7 Tips To Re-Set Your Brain – PART 1
Did the holidays leave your brain in an eggnog-induced fog? If you’re anything like moi, you are in desperate need of a predictable schedule. The time between Christmas and New Years left me like “What day is it? What meal is it? How did I finish a whole wheel of brie by myself?” I digress…
The holidays probably left you under-exercised, and overfed. You probably consumed a few too many refined carbs, too much trans and saturated fats, and perhaps a smidge too much alcohol. And that’s fine, no shame in our game. We just need to get back to our regular rhythms, yes?
Here are some signs that your brain may need some TLC…
- Brain fog
- Difficulty concentrating
- Faulty memory
- Poor response to stress
- Low mood and/or anxiety
Here are 8 tips to help you take back your brain!
Tip #1: Eat Organic Blueberries
- You may be wondering if the food you eat can actually impact the functionality of your brain. The answer – OF COURSE. The brain uses 20% of the entire energy supply of the body. The energy supply is coming from what you eat. The food you eat supports the energy demands of the brain, and the physical structure of the brain.
- Blueberries are high on the ORAC scale (a measure of antioxidant capacity), and contain polyphenols, which have been shown to be a brain superfood. Here is a short list of blueberry superpowers…
- Enhances memory performance in older adults with AND without apparent cognitive deficits
- Improves brain perfusion
- Protects the blood-brain-barrier
- Prevents memory decline in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease
Tip #2: Say Sayonara to Soda
- News Flash – even DIET pop has a detrimental effect on brain health
- Pop consumption has been linked to anxiety and depressive symptoms in children. Mental health symptoms are increasing in our kiddos. Recent stats indicate that anywhere from 5% to 20% of children and youth suffer from anxiety and/or depression. This is unacceptable
- Daily diet soft drink intake is associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke, all-cause dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease dementia
- Increased sugar consumption (1 can of Coke contains 39 grams/9 tsp of sugar) is significantly correlated to higher rates of depression in adults
- Sugar consumption (especially from soda), during pregnancy and childhood may adversely affect child cognition
Tip #3: Sip on Coffee
- Repeat after me “LOW to MODERATE intake is beneficial”. I’m not condoning your 6-a-day habit. Or even your triple-triple habit. I’m talking black coffee. No creamers, no sweeteners.
- Coffee contains many antioxidants that protect the fatty part of cells against oxidative stress
- Considering the brain is 60% fat, its zero surprise that coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- How much coffee is protective? 1-3 cups per day. This low amount of daily caffeine (100-300 mg) is associated with increased energy, well-being, self-confidence, motivation for work, and endurance.
- Too much coffee can lead to insomnia, infertility, anxiety, and digestive issues like heartburn and loose stools. Some of these concerns are exacerbated if you’re a caffeine-sensitive individual. Thankfully, de-caffeinated coffee still offers a lot of antioxidant support
Tips for making the switch to black – add ¼ tsp cinnamon or cacao, a pinch of salt, ½ TBSP MCT oil (and wiz it in the blender for a fat-licious take on a latte), have it iced, make your coffee less strong, have almond milk or coconut milk creamer, try Stevia.
How to cut back on the number of cups per day – start by ordering a size smaller than you normally do. Have a coffee cut-off time of 3:00 pm. Switch your late afternoon/evening cup of Joe to black tea or green tea.
Tip #4: Eat Brassica Veggies
- The Brassica family of veg – what I lovingly refer to as “the stinky veggies”. This family of vegetables is touted for being phase II liver detoxifiers, because they contain chemicals called glucosinolates.
- These glucosinolates have been shown to act in a similar way to drugs that are used to Alzheimer’s disease. They inhibit an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase, and increase a brain neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is involved in memory, learning, and skeletal muscle contractions.
- The chemical compounds in Brassica vegetables has been shown to prevent the cognitive decline in mice who have been given a chemical to induce oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Keep your levels of acetylcholine up, and your oxidative stress down and eat one serving of veggies from the Brassica family daily.
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- 7. Kale
- Mustard greens
- Radish and
- Watercress (to name a few)
Side note: I love roasting Brussels in the oven, sautéing bok choy in coconut oil and soy sauce, making a smoothie with kale, and adding broccoli to my scrambled eggs.
Stay tuned for tips #5 through #7 in a few weeks.
The advice in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to replace a consultation with a licensed health care provider.