Dementia Fear

I am not a brave person; many things frighten me: IMAG0312injury – I was very fortunate to escape with only whiplash and bruises last year when someone drove across a junction and took the front off my car; cancer – of course; loss of mental faculties – for me the worst of all.

Currently in vogue, the carb heavy, low fat diet that has led to the obesity and diabetes epidemics has also been linked in new studies with Alzheimer’s (first referred to as type 3 diabetes in 2005).

"3DSlicer-KubickiJPR2007-fig6" by Kubicki M., McCarley R.W., Westin C-F., Park H-J., Maier S.E., Kikinis R., Jolesz F.A., Shenton M.E. A review of diffusion tensor imaging studies in schizophrenia. J Psychiatr Res. 2007 Jan-Feb;41(1-2):15-30. PMID: 16023676. PMCID: PMC2768134.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:3DSlicer-KubickiJPR2007-fig6.jpg#/media/File:3DSlicer-KubickiJPR2007-fig6.jpg

“3DSlicer-KubickiJPR2007-fig6” by Kubicki M., McCarley R.W., Westin C-F., Park H-J., Maier S.E., Kikinis R., Jolesz F.A., Shenton M.E. A review of diffusion tensor imaging studies in schizophrenia. J Psychiatr Res. 2007 Jan-Feb;41(1-2):15-30. PMID: 16023676. PMCID: PMC2768134.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:3DSlicer-KubickiJPR2007-fig6.jpg#/media/File:3DSlicer-KubickiJPR2007-fig6.jpg

What to do? Minimise sugar and cut down on processed grains. Eat some plant food at each meal. Vegetables are good carbs giving you vitamins, minerals and fibre; their antioxidants protect your brain. Berries contain antioxidants too plus other beneficial phytonutrients.  Celery, peppers and carrots contain luteolin which may calm inflammation in your brain.

FishYour brain is mostly made of fat so get plenty of omega 3s (eg from oily fish, chia seed or walnuts) and keep down your Nutsintake of damaged omega 6 (eg processed vegetable oil). Eat butter, olive oil, coconut oil and foods like nuts and avocados.

The spice turmeric contains curcumin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant. Curcumin has been shown to boost memory and stimulate the production of new brain cells. For the B vitamin choline, eat eggs, meat, broccoliEggs and cauliflower. Choline may boost brain power and slow age-related memory loss. Red meat is an excellent source of vitamin B12 which is vital for brain function. When you’re short of B12, your brain actually gets smaller.

IMAG0057Other ways to keep your mental sharpness: physical exercise, standing up regularly to break continuous sitting, mindfulness, knitting, word or number puzzles, learning a language, making music, a stimulating career, social interaction.

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Top tip – eat well for the sake of your brain

 

Holiday Food

I recently went to Norway on holiday, brilliantly arranged by the lovely people at Cockermouth Travel. As well as the breathtaking beauty of the place, I was struck by the slim, healthy build of the population and the fabulous food! Game stew was a highlight plus lots of fresh fish (they love their herrings) and vegetables. (OK there were fast food places for tourists in the town centre; you’ll find that everywhere in the world nowadays.)

Breakfasts were a feast of cold meats, cheeses, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and yoghurt. That’s a high nutrient breakfast to fuel the national pastime of walking up mountains, come rain or shine. Over here continental breakfast has been diminished to coffee and a croissant – not satisfying, not healthy and not continental.

Breakfast

Breakfast

More breakfast

More breakfast

And more breakfast!

And more breakfast!

 

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Going on holiday is a great opportunity to reconnect with real food. You might go to more exotic places that I do. Perhaps you’ve sampled the delights of young coconuts or fresh bananas which I’m told are divine.

It’s a shame we emulate the Americans more than Europeans. We eat more processed food than any other European country. We also have the fattest population plus the resultant deteriorating health. The French and Italians love their food and you can enjoy locally grown produce, artisan breads, grass-fed meat and amazing cheeses. Food is a high priority for them. They spend money on good ingredients and take time cooking and eating. Meals are not rushed or gulped down alone in front of a TV or computer. There’s a strong social element with lots of talk and laughter round the table. Enjoy it while you’re away and keep it up when you come back.

Top tip – make good food culture a holiday souvenir to bring back home.

Juicing Special

The Eat Well Gang got together in November for a special Jackie’s Gee Up, led by Paul Heslop, juicing enthusiast.  Since doing the Eat for a Better Life course, juicing has been a regular activity in the Heslop household and they’ve reaped the benefits in great health.  See Paul’s testimonial video here.

S/W Ver: 85.83.E7PYou can juice many fruits and vegetables.  For health, it’s best to concentrate on veg with just a little fruit to take away the bitter taste.  Wheatgrass featured prominently on our night and was combined with vegetables and fruits giving a range of flavours.  See Paul in action on the videos page under superfoods.

In the New Year, I’ll be challenging my readers to make green juices.  Christmas is coming soon, so if you don’t have a juicer perhaps some kind person might buy one for you as a present.

Eyes Right

Your eyes are a window onto the beautiful world we live in. They’re incredible and worth looking after.File:Gray eyes.jpg

 (Pic – Wikipedia commons)

You’ve probably heard that in WWII, as a cover-up for our use of radar, the British military spread the story that our pilots could see in the dark because they ate carrots. Perhaps the story was effective because it there was a grain of truth in it. Carrots contain beta-carotene which your body converts into Vitamin A, which is good for your eyes.

 

Vitamins, minerals, enzymes contribute to the health of your eyes as well as your body generally. Processed foods often contain low levels of these micro-nutrients. You’ll get almost everything you need by eating a range of fresh meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Your eyes benefit from fat-soluble antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin which you can get from eggs and dark leafy greens like kale, spinach and spring cabbage and from yellow and orange fruits and veg – carrots feature again. Blackcurrants, blueberries and the amazing bilberries (we’re lucky – they grow round here) and other red and purple fruits contain water-soluble antioxidants and are great for your eyes.

 

Your eyes are mostly made of water so stay well hydrated. Instead of having tea, coffee, alcohol or fizzy pop, drink some plain water.

 

Exercise is good for our bodies and for our eyes too. They enjoy looking around and having a rest sometimes. Computers, TV and video games make us stare at one place at one distance for long periods of time. This unnatural practice can lead to eye-strain so take a break!

Top tip – Even your eyes benefit when you eat well.

You can read this in The Cockermouth Post along with lots of other interesting articles.