Hopefully this blog is catching you working hard on those New Year’s Resolutions. I am also hoping that you might want to incorporate a few of my suggestions into that annual goal we all seem to have, which is improving our health. As those of us who are baby boomers know, we have senior moments here and there as we age. (You were hoping no one would mention this, right?) As we become a little startled by our inability to bring up a name (perfectly normal) or finding we forgot what we went to the kitchen for, we wonder what we can do to help our brains be as functional as possible. Popular media is happy to help as cognitive impairment and brain diseases begin to gain some limelight. In the midst of your bombarded with Brain this and Brain that, I would like to offer you just a few simple suggestions that don’t take a lot of extra work and can hopefully slide right into your busy days. Here are some Brain Food and Brain Fit suggestions:
Meal plan suggestions:
Berries: Berries include blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, blueberries. Personally I prefer to stick to Organic berries.
Omega-3Fatty Acids: Yes, we are talking about that Salmon filet. You also can get some of your Omega-3Fatty Acids from Fish Oils you can take by the teaspoon. They really don’t taste bad. Check with you physician on your personal recommended amount.
Increase your vegetables: No great surprise here! A few suggestions:
Avocados – High in folic acid which is seen has protective for cognitive health. (Research information from Lancet and The American Journal of Nutrition.) Lentils – High in folic acid. Quinoa – Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all eight essential amino acids. It has more protein than barley and rice. It is also high in Manganese which helps protect against cell damage caused by free radicals. It also has a low glycemic index.
Sleep: This is a big one. I keep hearing from colleagues and friends how they are just fine on 5 or 6 hours of sleep. Yes, I know we are all different but we all need a good night’s sleep that arrives at the magical number of 8. Some of us need 9 hours or more. This is a case of less is not better. We heal and our brains de-stress during sleep. When I complete an Assessment with a client, “Are you sleeping?” and “How is your sleep?” are important questions that can tell me a lot.
Meditation: Personally I am a TM’er. That was my goal for last year and I finally made it to Transcendental Meditation in August!! One of the goals of all meditation is to allow our brain andbodies to calm and to quiet. If you want a very simple meditation just count 1 through 10 breathing in and out with each number.
M y hope is that these will be helpful for you. I would love to hear your suggestions. Here’s to a happy and brain healthy New Year.
Teresa Shanahan,CMC Ph. D.