We need both mind and body equally to carry out our daily activities. As we age, we face the challenges of ageing, living, working, struggling to have a fit mind and a body. Therefore, food being the important source of energy, we need to give our undivided attention to what we consume daily. This Mind diet is a routine plan of what we need to consume daily to keep our mind healthy and prevent us from Alzheimer’s, dementia and other age-related illness.
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Blessings and much love to all 💐
Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis, two terms commonly used when it comes to brain health. We, just don’t need to dive so much into Neuroscience to learn what they mean and how we can help ourselves to keep our brain healthy. Brain health is important because as long as our brain is healthy, we keep learning new things and our memory is intact. As ageing progresses, we can prevent ourselves from certain chronic conditions like dementia, Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease by maintaining good brain health.
Neuroplasticity,meaning that our brain is continuously changing through our entire lifetime depending upon our experiences, the environment, habits, behaviour. Neural pathways keep rewiring and dewiring depending upon what is necessary and what is no longer useful. Therefore, being in a positive environment, thinking and feeling positive is all very important.
Neurogenesis meaning formation of new neurons, that is our ability to learn new things and retain in our memory. Previously, it was believed that neurogenesis stopped once we reach our adulthood, that is around the age of 20. Now, researches have shown, that neurogenesis occurs throughout our lifetime.So, we can learn until the day we die. In our brain, the neurons are formed from the neural stem cells and progenitor cells which are in the Hippocampus mainly and also in other regions of the brain. Though every day, new neurons are formed, before, theycould get matured, many of them get pruned. A special protein BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) has been identified which is responsible for promoting the maturation, survival and maintenance of the neurons.
So, how do we facilitate this process of neurogenesis and maintain the level of BDNF? 5 simple ways
1. Exercise: Any exercise which can increase the heart rate mainly aerobic exercise, running, brisk walking.
2.Food: Rich in omega 3 fatty acids like fishes (salmon, tuna, sardines), avocados, chia, hemp seeds and nuts. Other sources which help are turmeric, blueberries, goji berries, lotus roots, algae, green tea, coffee. However, too much caffeine is detrimental to neurogenesis.
3.Emotions:Experiencing positive emotions like joy, excitement, love and feeling good, stimulate Neurogenesis. Such emotional experience can appear by being creative, learning a new skill, going out in Nature, proper sleep, listening to Nature sounds, good music and sex. A positive relationship with partners, peers, relatives is helpful. Being in chronic stress, anger, anxiety are detrimental to neurogenesis.
4.Mind stimulation: Cognitive abilities like reading, learning, memorizing, discussing new ideas, taking up music lessons, problem-solving, all stimulate neurogenesis. Cognitive reserve (resilience against brain damage) can be built up by engaging mind stimulating activities or intellectual work.
5.Meditation: Prayers and meditation can stimulate neurogenesis. Practising mindfulness, compassion, being in silence, stillness all facilitate neurogenesis.
Some lifestyle factors which can decrease neurogenesis are a high intake of carbohydrate, sugar, fried foods, inflammatory foods, chronic caffeine intake, smoking, alcohol, obesity, chronic stress, lack of sleep, negative emotions like sadness, depression, lack of engagement, boring life. Direct trauma to the head can be very detrimental to neurogenesis. Nowadays, even environmental pollution is quite hazardous to brain health.
If you are intending to learn more about lifestyle changes that you can do to improve your brain health, I recommend the book: Neurogenesis diet and lifestyle by Dr Brant Cortright
Hello everyone ! Have a great Friday and weekend too 🙋🏻
Individually, our body is not a single life form. It is a community of 50 -75 trillion cells depending on body size. Each of the cells collectively forms individual tissue, tissues collectively form organs, organs collectively form systems and systems form the human body. Each cell function as an individual unit. It needs food, nutrients, water, air and undergo metabolism, absorb its necessary nutrients and releases toxins as waste. That’s how, fundamentally the cells functions, grow and carry out different bodily functions. Optimally, our body needs 116 essential nutrients to function normally, maintain a proper weight, energy and health, that is the overall wellbeing.
As we age, the cells slowly get tired, slows down metabolism. They are unable to absorb the nutrients and vitamins that we get from food and supplements. The toxins from food, air and water get deposited in the cells. Slowly, the cellular function gets damaged leading to diseases state, fasten ageing and poor health. So, several factors are affecting at the cellular level. The poor quality of food, processed food, food contaminated with pesticides, low quality of vitamins and supplements. Other factors like environmental pollutions, high level of stress daily, lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol, all of them affect greatly at the cellular level, the core of the body.
Therefore, to become healthier and stay healthy, we need to take care of the body at the cellular level. Experts say that NAD+, a coenzyme is associated with the function of Sirtuins, the kind of protein which is responsible for ageing and longevity. NAD+ is the main factor for maintaining the cellular functions ranging from metabolism, energy production, circadian rhythm, excretion/release of toxins and DNA health. As age progresses, Sirtuins activity, NAD+ levels decline in the body. When Sirtuin activity and NAD+ levels decline, not only we age faster, affect the life span, also result in pathogenesis of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases like diabetes.
How to increase and improve the activity of Sirtuins and NAD+ levels?
Calorie restriction: This is not a diet plan. It is just that you started to reduce the intake of the number of calories slowly than your usual or habitual intake. Research shows, that when food is restricted, scarce in the body, the state has a powerful influence in the activity of Sirtuins, SIRT 1. Similarly, in the case of intermittent fasting, the same effect is observed.
Intermittent fasting: This is a pattern of eating. It is having just 2 proper meals a day leaving long hours of fasting between the meals so that you get the maximum benefit out of them.
3.Physical activity: Any form of physical activity.
4.Melatonin, the sleep hormone also influences the activity of Sirtuins.
5. Food which increases polyphenols and omega 3 fatty acids. Research shows that some particular variety of food are responsible to increase the activity of Sirtuins, SIRT1
Quercetin: Found in green vegetables, berries, tea, citrus fruits, apples, onions Resveratrol: Pomegranate, berries, grapes, soybeans. Food like green tea, olive oil, cocoa, omega 3 fatty acids rich fishes (salmon, tuna, sardines) avocados, all influences the activity of Sirtuins, SIRT1.
Chronic diseases contribute to huge healthcare expenses. Regular doctor’s visits, buying the prescription drugs, undergoing procedures, hospital treatments and stay, all of them incur huge expenses.
We know by now that inflammation is the key to all chronic diseases in the body. Chronic diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, lung diseases like COPD and asthma, Crohn disease, arthritis, HIV, Cancers and the list goes on. Not only these, even brain diseases like Alzheimers, dementia, and Parkinson are also related to inflammation in the brain.
The only solutions to this huge health issues are prevention and controlling the chronic conditions. So, how do we do that? Researches have already proved that most chronic conditions are caused by food and unhealthy lifestyle. So, the easiest and efficient way to reach our goal to prevent and control chronic conditions is by switching on to a healthy diet and making lifestyle changes. 80% of our immunity comes from good gut health. So, eating right, removing stress, active physical life, all contribute to a healthy gut. Therefore , the five some ….
1.Food:The problem is that too much information on food flooding the internet, conflicting information, different diet regimens like keto, paleo, vegan, Meditteranean and the list is long. Too many lists of superfood come out daily. So, how do we know what is right for us?
I think following any diet, there is always pros and cons because you eat some and skip something else. Depending on your goal, whether to lose weight or maybe for some chronic conditions like diabetes, your diet is scheduled and designed. Though following a particularly strict diet, do benefit like losing weight in case of a Keto diet. Sometimes, it can lead to unhealthy outcomes. And, following a particular diet seems to be like, you are doing for a temporary phase. But, to have a goal of a healthy life, the food and lifestyle changes has to be permanent and adopt it as a way of life. It has to be a mentality shift. Again, not every type of grain, vegetables, fruits available in every part of the world. Different regions grow different crops according to their climatic conditions. So, the best food is preferably,organic (devoid of pesticides) and locally produce grain, vegetables and fruits so that they are fresh. And locally produce grains, veggies, fruits are usually affordable. Your daily consumption should be a majority, about 70% of plant-based food like greens, veggies, fruits, nuts. About 30% should be whole grain fibres, low fat and protein like eggs, chicken and fish. This is how simple a daily healthy diet plan can be.
2. Exercise:Right from evolution, we, humans are meant to be active. So, being active is essential. Follow your daily routine exercise of at least an hour. Do whatever you like, running, walking, swimming, cycling, gymming., dancing. The workout you enjoy doing. There is no hard and fast rule.
3.Meditation/ Mindfulness: I have already written posts on meditation and it’s benefits. it is important to empty our mind daily, at least for some time.Spend a few minutes in silence every day. If you can, be mindful (being aware ) as much as you can. Being mindful means, paying attention to your thoughts, emotions without being judgemental. Staying mindful, by following your natural breaths, simply just being aware of, at least 20 mins or more is very beneficial. It reduces your stress level.
4. Support: Have always a support system. Loneliness is a major factor in many health issues. People with a good support system can better control chronic conditions. Rely on your spouse, partner, friends or a social support group where you can open up.
5.Sleep: Though ideally recommended in adult as 7-8 hours of sleep. But the fact is, the quality of sleep is more important than the quantity. When you follow sleep hygiene of going to bed and getting up from bed at a routine timing, whatever hours of good sleep, you get is enough.
All these 5 steps can guarantee you for a healthy life for the longest time. Even, if you suffer from a chronic condition, it can be maintained better with a disciplined lifestyle.
Inflammation is a body’s normal immune response to injury, wound or disease to protect, defend, fight and repair against the damage. It is our body’s defence mechanism on the cellular level. When we are young, the body’s immunity is at an optimal level. But as we grow older, though the body’s cell renewal process goes on, the immune system slowly decline if we do not take proper care.
So as we grow older, not only we have to maintain a healthy lifestyle but also consider the anti-inflammatory aspect of living a healthier and disease-free life.
Risk factors of inflammation are chronic stress, anxieties, depression, pain, anger, hurt, fear or most of the negative emotions. Other important risk factors can be unhealthy food habits like bingeing habits, fat (omega 6 fatty acids) rich foods like soy, peanuts, mayonnaise, plant-based oils ( sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, vegetable oil), alcohol, refined sugar. Sedentary habits, with no or very less physical activities, are all pro-inflammatory.
Some more pro-inflammatory factors like processed foods, heavy metals, pollutions, smoking, drugs and disturbed or toxic relationship.
So, how do we incorporate the anti-inflammatory aspects of our lifestyle?
1.Less is more: The more we lead a simple basic life, the better and longer, we can live healthier and happier. Essentially basic life, meaning, eating well, sleeping well, a good amount of physical activity in the daily routine. Keeping away from any negative emotions as much as you can. Staying away from stress and anxieties as much as practically possible. Living a life of Gratitude and contentment are the keys.
2.Wholesome diet: Plant-based food, plenty of vegetables, fruits to have daily, whole fibres are all good. Certain known anti-inflammatory foods like food rich in omega 3 fatty acids ( fishes like salmon, sardines, tuna), avocado, olive oil, whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, dark chocolate, nuts, berries,chia seeds. Spices like ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon all have anti-inflammatory properties.
3.Physical activity: Workouts and gymming are all very good in keeping the body shape and weight at check. But the important part is you should also keep your cortisol level (stress hormone) in balance. It’s always wise to avoid heavy workouts which can shoot up the cortisol level. Because stress hormones are risk factor responsible to contribute to chronic inflammation. Design your workout and physical activity routine plan as the way you are comfortable and as far as you enjoy doing them. Yoga is another practice which has a lot of stretchings as well as help to keep your mind at peace. Don’t forget to meditate daily which gives you the much needed mental peace and solace.
Eating health isn’t complicated or fussy. In fact , it is the easiest option if we make it a way of life, a daily habit.
Its time to erase all our myth about eating healthy.Common myths are eating healthy is expensive, being difficult due to non availability of resources and circumstances at work, travel and so on. But the truth is if we have a will to do so, we can make it easier always: The most common simple ways can be :
1. We should always eat the locally available produce in whichever part of the world we live. Whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits which are locally grown, which are in abundance in your region, fresh and not expensive.
2. The most important component in our body is water which comprises of 60 to 70%. So, it is very essential for our body’s wellbeing. Moreover, drinking water is easily and readily available resource in major parts of the world.. And, we know drinking water is a healthy habit. The more we hydrate ourselves, the more healthy is our brain and body, not to forget the added benefit of glowing skin and complexion. But the problem today is we always opt for aerated water, soda, cola and alcoholic drinks. So in fact unhealthy drinking is expensive. If we carry our water bottle, it’s not just cheap but healthy too.
3. It is not only enough to eat healthy but also to keep a check on the portion of whatever we eat. Not only at home, but in work place or wherever we travel, it is important to eat in moderate portion. Eating in moderate portion is the most essential tip to keep a check on weight.
4. We have read enough, by now, that eating healthy is curbing sugar, excess fat and avoiding processed food. The simple logic behind this is healthy food are preferably raw, in natural form and which are not over cooked and their natural nutrients are restored. So the best option is to carry our home cooked food, fresh veggies, fruits wherever we go. If this is not possible, we need to choose from the best options available at that point of time.
5.The wisest way of shopping healthy is sticking to our grocery list (Buy items which are necessary ). Buy unprocessed , generic brands which are less expensive and healthy. Sometimes, seasonal fresh fruits ,veggies, sea food are expensive. So frozen fruits and veggies are cheaper option. Off course, sea food and meat should be fresh. Grains, pulses can be brought in bulk to save some amount of money.
6.As mentioned earlier, choice of best option of food easily available is not only wise but at times cheaper. Instead of meat ,switching to beans, pulses are better choices. Instead of junk food, gorging some nuts or a fruit whenever hungry is way better. Instead of dining in a restaurant, celebrating at home with home cooked meal is not only cheap but a healthier option.
7.Left overs of food are great option to use our creative cooking skill for the next meal time. So the freezer is our great friend..
8.If you have a yard at home, growing your own veggies is a very wise option. If not, at least have some pots of herbs on your window balcony for ready use.
9.Above all, eating should never be associated with entertainment or pleasure. We eat to live, grow and nourish ourselves. Eating three proper meals a day is more than enough.This is actually the concept of intermittent eating (eating in specific timings).Gorging a fruits or a handful of nuts whenever hungry is just normal craving.
10.Only eating healthy is not enough. Physical activity, exercises, movement of our body are very ,very important to maintain a good health. Lastly, maintaining a calm mind, meditating relaxing are very essential for holistic life.