Foods to Boost Memory

It is greatly overlooked how much the foods we eat on a daily basis affects our cognitive function. Living a healthy lifestyle, like improving nutrition and engaging in an active lifestyle, can increase our cognitive function and keep our brains active and functioning properly. Some group B Vitamins, such as folic acid, cyanocobalamine and pyridoxine, as well as antioxidants like vitamin C, E, and Beta Carotene are essential for correct brain function (Requejo, 2003). Likewise, being deficient in these nutrients and having a diet high in saturated fatty acids and cholesterol, has been shown to intensify cognitive decline.

Furthermore, Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, has been shown to help the brain function properly and efficiently. Studies have shown that long-term consumption of adequate DHA is linked to improved memory, improved learning ability and reduced rates of cognitive decline (Wolfram, 2017).

So what can we eat to boost memory?

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Avocados:

Not only do they taste delicious but they are high in the nutrients that are essential for healthy cognitive function. Avocados contain vitamin K and folate, as well as Vitamin B and Vitamin C. As stated above, these key nutrients are crucial in keeping he brain functioning normally. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps get rid of free radicals, while folate helps prevent blood clots.

Blueberries:

It is widely known that blueberries are high in antioxidants, like vitamin C and Vitamin K. As we know, these vitamins fight blood clots and free radicals. Similarly other dark berries, like blackberries and cherries have similar beneficial properties to boost memory function.

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Fish:

Fish such as salmon, Bluefin tuna and sardines, are high in omega-3 fatty acids and DHA. As previously stated, a diet with adequate DHA levels can help improve memory and improve cognitive function. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can consume Omega-3 fatty acids by eating algae, ground flax seeds, walnuts or chia seeds. Our bodies will naturally convert the Omega-3 fatty acids to DHA to support our brain.

Veggies:

Many vegetables, especially cruciferous veggies, like broccoli, cabbage and dark leafy greens, help improve memory. They contain high amounts of antioxidants, vitamin K and anti-inflammatory properties to help keep your brain working efficiently.

 

 

References

Requejo, A. M., Ortega, R. M., Robles, F., Navia, B., Faci, M., & Aparicio, A. (2003). Influence of nutrition on cognitive function in a group of elderly, independently living people. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 57(S1). doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601816

Wolfram, T. (n.d.). Brain Health and Fish. Retrieved April 03, 2018, from https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/healthy-aging/brain-health-and-fish

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A Sustainable Life

We make choices every day that affects the environment and the future of the earth. The Earth’s ecosystem keeps humans, animals and all creatures alive every day. The beauty of nature not only enhances the appearance of the world, but it keeps animals from going extinct and the atmosphere from fading. Living sustainably means that you can support yourself and your surroundings, considering three core elements: environmental protection, social development and economic development.

Protecting the environment is the main component in living a sustainable life. It includes minimizing the negative effects on the environment and creating positive impacts that can benefit nature. Social Development entails educating the public on the benefits of living sustainably. Economic development is the only way sustainability can succeed, since it implements long-term action.

There are many benefits to living a sustainable life, like saving money, simplifying, reducing waste, and eliminating chemicals in your home.’

How to Live Sustainable:

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  1. Use a reusable water bottle

  2. Recycle: recycling can reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills and reduce the environmental impacts. You can also reuse plastic bottles.
  3. Turn off the water: to reduce the amount of water used, make sure turn off the sink when brushing your teeth or install efficient water heads.
  4. Bring your own shopping bags: Many grocery stores, like whole foods market, sells reusable shopping bags. They don’t rip or tear like plastic shopping bags and they are easy to carry with you when you go grocery shopping or to the farmers market.
  5. Grow your own food: I have trouble growing my own veggies, but I always try. If you can’t do it like me, go shopping at your local farmers market or help out at a community garden.
  6. Save energy at home: turn off your lights or thermostat. This can help reduce wasted energy.
  7. Use natural products: try to buy natural, or eco-friendly products that are non toxic.
References
https://permaculturenews.org/2016/01/07/why-is-sustainability-important/

Everything You Need to Know About Eating Organic

Eating organic has been an on going trend for many reasons. To some, it means eating healthier, while to others it is a life style. Organic foods are free of pesticides, chemicals, and harmful fertilizers. They are not genetically modified or altered in anyway. The livestock are raised with out added antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic livestock are given organic feed and have access to the outdoors. To prevent diseases with the livestock, they are rotated, given a healthy diet and natural methods are used to avoid the spread of diseases if it does occur.og.jpg

Benefits:

  • Organic food does not contain harmful pesticides, fungicides, antibiotic or other harmful chemicals.
  • Sustainable agriculture is better for the environment. It reduces soil erosion, increases soil richness and conserves water. It also keeps small farms in business and supports local businesses.
  • Organic food is usually fresher since they do not contain pesticides. They do not last, as long with out the pesticides and preservatives, so they are usually local.

Since purchasing organic food is fairly expensive, it is more important to purchase some produce organic rather than others. Some types of conventional produce have a higher percentage of pesticides than others, so it is ideal to purchase them organic. I have provided a list of produce that is important to purchase organic.

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Produce to Buy Organic:

Apples
Kale
Summer Squash/ Zucchini
Cherries
Snap peas
Peaches/Nectarines
Spinach
Hot Peppers/Sweet Bell Peppers
Strawberries
Celery
Cucumbers
Grapes
Tomatoes
Meat
Corn
Soy Products

Beating the Winter Blues

It’s about that time again.

It is the middle of January and there isn’t a single green leaf in sight. Getting out of bed is the most difficult time of day. You feel angry, sad and distant. I am guilty of seasonal depression and I hate it. It is tough to get to work and even go to social gatherings with friends. I dread the thought of making plans, since I usually cancel them anyway. All I want to do is sit on my couch and watch Dr. Phil or Food Network.

Seasonal affective disorder affects many people across the globe, from children to adults. It is normal. It is our body’s reaction to the shorter, darker days.  Sunlight activates the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, making us happy.  Consequently, when there is not as much sun in the winter, we do not feel as happy or excited to conquer the day.

Since, we can not hide in the winter months, we need to find ways to beat SAD. Here are some tips on how to beat it nutritionally.

  1. Get Active!

    Exercise is great for improving symptoms of depression. Not only can it boost confidence, but it can increase energy levels and distract your brain from focusing on the dark winter months. You can do anything from lifting to cardio. High intensity interval training has been shown to give the greatest mood boost.
    When I am stuck inside, I enjoy workout videos. My favorite site is Fitnessblender.com. You can choose what type of workout you would like to do, what equipment you have and how long you would like to work out for.

  2. Vitamin D3

    Since you are not receiving as much Vitamin D from sunlight, it is important to get it in other ways. Decreased Vitamin D levels can trigger poor sleep and mood. You can easily take a Vitamin D3 supplement or eat more foods that contain Vitamin D.

    Foods that are high in Vitamin D:

    Yolk
    Cheese
    Milk
    Yogurt
    Fish (Salmon, trout and tuna)

 

  1. Vitamin B12

    A deficiency in Vitamin B12 is related to decreased energy levels and mood swings. Fortunately, it is easy to supplement and consume in foods. It is hard to get in vegetables, so it is important to take a Vitamin B12 supplement when you are vegan or vegetarian.

    Foods that are high in Vitamin B12:

    Eggs
    Yogurt
    Milk
    Fish

  2. Decrease sugar intake

    Sugar can increase energy levels and make you happy for a short period before crashing. During the winter months, you may crave carbs and sugar, which can force your body to feel more moody in the end. It is important to focus on eating a healthy diet, especially in the winter. Focusing on vegetables, fruit, protein and healthy fats can help beat Seasonal depression.

  3. Set goals

    accomplishing tasks and small goals keeps your mind focused on motivating yourself. Completing a goal, big or small, gives your brain a boost of dopamine, one of chemical hormones that makes you happy. So make a to do list or sign up for a race, to keep yourself motivated during these cold months of the year.

Collagen Brownies

The mushiest, chocolatey-est brownies ever! With added collagen to help keep your skin, hair and nails healthy.

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Collagen Brownies

1/2 cup melted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/8 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple sauce
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 scoop collagen powder

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8 inch pan. Whisk butter, olive oil and sugar in a large bowl. Add apple sauce and vanilla and whisk until blended. Sift flour, cocoa powder salt and collagen in a separate bowl and fold it into the wet ingredients. Spread the mixture into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. 

Tip: To check if brownies are done, stick a fork into the brownies. If the fork comes out clean they are done!

The Nutritious Reality of Life

The thought of health and wellness seems to revolve around $30 dollar protein powders and even more expensive barre and anti-gravity yoga classes. Instagram stars give the impression that you have to live in a tropical dreamland with fresh fruit hanging from the trees and make the ultimate smoothie bowl to eat nutritiously. In reality, living a healthy life is pretty simple.

It is not about “clean eating” or finding your “swolemate,” it is about treating your body well so you can live a long, happy life. There are so many lifestyle choices we need to make every day to stay healthy and be happy.

  1. It is important to exercise. Exercising vigorously is not a necessity but it is important to get up and move every day. Working out has positive effects on your heart, mind, and metabolism. Just 30 minutes of walking each day can help lower your risk of heart problems.
  2. Drink more water! As stated in my previous post, water is very important for your body to function properly. Not only do our bodies consist of mostly water, but water can also help remove waste and carry nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.

 

  1. Eat more fruits and vegetables! Not only can eating fruits and veggies give you more control over your weight, but they can make your skin clearer and brighter. It gives you a glow without pounds of makeup. Bright colored fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants, helping to remove the free radicals in our bodies and remove toxins.
  2. Living in a healthy environment, to limit stress and clutter is also important. Organizing your home environment can help make your work, school and daily life less stressful. Knowing you do not have anything to do when you get home is a great way to help you live a longer, healthier life. Excess stress can lead to high blood pressure, bad eating habits and much more.
  3. You should try to be social. Hanging out with friends and family can help lower stress and make you happy. Many research studies show that you are at a greater risk of heart disease if you do not network with friends and family. Loneliness can not only cause depression, but it can be just as dangerous as smoking since it causes inflammation.
  4. Love yourself! I feel that the most important aspect of life is to accept yourself for who you are. You cannot change yourself, so it is important to accept your body and your personality. Confidence is the start to living happy and healthy.

The point I am trying to make is that you should focus on living a healthy lifestyle, instead of following a fad diet or what is trending on Instagram. Nutrition and living healthy are much easier than what they are made out to be.