Eat your way to a better brain

A good diet rich in these 10 foods may keep your memory and cognitive function in tip-top shape.

Eat your way to a better brain
A great breakfast to jumpstart the brain? Berries and yogurt are celebrated brain foods. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Want to keep your mind as sharp as possible? Tend to your belly.

Here’s some food for thought: Research has shown that what you eat plays a role in how efficient your brain is, and that certain foods may help lower your risk for developing dementia.

By choosing the right foods, you can promote healthier blood vessels and prevent inflammation, which has been linked to cognitive decline.

10 foods that’ll keep your thinker thinking properly:

1. Berries

Cherries, blueberries and strawberries provide antioxidants to promote better blood flow and protect brain tissue. Studies show they improve memory and decrease the risk of dementia. Aim to include at least one cup of berries in your diet each day.

2. Green leafy vegetables

These are excellent sources of folate, flavonoids and carotenoids. These nutrients help improve blood flow and aid in the production of DNA and RNA, the body’s genetic material. Include three to six servings daily of spinach, kale, collard greens or broccoli.

Foods to avoid or eat less

  • Saturated fats. These are artery-clogging fats that have been shown to increase the risk for developing Alzheimer’s.
  • Trans fats. They have a negative impact on your heart and may decrease blood flow, so avoid them. They are common in coffee creamers, margarine, commercial frosting or some nut butters.
  • Enriched, bleached or refined flours. Limit these by making at least half of your grains whole grains.
  • High fructose corn syrup. Look for these in breads, yogurts or condiments and avoid them.
  • Excess calories. Too many pounds will make your body less efficient, impacting blood flow to your brain. So pay attention to hunger cues and eat mindfully for your body and mind.

3. Fish

Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in the structure of the brain cell membrane and reduce inflammatory processes linked with cognitive decline. They are considered feel-good fats because they have been shown to influence mood and ward off depression. Not a fan of fish? Consider talking to your doctor about adding an omega-3 supplement.

4. Flaxseeds or chia seeds

These contain alpha-linolenic acid, which can help promote healthy brain development and heart health. Aim for five servings of these each week.

5. Coffee or tea

Some studies have shown that, in moderate doses (three cups or less daily), caffeine boosts long-term memory performance and thinking ability. Talk to your doctor before adding this to your diet.

6. Probiotics

To boost blood flow and improve your mood, enjoy a daily dose of plain yogurt or other probiotic-containing foods, such as kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha or miso soup.

7. Whole grains

If you eat grains, aim for three servings each day. Include a variety, such as quinoa, oatmeal, whole grain breads or popcorn (without added salt or butter) to improve brain health.

8. Nuts

One serving of nuts includes healthy fats, fiber and important vitamins and minerals that promote healthy blood flow. Incorporate an ounce of walnuts, almonds, pecans or pistachios five times each week, and choose unsalted or low sodium versions for a healthy heart.

9. Beans

Beans are an excellent source of folate, one of the B vitamins. Eating three servings or more each week is beneficial to your mind as well as your heart and gut.

10. Plant-based oils

This includes olive, avocado, peanut or sunflower oils that contain healthy polyunsaturated fats, which reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Source : Health Beat More   

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‘Art will heal the world’

Boarded-up windows in downtown Grand Rapids become paintings promoting justice and unity. Spectrum Health is there to support.

‘Art will heal the world’

The healing power of art came to downtown Grand Rapids as artists transformed boarded-up windows into beautiful paintings exploring peace and justice.

“Art will heal the world,” said Asia Horne, one of the artists organizing the event. “And we want to heal.”

The windows were broken May 30, in the first night of nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd. Multiple peaceful protests have occurred on downtown streets in the days since then.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, artists began to work with the city and other supporters to transform the plywood coverings into paintings promoting social justice and unity.

As artist Tylan Davis created a mural at the AC Hotel by Marriott, the Spectrum Health Cancer Center set up a tent nearby to provide shade and water to the artists and their helpers.

“As health care professionals, we understand the healing power artistic expression can have,” said Katherine Williams, an event planner for the cancer center. “We understand the value this moment of togetherness can have for the community.”

Through his artwork, Davis encouraged dialogue. His painting includes pictures of ears and mouths and proclaims in bold letters, “Listen up.”

Other organizations supporting the project include Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Lions and Rabbits art gallery, CWD Real Estate and Rockford Construction.

Horne, an art director, helped to place artists for the initiative. Many of the creators in the diverse group are Black artists.

“I really wanted to amplify Black voices at this time,” she said. “Now that the community is giving us a chance to speak and to listen to our concerns, let us start a conversation here.”

Those conversations, along with the power of art, can be healing.

“In this time in life, the earth is having a reset,” she said. “We all need to be conscious of our mental health, our physical health and emotional health, especially at this time with so many things going on.”

Source : Health Beat More   

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