Yesterday morning I watched an excellent special with Dr. Neal Barnard, about saving our brains from dementia and Alzheimers. Locally, it was on channel 17, a PBS station, and I am sure it has aired before and will air again. If you aren’t local, I am sure you can find it on a PBS station on your dial. The take away was 3 fold:
1) AVOID BAD FATS — those are the ones in meat, most dairy, cakes, cookies and processed junk. The foods he highly recommends –Beans and Greens, especially spinach and kale. Of course we need the good fats in our diet to keep our brain (and everything) running in tip top form. Most of us know that we can get those from foods like avocados, nuts and olives but I learned something that shocked me from this show. Broccoli gets 8% of its calories from healthy fat. Who knew?
2) WATCH OUT FOR FREE RADICALS. We all hear these words, but in particular he was referring to a build up of iron, copper and aluminum, that is seen in the plaque deposits on the brains of dementia/Alzheimers patients. He claims that unless we are iron deficient, we have no need for it in our multi-vitamins as we don’t urinate out extra iron–or copper or aluminum. Use water filters as many water sources have traces of these minerals in them and stay away from cast iron pots and pans, again, unless you don’t get enough. The only way to really know is to get your blood tested. Additionally, anti-oxidants clean out free radicals from our bodies. Sure red wine is great, but so is grape juice and berries like blueberries. Eat, drink, be radical free!
3) EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN– not just with words games, though they are great, but also with learning knew things. People that speak two languages keep their brains younger IF they use the two languages. I am always happy to walk into class and hear my students speaking French, Creole, Yiddish, Italian, Spanish, etc., But the best kind of exercise for our brains happens to be aerobic exercise. The doctor suggests building up to 3 40 minute walks a week as a prescription to help keep your brain young. Of course, all types of aerobic exercise work.
Once again, the very things that are good for one thing, in this case keeping our brains “young and healthy” are the very same things that are good for avoiding and reversing diabetes and heart disease as well as avoiding the big C. The best news of all was that adapting this type of lifestyle apparently has the power to override the gene that we inherit from our parents who may have had/have dementia. Whether I will get the disease remains to be seen, but I am surely giving it my best shot. I hope you will consider this info and share it with anyone that might benefit! Thanks.
Tonight…Biggest Loser Makeover Night!!!!! I can hardly wait.