility. Caffeine is in a lot of things besides coffee. Coffee in moderation has some health benefits.
- Eat great brain foods – The author lists the top 50 best brain foods. Lots of fruits, veggies, fish, beans & lentils, whole wheat, chicken/turkey. One of the big keys is to eat a balanced diet. Knowing how many servings of each food group you need each day is vital to being healthy.
- Reduce salt intake and increase potassium intake – Most foods already have plenty of salt in them, try to avoid adding any on your own. Foods high in potassium include: bananas, spinach, honeydew melon, kiwi, lima beans, oranges, tomatoes and all meats.
- Plan snacks – Eating every 3-4 hours throughout the day helps to stabilize your blood sugar. Here are some good options: Low-fat yogurt & nuts, 1 ounce string cheese & half a cup of grapes, Turkey with an apple, dried fruit with no sugar added.
- Take a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement and fish oil – Ninety-one percent of Americans do not eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, the minimum required to get good nutrition. Therefore most of us need to take a supplement.
- Recognize when you or someone you care about has hidden food allergies – Certain foods may cause physical, emotional, behavioral, or learning problems. The most common culprits are peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, and wheat. Others include corn, chocolate, tea, coffee, sugar, yeast, citrus fruits, pork, rye, beef, tomatoes and barley. Many people with ADD can improve dramatically if they find the foods that they are allergic to and eliminate them from their diet.
The more I study nutrition, the more I am convinced that many of our physical and emotional problems come from poor nutrition. Most of us would prefer to first medicate instead of dramatically changing the way in which we eat. God designed our bodies in an amazing way and if we put the right things into our bodies they function better and last longer. I still have a lot to learn and implement into my life, but I am trying I hope you will as well.