Ask someone how to prevent heart disease, and they might tell you to avoid trans fats and animal products. Liver disease: Moderate alcohol intake. Lung ailments: Breathe clean air, and don’t smoke. But what about your brain? What can you do, right now, to optimize your brain health — and protect your brain from diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia?
What’s the most important organ in your body? Without your heart, your blood wouldn’t flow, and your cells would die. Without your lungs, no oxygen would get to your blood. And without your kidneys, you couldn’t get rid of nitrogenous waste. OK, so they’re all crucial to your survival.
But when it comes to taking care of yourself, there’s one organ that often gets overlooked: your brain. What’s truly ironic is, it’s your brain that’s doing the overlooking.
Just think about it for a moment: Your brain tells your heart how fast and how powerfully to beat. Your brain tells your lungs how often and how deeply to breathe. Your brain tells your kidneys… OK, you get the picture.
And your brain also allows you to read, write, and speak, to form memories, and to experience moods. In short, your brain is the engine of your very identity.
And so, when something goes wrong in the brain, it can be pretty terrifying. Take Alzheimer’s disease, for example.
Alzheimer’s is one of the most feared diseases on the planet — for many sad reasons. Worldwide, nearly 44 million people suffer from it. And in the U.S., 1 in 3 seniors dies with some form of dementia.
Not only is the incidence of Alzheimer’s rising rapidly, but the human costs of the disease can far exceed those for diseases that affect the body but leave the mind intact.
From the disease sufferers themselves, who experience losing their memories and identities slowly and painfully, to the family members who watch their strong and wise elders reduced to husks of themselves, and who often have to step into overwhelming responsibility as caretakers, Alzheimer’s exacts a tragic toll.
While Alzheimer’s may be the most visible brain disease, medical science has now identified over 1,000 other neurological diseases, not even counting the disorders that may produce neurological symptoms like brain fog and headaches.
It would be hard to find anyone who doesn’t agree that a healthy brain is required for a good life, especially as we age. Despite this fact, most people today are eating foods and engaging in lifestyle behaviors that dramatically increase their risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, depression, and many other brain problems.
What’s worse is the groundwork for these issues is often laid decades before the onset of symptoms. Meaning you could be at risk right now and not even know it.
That’s all pretty bleak. But here’s some very good news: Your brain is resilient! And if problems haven’t progressed too far, it can recover and heal when you give it the right support.
Since you can’t change the past, it’s what you do right now that matters most.
Easier said than done, though, right? A 2015 AARP study found nine out of ten people believe brain health is important, but most weren’t aware of how to improve it.
So, do you want to know what you can do for your brain health, right now? Then check out our top seven brain health resources designed to give you the science-backed knowledge you need to protect your brain and help prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s from ever getting a foothold. Even if you’ve eaten poorly and abused your body and mind in the past, here’s what you need to know, and to do, right now to reverse the damage and protect your brain for the rest of your life.
7 Brain Health Resources to Start Exploring Now
It’s becoming increasingly well known that we can prevent most heart attacks, strokes, and type 2 diabetes through diet and lifestyle. And that we can prevent many cancers. It’s not as widely known, though, that we can prevent many diseases of the brain.
We’ve rounded up our best brain health resources for you (including a bonus special report) to show you how to optimize your brain health for the long haul.
You may have heard about antioxidants, but do you know how they can protect your brain? Find out what the key antioxidants are, their benefits for brain (and all around) health, and the most antioxidant-rich foods, herbs, and spices.
Discover the immense amount of research surrounding curcumin (the primary active compound in turmeric) and its brain protective qualities. Plus, you’ll find out what eight other herbs, vitamins, or natural compounds are being studied for Alzheimer’s disease and prevention in this brief but informative article.
Food Revolution Summit speaker, Dr. Neal Barnard, tells you why diet and lifestyle changes are essential for brain health. And he shares the evidence for the specific foods that will increase your risk of Alzheimer’s and which ones can fight against it (and why).
Food and mood go hand in hand. If you’ve ever struggled with anxiety, depression, or even just experienced a “bad mood,” this article can lift your spirits. Discover the nutrients and specific foods to eat in order to boost your mood — and the ones that are worst for your mental and emotional health.
An excerpt from The Alzheimer’s Solution: A Breakthrough Program to Prevent and Reverse the Symptoms of Cognitive Decline at Every Age by Food Revolution Summit speakers and leading edge neurologists, Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, MD. Find out all about the Sherzais’ Alzheimer’s research, including their strategies for preventing and reversing the disease through crucial lifestyle changes.
In this TEDx Talk by neuroscientist, Sara Lazar, you’ll find out the scientifically proven brain health benefits of yoga and meditation. Plus, the results of two different studies Dr. Lazar conducted around meditation and the amazing changes witnessed in the brain as subjects continued their practice over time.
7. Bonus – Special Report: Brain Food: 8 Superfoods Your Brain Will Love
In this special report, previously only available during our Food Revolution Summit, you’ll discover eight different superfoods (including two popular beverages!) that have been scientifically proven to prevent and even reverse brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. It also features a handy checklist to help you remember which foods are best for your brain, so you can put them all to work for you.
2 Recipes to Boost Your Brain Health Right Away
Now, put what you’ve learned to good use and try these recipes featuring some of the most brain-boosting foods out there.
Blueberry Cardamom Chia Seed Pudding from Food52
Eating for your brain never tasted healthier than with this Blueberry Cardamom Chia Seed Pudding from Food52. Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids — vital nutrients for brain function. Plus this recipe also features brain-boosting spices like cinnamon and cardamom and the neuroprotective power of fresh blueberries. Whip it up in the morning for breakfast or give your brain an after-lunch boost and have it for dessert.
Peanut, Pineapple, and Potato Curry from Yup It’s Vegan
Try this Triple P (Peanut, Pineapple, and Potato) Curry from Yup It’s Vegan to protect yourself from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Fresh ginger and turmeric have been shown to fight oxidative stress in the brain, both carrots and red bell peppers contain the antioxidant beta-carotene, and the chickpeas and kale contain essential B-vitamins that also help protect the brain.
Note: You can omit the oil and water saute the veggies if you want to reduce the oil content.
And if you want even more guidance and brain health resources…
Tell us in the comments below:
- What do you do to take care of your brain?
- Did you find these resources helpful?
- What are your favorite brain-boosting foods?
Featured Image: iStock.com/elenabs