Boost Your Brain Power with Healthy Foods: Part 1

Dharma S Khalsa, MD Health Guide
  • Everyone wants to boost their brain power, retard brain age, avoid dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as all the chronic diseases of our modern times.

    These days we have instant news, instant money, instant communication, instant information, and instant gratification, and we’re stressed out like never before. Stress, no longer an abstract concept, is a physiological condition that can affect all of our bodily systems and contribute to heart disease, many forms of cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and other prevalent diseases of our time.

    What you eat can either help prevent disease or help cause it. The standard American diet, with its emphasis on refined grains, big portions, and unhealthy fats, exacerbates the effects of stress and pushes the body's nutritional limits.

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    Using food as peaceful medicine can help to bring balance back to your body and fend off illness. The steps described below are not part of an extreme diet or rigid food pyramid, which, based on my 25 years of experience as a physician, are neither effective nor necessary for most people. They are a set of basic, flexible principles.

    The next 2 articles on the blog will deal with foods that are good for your brain.  We will list 3 here today and 4 next time.

    1) Detoxify Your Body - The human gastrointestinal system is like an elastic pipe; this pipe can trap waste, and toxins may be absorbed as a result, creating a foundation for illness. Periodic fasting - two or three times a year - is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. It cleanses your digestive tract, detoxifies and revitalizes your body, and lifts your spirit - and it's a great way to start the transition into the complete program.

     2) Beware of "Alarm Foods" - Certain foods and substances - such as sugar, pasta, red meat, deep-fried snacks, caffeine, and alcohol - tend to cause an "alarm reaction," a signal of artificial stimulation and inflammation, in your body.

    Eating alarm foods regularly, particularly when you're stressed, can put your body in a state of perpetual arousal. Chronic stress creates free radicals, which can cause gene mutations that may lead to cancer, as well as the cellular inflammation that can contribute to illnesses such as heart disease, Alzheimer's, arthritis, anemia, fibromyalgia, asthma, and allergies.

     3) Seek Out Omega 3s and Increase Your Intake of Fruits and Vegetables - Clearly, the type of fats you consume has a powerful effect on your health. While many alarm foods contain saturated fat, which causes inflammation, food containing omega-3 fatty acids or good fats have been shown to inhibit inflammation. So start incorporating omega-3-rich flaxseed oil, olive oil, salmon, and tuna into your diet, and keep snacks such as almonds and pumpkin seeds on hand. Vegetables and fruits are the antithesis of alarm foods: They are loaded with vitamins and minerals, and they distribute antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds to all your cells.

    Follow these 3 guidelines and you will be on your road to boosting your brain power!

Published On: November 05, 2008