April 16

Keep that brain healthy!

Healthy Brain

Brain fog. Senior moments. And more serious concerns: Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia that affect over 7 million Americans each year. It is important to be proactive about brain health − especially as we age. There are many aspects to our minds that remain a mystery. Yet there is also a lot about the brain that science has figured out, much of it relatively recently.

One important factor that we do know is that, even though the brain is technically not a muscle, in many ways it functions like one. For your brain to stay healthy operate at its best, it must be nurtured, nourished, and “exercised” every day. Here are 10 ways to keep your mind flexible and working for you at any age…

#1: Get Enough Quality Sleep. SGet Enough Quality Sleeptudies conclude that most individuals need at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night. While you sleep, your brain is busy repairing, clearing out toxins, and organizing all the input from the experiences of the day.

In fact, recent research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that “extensive wakefulness” may cause permanent damage to neurons responsible for cognition and alertness. For deep, healing sleep to occur, delta and theta brainwave states are best.

#2: Eat a Healthy Brain Diet. This means staying away from too much sugar, processed foods, and simple carbs. Eat lots of non-GMO, mineral-rich organic veggies and fresh fruits, as well as minimal amounts of complex carbs.

If you eat meat, keep it hormone-free and grass-fed and eat it in moderation. Red meat in particular contains certain forms of iron that have been linked to cognitive decline when consumed in large amounts. Too much sugar may also adversely affect brain health. The brain requires the most energy of all of the body’s organs, mostly obtained through glucose. According to research conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, however, too much glucose intake can cause premature aging of brain cells.

Other studies have linked excessive glucose with memory loss and cognitive deficiencies. On the other hand, foods such as avocados, nuts, and seeds can give your brain a serious boost. Blueberries in particular have been found to protect the brain from oxidative stress and may even help prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

#3: Consume healthy fats. Consuming healthy fats on a regular basis is simply a must-do if you are striving for a sharp mind at any age. Omega-3 fatty acids in particular − found in organic, cold-pressed olive oil (not heated), avocado oil, fish such as salmon and sardines, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds, among other sources — have been shown to support speaking ability, memory function, and motor skills.

Other studies have found that Omega 3s are a good dietary choice for people suffering with neurological conditions such as ADHA, depression, and bipolar disorder. In addition, organic coconut oil has also shown signs of being a brain-healthy fat in addition to its many other benefits.

#4: Exercise. Not only is moderate quantities of exercise good for your immune system, cardiovascular system, and even your gut, it is also healthy for your mind as well, according to research conducted at the University of California, Irvine’s Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia.

A report published in the journal Neuroscience states that getting the heart pumping through moderate amounts of walking, jogging, biking, or other activities has an effect on many parts of the brain, but especially on the hippocampus region. Exercise can stimulate the production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the brain which can lead to strengthening and increased production of brain tissue.

Exercise has also been linked to a lower risk of diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and depression. Most importantly, exercise decreases inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to declining brain function in studies by Yale University and others.

#5. Drink Plenty of Water. In addition to a heaDrink Plenty of Waterlthy, whole-foods diet and plenty of exercise, keeping yourself hydrated is key for maintaining a healthy brain.

The body of an average adult is made up of around 65% water. Lack of water has been linked to problems with memory, focus, brain fatigue, and “brain fog,” in addition to headaches, insomnia, and even volatile emotional states.

There have been numerous studies which have also connected dehydration to depression as well since lack of fluids may affect the production of serotonin and dopamine.

How do you know how much water to drink? Many experts recommend this: take your weight in pounds, divide that number in half and that is how much water you should be drinking in ounces every day.

Water quality, of course, is paramount. Be sure your water is filtered properly, especially for chlorine and fluoride, two substances that can wreak havoc on brain health. And be sure to stay away from all water bottled in plastic containers that may contain BPA.

#6: Detox your body of neurotoxins. Aluminum, fluoride, bromide, mold spores, too much iron and copper… the list goes on as to the environmental toxins that exist in our air, water, food, and household products that can effect cognitive function and brain health. Aluminum, in particular, has been connected to the onset of Alzheimer’s.

You can rid your body of these toxins by being proactive on several fronts. Include a regular detoxing protocol as part of your regimen for good body and brain health. Take probiotics and prebiotics to balance gut flora and eliminate the production of internal gut-related toxins which may break through the blood-brain barrier.

Remove any amalgam fillings you may still have in your mouth. Most importantly, begin the process of eliminating neuro-toxins from your environment, such as sources of mold and aluminum. Replacing commercial deodorants and aluminum foils is a great place to start. As is replacing toxic household cleaning supplies and other personal care products  with eco-friendly, and health-promoting options. Meditate

#7: Meditate. Study after study over the last 20 years has confirmed the amazing effect of regular meditation. The most amazing connections between meditation and mental health has been findings by the University of Calgary in Canada and others regarding telomeres.

Telomeres are tiny bits of DNA found at the end of cellular chromosomes which protect genetic information. Shortened telomeres are associated with stress, disease, and depression. Regular meditators, on the other hand, were found to have longer telomeres overall, which is a very good thing!

There are dozens of ways to meditate, which is basically just the act of slowing down and going into a beta or theta brainwave state so that the brain and body has a chance to rest, relax, and heal. Some meditative modalities include present moment awareness, “open focus” meditation, transcendental meditation, deep breathing, visualizing, reciting mantras or affirmations, prayer, walking in nature, focusing on a creative act such as doodling or music-making, slow stretching, and certain kinds of marital arts such as tai chi. Even coloring has been found to have meditative effects!

#8: Keep learning. Keep your brain sharp by using it every day. Do crossword puzzles, play challenging games like Scrabble or Soduku, take up a new language, learn how to play an instrument, or read a book (especially on a new to you topic) instead of turning on the tube. Research has found that flexing the “brain muscle” through focused brain activity stimulates connections between nerve cells, increases neural “plasticity,” and may even lead to the production of new brain cells.

In addition, practice using all of your senses on a regular basis, including sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Doing so will activate different areas of your brain. One of the best (and most fun) ways to do this is to vacation in places you have never been to before and expose yourself to the sights, sounds, and tastes of a whole new culture

#9: Spend time in nature. The Japanese have a practice called Shinrin-yoku, which literally translates to “forest bathing.” According to studies conducted at Chiba University and elsewhere, forest trees emit healing substances called phytocides which can ease anxiety, lower cortisol levels, and promote healthy sleep.

Gardener planting flowersBut what if walking in the forest isn’t your thing? That’s okay, just make a pledge to get your “hands dirty” in the earth at least once a week! A 2007 study published in the journal Neuroscience made a surprising discovery: the common garden soil bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae not only reduces inflammation but also seems to have an effect on serotonin-releasing neurons.

Gardening, yard work or even helping your kids make “mud pies” should do the trick to put you in a “jolly state of mind!”

Another easy way to get at least some of the effects of “forest bathing” is to inhale the aroma of trees oils such as pine, spruce, or eucalyptus essential oil. Place a few drops of essential oil in an essential oil diffuser and recreate the smell of the forest in your home!

And finally, here’s one more tip to keep you on the path towards brain health…

#10: Keep a positive attitude! Researchers have long known what negative thoughts do to the brain. In a nutshell, they narrow focus. This may be a good thing when your life is in danger. Then, an emotion such as fear may help you survive. But keeping a positive, upbeat attitude in general is way more beneficial in the long run.

Ground-breaking research conducted in 2011 and led by “positive psychology” pioneer Barbara Fredrickson (director of the PEP Lab at the University of North Carolina) found that a concept called “broaden and build” relates to the long-term benefits of thinking positive. An open attitude leads to greater skill building, connections with people, and flexibility and strength in all areas of life − both mental and physical. And according to the Heart Math Institute, a flexible mind is also equated with being able to “bounce back” quickly when challenges arise. This is called “resilience” and it is connected to not only brain health, but cardiovascular health and a longer, more fulfilling life in general.

Optimoxx from Epigenetic Labs is a superior detoxing cleanse program that supports a healthy brain and body. It is specifically designed to be extremely effective, while also safe and gentle.  

I copied this article from Epigenetic Labs  I thought it had some great ideas and touched on a lot of things we have talked about in the past.  Thanks for reading and remember it’s never too late to get up and move!  Now it’s a good idea to get outside.

 

February 25

SUGAR – seems so innocent!

Good Saturday morning!  So good to be back with you again.  Hope you are having a great day so far.  Here it is cold, when it was 80° two days ago.  So most of you may be experiencing the same thing, hopefully you are still getting up and moving about. 😊  Remember never sit longer than one hour.  Then get up and walk a bit, you will be surprised how much that helps.

I posted last time about nutrition.  What does nutrition have to do with “getting up and moving” you may ask.  Well let’s delve into that a bit.  Bad nutrition has an affect on all parts of our lives.  I am going to talk about SUGAR today.  Just one simple component of our lives.  One simple part of our diets, but it can cause a lot of issues with our health, making it difficult to live a happy, healthy energetic life.

According to draxe.com  (check out this website, it is chock-full of good health info) most people blame dietary fat on heart disease, which is true about certain Trans fats, however some 2016 research revealed that sugar is really the culprit, and there has been a huge cover up regarding sugar and your health. It states that “researchers unearthed a huge sugar industry scandal, proving that the sugar lobby sponsored phony Harvard research in the 1960s. Turns out the sugar lobby paid Harvard researchers to take the heat off of sugar’s health effects, instead turning the focus on naturally-occurring fats’ supposed role in heart disease.” ( JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(11):1680-1685)  

If that is true then per this study “This faulty “research” concluded there was “no doubt” that the only dietary intervention required to prevent coronary heart disease was to eat less cholesterol and to eat polyunsaturated fat instead of saturated fat. (2)”

That’s a little worrisome to me!  And trust me when I say I know first hand that sugar can be very addictive!  As a typical American we eat up to 22 tsp of added sugar per day.

What exactly does sugar do to your body?  There are so many things I am just going to touch on a few.  Maybe we can study more later too.

1.)  Cardiovascular disease  – draxe.com quotes a 2014 study that found that people who eat 17% to 21% of calories from added sugars have a 38% higher risk of dying from heart disease.

2.)  Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is on the rise in the U.S. And guess what’s largely to blame? Sugar! High-fructose corn syrup hiding out in drinks and processed foods has been called a “weapon of mass destruction.” (5)  Who knew!?

3.)  Leaky Gut – Knowing that the microorganisms that live in the gut actually act similarly to a metabolic “organ,” researchers now believe sugar changes the gut microbiota in a way that increases intestinal permeability, AKA leaky gut symptoms.  I know this one sounds a little weird bUT remember your immune system is in the gut too, we need a healthy gut to have a healthy immune system.

4.)  Diabetes type 2 – Again according to draxe.com a 2013 study published in the journal PLOS ONE found for every 150 calories of sugar a person consumes a day (about the equivalent of a can of soda), they increase their risk of type 2 diabetes by 1.1 percent. This increased risk held true even considering researchers adjusted for the other types of foods people eat (including , meat, oils, cereals, high-fiber foods, oils).

Researchers also found the impact of sugar on diabetes held true regardless of a sedentary lifestyle and alcohol use. (10)

5.)  Cancer – Added sugars increase the risk of esophageal cancer, while added fructose (think high-fructose corn syrup dangers) appeared to increase the risk of cancer in the small intestine. (11)

Other research hints at a connection between high intake of added sugars and colon cancer. This higher risk remained even after adjusting for other colon cancer risk facts like being overweight or obese or having diabetes. (12)

There is only a few studies on sugar & cancers but I feel there needs to be more!

I am going to end here.  There are many articles out there pertaining to how sugar affects the body.  If you are interested in this at all, do a Google search and you will see.

It is hard work but I am here to tell you it can be done.  I have cut most added sugars out of my diet, it is not easy when you get those cravings but you can do this!  For your health.  😊  I have faith in you!

Get out! Get walking! Get moving!  Your health depends on it!  So happy you joined me today.  Thank you!

 

 

February 5

Nutrition: What we eat.

What we eat matters. As much if not more than how active that we are. Simply because it affects everything else that we do.

According to the web, the definition of “nutrition” is the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary to health and growth.  So technically anything you eat could be labeled as “nutrition”  However to be healthy and nutritious is completely different.  We have to take into consideration that what we eat will affect all aspects of our lives.  For instance, our energy, our risk of cancer and other diseases, a big one is diabetes, our fitness levels, our brain function, our depression or lack of.  And so much more.  So I would say that it is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves.

I know that in our harried worlds we really like our convenience.  To cook a meal from scratch is almost unheard of.  Its just too easy to run by somewhere and pick up dinner on the way home from work, school or wherever you have been that day.  Who even thinks about going home to cook a big meal every evening!?  Not me!!  Or it wasn’t until recently.

I have just a month or so ago got a certificate in nutrition.  Now I am not a nutritionist, nor do I have a college degree in nutrition.  I do however have a certificate in nutrition and have done quite a bit of studying on the subject.  And I would like to share just a little of the insight with you.  If you don’t mind.

In her book “Deep Nutrition, Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food” Catherine Shanahan, M.D. says, “The most important single idea you’re going to come away with is that there is an underlying order to our health.  Sickness isn’t random.  We get sick when our genes don’t get something they expect, one too many times.  No matter your age, meeting these genetic expectations will improve your health dramatically.  Of course, this doesn’t all happen overnight.  The longer you continue to provide your body rejuvenating nutrition, the more benefit you will enjoy.

It is essential that you learn to recognize two toxic substances present in our food that are incompatable with normal genetic functions, sugar and vegetable oils.  These are not just toxic to people who have food sensitivities or certain medical conditions like leaky gut or prediabetes.  They’re toxic to every living thing.

Food is like a language, an unbroken information stream that connects every cell in your body to an aspect of the natural world.”

I know its seems confusing but it’s really as simple as putting good food in and getting good health out.

Let’s talk a little about sugar.  We all know that sugar is processed and has little nutritional value and is not good for us.  But let’s talk a little about why.  According to “Deep Nutrition” if you have your fasting blood sugar tested and it is above 89 you may have “prediabetes” a condition in which your cell membranes have become too rigid to take in glucose as fast as they normally could.  Which could eventually lead to full blown diabetes.  What makes cell membranes stiff?  MegaTrans instigate free radical damage, nutrient deficiency and sugar.  So there’s just one reason to cut down on sugars.

I will touch a little on vegetable oils here.  This is just scratching the surface but just so that you will know how really terrible these are for our health.  According to “Deep Nutrition” Dr. Shanahan states that vegetable oil is the lipid extracted from corn, canola, soy, sunflower, cottonseed, safflower, rice, bean and grapeseed.  It does not come from broccoli and is found in almost all ready-made foods. Unfortunately, refining these oils ultimately destroys both healthy PUFAS (polyunsaturated fatty acids) and their complementary antioxidants, converting them into distorted, unhealthy molecules.  So what was once healthy in the seed isn’t healthy in the bottle.

Vegetable oils contain mostly heat sensitive polyunsaturated fats.  When heated these fragile fats turn into toxic compounds including trans fat.  This process distorts the fatty acids in vegetable oil so they can no longer assume the typical five or six sided geometry.  Our enzymes pick up these distorted fatty acids and then can’t let them go which hampers cellular function so profoundly it can kill your sells.  And if you eat enough trans fats, cellular dysfunction will impair so many cells in so many tissues that the cumulative effects will disrupt basic functions (like blood circulation or your body’s ability to fight infection) and eventually kill you.

These are just a few reasons to pay more attention to what we eat on a daily basis. I encourage you to do your own research, read “Deep Nutrition” or at the very least read labels of the things you buy at the grocery store.  Of course if you stick to fresh fruit & vegetables, clean chicken, beef and other meats and avoid all processed foods, that will certainly help in this area.  Plus cooking most of your foods at home using good fats such as olive oil, peanut oil, real butter, coconut oil etc., will go a long way in improving our health.

And of course as always, get up and move.  Keep walking and exercising!!  Keep moving.

 

 

March 5

I have made I back =)

Sorry Everyone!  I have been gone for awhile but I am back now.   My computer has been D-E-D dead!  I have just gotten it fixed and plan to be back to blogging again.  I believe my next blog will be about nutrition.  I am not a nutrition expert, I am in the process of getting certified, and would like to just blog on some easy to make nutrition changes.

Nutrition is far more important than most people think.  I have recently given up sugar because of all the issues a person can have because of sugar!  of course it has not been easy, I will admit that!!  But, I truly believe it was necessary if I want to live a healthy life.

I would like to share my journey with you so that you may be encouraged to eat more healthy.  Especially if you are pre-diabetic or have other health issues.

Of course you already know that eating greens (I know, I know they are no ones favorites) but it is necessary and you can learn to like them.  I have!   You can too!!  I promise.  We can do this together.

So get ready, I will be blogging again soon.  Thanks for listening (reading)!  we will do this exercise/eating thing together!!