Thursday, December 10, 2015

Diet And Your Brain

Did you know that diet has an effect on your brain?

You may read this and say "Duh" or raise an eyebrow about what I mean.  Here is what I mean ...

Your brain is the engine that runs your life: from your involuntary bodily functions, such as your heartbeat, to moving your muscles and regulating your appetite and your mood, your brain is in charge.  Don't you believe that it needs the very best care?

Enter your diet.  I don't mean your getting-skinny diet.  I mean the way you eat on a regular basis.

Let's take a look at how your diet affects your brain function.

The global epidemic of diabetes is largely a modern-day malady, and our beloved United States is right up there at the top for the country with the worst dietary habits, and up there in incidence of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.  What's the connection?

Your diet - what you eat, how much you eat - is the fuel your body uses for life itself.  Your body includes your brain.  In fact, your brain is probably the single most important organ that sustains your life.  Without a functioning brain, your heart would not beat; your lungs would not inflate; your muscles would not move, and your digestion would not proceed as it's supposed to.  Your brain, therefore, is your God.  It is the giver and sustainer of life.

How do you maintain good brain function? By keeping it healthy, by nurturing it.  One of the ways to nurture your brain and keep it healthy is with the fuel you put in your body.  You know the simple analogy of incompatible gas in your car - your car will simply not work as it's supposed to.  Put the wrong gas in, and your car will sputter, stall, emit fumes, or much worse.  So it is with your brain, except your brain is far more important and complicated a mechanism than your car.  If you habitually consume pizza, ice cream, sugared sodas or flavored lattes from Starbucks, you will affect your brain negatively.  Note, I said habitually.  Nothing says you cannot indulge once in a while, even once a week.  If all week long you engage in moderate exercise, say, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and eating healthfully, including lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, then indulge on the weekends, you would not be harming your body/brain.  But if Starbucks and Pizza Hut are your usual daily hangouts, you are behaving in a manner contrary to your best interests.

By far the best diet is the Mediterranean Diet.  Studies upon studies have been conducted with results pointing solidly to the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.  In fact, a this CNN report even touts the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet in contributing to a "younger" brain! There are just as many reports that speak of possibly reversing or preventing Alzheimer's disease with the Mediterranean Diet.