BBQ’s and Brain Food – Choose Healthy Summer Picnics

BBQ’s and Brain Food – Choose Healthy Summer Picnics June 30, 2020Leave a comment

Last post we talked about the relationship between chronic pain and our brain health.

Today let’s examine some delicious, fresh and in season foods that benefit our brains.

Maybe even re-think our summer picnics and go back to planning “old fashioned” picnics. When I was a child, we ate what was in season.

I find that the stronger my mind body connection becomes, the more I realize that my body wants more fruit, summer squashes and greens in the summer, and more potatoes, carrots and turnips during winter.

Strawberries and blueberries are plentiful in summer and they are jam packed (pun intended) full of several different Flavonoids, the natural plant pigments that give berries their brilliant colors, and improve memory.

In a 2012 study published in Annals of Neurology, researchers at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that women who consumed two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week delayed memory decline by up to two-and-a-half years.

Wild blueberries are my favorite and they’re available year-round in the frozen foods section of your market. Tests on adults using wild blueberry juice found improved cognition, especially memory, word recognition, and learning abilities, in those who consumed blueberry juice. While this was a small study, and more testing is being done, there is no harm in making blueberries a part of your daily diet! The next time you’re looking for something different to serve for Sunday brunch, try serving bowls berries, with or without nuts, and a cup of yogurt. I’ll bet your family will eat whatever you make, and this is much healthier for you and them than bagels and cream cheese!

Arugula and other leafy greens like spinach and swiss chard are also summer favorites of mine which have nutrients that our brains need. One reason for this is the isothiocyanate content—a naturally occurring plant compound with anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory qualities. One study found “Isothiocyanates (ITCs) could be regarded as a promising source of alternative medicine for the prevention and/or treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.” They are known to activate the Nrf2/ARE pathway that fights oxidative-stress induced damaged to neuronal cells. Arugula also happens to be rich in vitamins K, A, folate, and beta-carotene. That’s what I like, multiple benefits! Wow, a “super power” in a vegetable! Try making a salad with a few different kinds of greens, add some avocados, nuts or pumpkin seeds, and your favorite home-made dressing for a super brain power food!

Avocados are one of my favorites all year round! You’ve most likely heard me talk in previous posts about their former bad rep, because of a high fat content, but how this tasty treat is actually a “good fat.” Not only are they good for us, but, in fact, essential for our brain health! Avocados are chock full of monosaturated fats, the good fat, which helps keep sugar levels steady, as well as improving brain health! Since avocados also contain vitamin K and folate, avocados help prevent blood clots in the brain (protecting against stroke) as well as helping to improve cognitive function, especially memory and concentration. They’re also rich in vitamins B and C, which our bodies don’t store, and which also help boost our immune system, so eating foods that contain these vitamins every day is essential for optimal health.

Happy Healthy Brains can be ours if we know how to treat them well, and nourishment is one of the best ways to do that.

Enjoy your Holiday!

Best of Health,

Kathi

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