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Posts tagged ‘omega-3 fatty acids’

Eat 9 Walnuts a Day to Keep Stress at Bay

Eat 9 Walnuts a Day to Keep Stress at Bay
Walnuts are a wonder nut, that offer almost too many health benefits to count. Here is a quick list: Walnuts are a rich source of dietary fiber, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds work together to help you sleep better, reduce hair loss, prevent diabetes, improve complexion and  lower your risk of certain cancers. But did you know: walnuts are an excellent anxiety-reducing food, too. A first-of-its-kind Penn State University study found that walnuts and walnut oil can reduce blood pressure during periods of stress.  In this study, 22 adults with elevated levels of “bad” cholesterol were put on three different diets for six weeks each. At the end of the study, the three groups were put under mildly stressful situations such as making a speech and dipping a foot in a bucket of ice-cold water. Their blood pressure was measured both before these activities and soon after. Here is what researchers found: The group that was given 9 walnuts and a tablespoon of walnut oil as part of their diet had much lower levels of both resting blood pressure and stress-induced blood pressure.
According to statistics provided by the American Psychological Association, more than 77% of Americans admit to regularly experiencing physical symptoms caused by stress. Since stressful situations cannot be avoided altogether, eating a handful of delicious walnuts and including walnut oil in your daily diet seems like a comforting idea.
By Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman’s book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life! Live Well! Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

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9 Brain Superfoods…Are You Enjoying Them Daily?

9 Brain Superfoods

 

Your brain controls every function in your body yet we rarely give it a  second thought.  And, few of us choose foods that protect or heal our  brain.  Here are some of the best foods for thought (literally):

1.  Spinach—More than Just for Popeye

A study of middle-aged rats fed diets with added spinach, strawberry extract,  or vitamin E for nine months found that spinach proved most potent in protecting  nerve cells against the effects of aging in two parts of the brain.  More  research needs to be done but it looks like Popeye was building more than  muscles when he ate spinach.

2.  Benefits of Blue for Grey Matter

Blueberries contain a group of plant nutrients called  proanthocyanidins.  Proanthocyanidins have a unique capacity to protect  both the watery and fatty parts of the brain against damage from some  environmental toxins.  Proanthocyanidins decrease free radical activity  within and between brain cells.  Blueberry proanthocyanidins have greater  antioxidant properties than vitamins C and E.  Blueberries appear to have  some of the highest concentrations of these powerful antioxidants.  In  other studies, researchers found that compounds in blueberries may reverse some  age-related memory loss and motor skill decline.

Blueberries are excellent anti-inflammatory agents. They increase the amounts  of compounds called heat-shock proteins that decrease as people age, thereby  causing inflammation and damage, particularly in the brain. By eating  blueberries regularly, research shows that these heat-shock proteins stop  declining and inflammation lessens, not to mention that they just taste  fabulous.

3.  From the Vine to Your Palate

A plant nutrient found in grapes, grape juice and red wine appears to protect  the brain against Alzheimer’s disease.  It’s called resveratrol, and it is  an antioxidant thought to be responsible for many of the purported benefits of  red wine on brain cells.  The researchers found that resveratrol protected  brain cells by mopping up free radicals before they can cause brain  damage.  And while people may prefer to hear that red wine is the best  source, the alcohol in wine is still damaging to brain cells.  Red or  purple grapes are the best option to load up on resveratrol.

4-7.  Omega 3s to Maintain a Healthy Brain (Wild Salmon,  Walnuts, Flax or Hemp Seeds)

The brain is 60% fat and requires healthy fats to reduce inflammation (linked  to most brain disorders) and maintain a healthy blood-brain barrier—a mechanism  intended to protect the brain from harmful substances.  Omega 3 fatty acids  like those found in salmon, walnuts, flax seeds or flax seed oil, or hemp seeds,  help to quell inflammation and support a strong blood-brain barrier, while  boosting our memory.  Be sure to choose only wild salmon  since high levels of mercury and PCBs have been found in farmed salmon and both  of these substances may have adverse effects on the brain.  Also, be sure  to choose raw walnuts, flax or hemp seeds or the oil made from  them since the fats contained in these nuts and seeds can have damaging effects  on brain health when heated.

8.  The Memory-Boosting Power of Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain a powerful memory-boosting phytonutrient called “lycopene.”  Research shows that those who consume lycopene in their daily  diets had sharper memories than those who didn’t consume high amounts of  lycopene.  Tomatoes aren’t the only source.  Another great source of  lycopene is watermelon.

9.  Tea for Two Hemispheres

Researchers found that people who drank two or more cups of tea each day were  less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.  Black and green tea  (especially green tea) contains potent antioxidants with twenty times the power  to protect against free radicals than vitamin E.  Green tea also lowers the  risk of blood clots and clumping linked to stroke.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 14-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: 60 Seconds  to Slim, Healing Recipes, The  Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The  Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan,  and The Phytozyme Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and  subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life?  Please complete the information at www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html to schedule your consultation.  I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~  www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

4 Food Strategies to Boost Brain Function

4 Food Strategies to Boost Brain Function

While there are many positive aspects to aging, we’re more familiar  with the  things that can go wrong. For all the wisdom we gain from  experience, we’re  more apt to worry about memory loss. We fret over  rusty neurotransmitters and  cloudy thinking.

So we diligently do crossword puzzles, wrestle with brainteasers and  learn  to play musical instruments — for the intrinsic joy, of course,  but also to  help inoculate our brains against negative age-related  changes. These are  helpful pursuits, but they’re not the only ones that  matter. In fact, if we  want to build a better brain, what we choose to  eat and drink might make the  biggest difference of all.

The following food-based strategies can help any brain function better — whether that brain is 9 years old or 90.

Hydrate

Proper hydration is a critical factor in maintaining and improving  your mind  as you age. “Your brain is 80 percent water,” says Daniel  Amen, MD, a clinical  neuroscientist and author of Use Your Brain to Change Your Age: Secrets to Look, Feel,  and Think Younger Every Day (Crown,  2012). “Even slight dehydration  increases the body’s stress hormones,  which can decrease your ability to think  clearly. Over time, increased  levels of stress hormones are associated with  memory problems.”

While the amount of hydration you need day-to-day depends on several   factors, including activity level, relative humidity and eating habits  (to name  only a few), the oft-repeated advice to drink 64 ounces — or  eight 8-ounce  glasses — of water a day isn’t a bad general rule to  follow. Keep in mind,  however, that you can account for those ounces in  several different ways. If  you’re eating a lot of vegetables and fruits,  for example, you may need to  drink less water. Most fresh plant foods  have a high water content and will  help keep you hydrated.

While the feeling of thirst is a good indicator you need to hydrate, if the only time you grab a glass of water is when you’re noticeably thirsty,  you  may not be drinking enough for optimal health. That’s because that  “thirsty feeling” kicks in only when your body is already a bit  dehydrated. The  best approach to hydration is a conscious, proactive  one. So, drink up! (For  more on proper hydration, see Drink to Your Health.)

Fight Free  Radicals

If you leave a bottle of wine open too long, it will oxidize and  become  stale. If your car is exposed to the elements for too long, its  exterior may  rust. Just as wine degrades and metal rusts, the cells in  our brains and  bodies degrade over time when they are exposed to free  radicals.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that are generated in the body  as a  byproduct of other natural internal processes, such as the  metabolizing of food  or the triggering of an immune response by a  bacteria or virus.

Free-radical molecules are unstable because they have an uneven  number of  electrons, which prefer to be in pairs. So in an effort to  restabilize  themselves, free radicals roam the body stealing electrons  from healthy cells.  When that happens, the formerly healthy cells, now  short an electron, head out  on their own searching for a replacement  electron, thus inciting an unhealthy  chain reaction of stolen electrons  throughout the body. It is that cascade of “electron theft” that causes  the cellular damage or “rust” in our brains and  bodies.

Antioxidants are free-radical scavengers. They fight the corrosive  effects  of free radicals by quieting their search for additional  electrons. You can  build up your antioxidant power by eating more  vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage,  cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, spinach,  kale and chard all pack a powerful  punch in the fight against  free-radical damage.

Garlic, too, is a powerful antioxidant, and it also has antibacterial  and  antifungal qualities. Fruit is another ally. Blueberries brim with   antioxidants, as do raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. Red  grapes  contain high levels of the potent antioxidants resveratrol and  quercetin. (So,  too, by extension, does red wine; in moderation, it may  offer some antioxidant  protection.)

Spices and herbs are also powerful weapons in the fight  against free radicals.  Cumin, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, mustard, ginger,  oregano, basil,  sage, thyme and tarragon are rife with antioxidants. Look for  recipes  that call for these, or add a dash of cinnamon, turmeric or ginger to a  cup of tea. Green, white and black teas contain antioxidants, too, so by   pairing tea with spices, you’ll get a double dose of antioxidant power.

Ditch Processed  Foods

The vast majority of unhealthy, age-amplifying foods are processed  foods.  One of the main dangers of processed foods? Added sugar.

Each year, Americans consume an average of 150 pounds of sugar per  person — much of it in processed foods, says Nancy Appleton, PhD,  coauthor of Suicide by Sugar (Square One, 2009). And that is  not good news for brain health.

Overconsumption of sugar has been linked to depression and dementia disorders  such as  Alzheimer’s. It also increases inflammation and raises insulin levels  in  a way that can suppress the immune system, increasing your  vulnerability to  a host of additional diseases of brain and body.

Remember, too, that high-glycemic carbohydrates (also called “simple   carbs”), which proliferate in processed foods, act like sugar in the   bloodstream.

Processed foods also contain more than their fair share of unhealthy  fats.  While the human brain needs healthy fats to function — such as  those found in  nuts, avocados, and coconut and olive oil — bad fats like  trans fats and highly  processed commercial vegetable oils have been  linked to depression and other  mood disorders. These fats interfere with  the metabolism of essential fatty  acids in brain-cell membranes, which  can harm some of the neurotransmitters  responsible for mood, focus and  memory.

Boost Key  Nutrients

Dietary supplements can play a key role in healthy brain functioning. Here  are some of the top brain-boosting supplements:

Vitamin D. Studies have shown that vitamin D can protect against dementia, a range of  autoimmune disorders, cancer,  high blood pressure and many other illnesses. Our  bodies produce vitamin  D in response to sunshine, but most people don’t get  adequate daily sun  exposure — especially if you live in a northern climate.

Omega-3s. Daily supplementation with fish oil, one  of the  best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, can give your brain a big  boost.  High-quality fish oil, free from mercury and other toxins,  provides the omega-3  fatty acids that sheath brain cells and facilitate  healthy brain functioning.  Omega-3s also help fight inflammation, which  tends to occur in our brains as we  age. Studies have shown that some of  the other nutrients in fish oil, such as  DHA and EPA, help provide  protection against depression, stabilize mood and  promote alertness.

CoQ10. Short for coenzyme Q10, CoQ10 is a molecule  that  works in concert with other nutrients to improve the functioning of  all the  cells of the body. Many recent studies have linked CoQ10 with  boosting overall  energy and sharpening cognition. (For more on CoQ10,  see CoQ10:  The Miracle Molecule.)

One of the most common myths about aging is that memory inevitably  declines.  But I know from the growing body of scientific evidence that  age-related  decline in brain function isn’t a foregone conclusion. If  you nurture your  brain with the right nutrients, you will help it remain  flexible, resilient and  strong. So, next time you sit down for a meal  or reach for a snack, think of  your future brain, and choose wisely!

By Michael J. Gelb, Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness  publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic  lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in  favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com   to learn more and to sign  up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe  to the print or digital version.

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