Food for Thought: A Brainy Reason to Go Vegan!
Posted by Lindsay Pollard Post at 9:56 AM | Permalink | No Comments
We all know that what we put on our plates can have a huge impact on our bodies, but as Dr. Neal Barnard, nutrition researcher at George Washington University and author of Power Foods for the Brain, pointed out in a recent appearance on CBS This Morning, what we eat impacts our brains, too. The good news is that the same foods that promote a healthy body—veggies, fruits, whole grains, and beans—also promote brain health and may even help ward off Alzheimer's disease.
As Barnard explains, certain substances act as Alzheimer's "triggers," including saturated fats, trans fats, and some metals, including iron, copper, and aluminum. Research has shown that people who eat large quantities of saturated fats, such as those found in meat and dairy products, have twice the risk of developing Alzheimer's. On the other hand, people who eat very small amounts of saturated fats in favor of more polyunsaturated fats (the kind found in vegetables and nuts) have a 70 percent reduction in Alzheimer's risk.
Since dairy products are loaded with saturated fat and meat is rich in both saturated fat and iron, avoiding foods that come from animals is an easy way to sidestep substances that may harm our brains.
Filling our plates with healthy veggie foods also boosts our intake of brain-beneficial substances, such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which can substantially lower our risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. In fact, one study of more than 3,000 elderly Chicago residents found that those who ate lots of vegetables had significantly better memories and cognitive function than those who didn't eat many vegetables. For brain health, almonds, dark berries, leafy greens, beans, and bananas are especially smart choices.
Exercising is also important, as Barnard mentions. Studies show that just 30 to 40 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise three times a week can actually reverse brain shrinkage. That's yet another great reason to make sure that we hit the sidewalks with our canine companions every day.
Vegan foods and regular exercise are essential for a healthy body and mind!
Posted to Health | Posted to Tags: alzheimer's, brain health, Dr. Neal Barnard, Lindsay Pollard-Post, vegan