As we get older it gets harder to remember things. Even the sharpest of minds can start to experience cognitive decline. However, there are many dietary modifications that you can adopt that have been shown to improve the brain function.
- Consumption of blueberries and strawberries has been shown to reduce brain ageing by up to 2.5 years.
- The herb rosemary, when used in cooking, has been shown to improve memory and enhance the processing speed of the brain.
- Just one week on a plant-based diet can significantly drop blood levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is a toxin associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Dehydration causes brain shrinkage and may not only play a role in cognitive impairment, but also in levels of energy, alertness, and happiness. So try and drink up to 2.5 litres of water per day!
- Nitrate rich vegetables such as rocket, beetroot and rhubarb increase blood flow to the brain and can increase cognitive function by optimising oxygen delivery.
- Reducing glycotoxin intake can prevent brain shrinkage and cognitive decline. Glycotixins are present in foods such as chicken, pork, beef and fish, but can also accumulate if you are a smoker. They act on the brain to suppress an enzyme involved with the removal of plaques and tangles in your DNA. Over time these can accumulate in the brain and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
Actually no. Coffee is fantastic! 2-5 cups per day can help you in many ways:
- Coffee is high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help boost the immune system, improve the arterial function and help the stress response.
- Coffee boosts exercise performance. In endurance events, you can go for longer at a higher intensity before getting tired if you drink coffee prior to competing ion an event.
- Drinking coffee before lifting weights, will enable you to lift more and experience less muscle soreness after.
- Coffee is also great for the liver. You can cut your risk for liver disease in half by drinking two to five cups of unsweetened coffee per day.
Please note that is important to stop drinking coffee by 2pm to ensure that it does not disrupt the body’s natural rhythm and sleep patterns.
Performing strenuous exercise (tennis, squash, lifting weights, spinning etc) causes small tears and micro damage to your muscles. Over the subsequent hours and days your body works to repair this damage. The repair process results in your muscles becoming stronger.
This repair process can be accompanied by muscle soreness. Here are three dietary suggestions for you to try that will assist in your recovery and reduce any soreness in the muscles:
- Protein and amino acids are required to give the body the building blocks it needs to start the repair process. Within 15 minutes of finishing any strenuous exercise, try and enjoy a protein shake or a protein bar.
- Muscle soreness (inflammation) can be reduced by adding good quality anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. These include:
- omega 3 oils
- Reducing the risk of tissue damage during strenuous exercise can be achieved by increasing your intake of the following:
- dark chocolate
Written by Patricia Patterson-Vanegas
Alcohol is the third largest risk factor for ill health in the European Union and Europe has the highest unit per person intake of alcohol in the world*. Medical research has established that binge drinking and long-term drinking negatively affect most organs including the cardio-vascular system, the brain, liver and pancreas. It is also known that excessive alcohol contributes to many serious health conditions and has been shown to burden the immune
system and promote cancer.
Unfortunately, in the western culture, physical reactions such as ‘throwing-up’, headache, general malaise and even temporary loss of consciousness have been normalised as humorous consequences of an excessive intake of alcohol, and not recognised as the body’s urgent attempt to counter intoxication. Alcohol intake can have a damaging effect on the health and wellbeing of individuals and families.
Interestingly, research conducted by Age UK** suggests that middle class people over the age of 50 not only consume greater levels of alcohol but also fail to recognise the harm that increasing alcohol consumption can cause.
* The need for an EU strategy to reduce healthcare costs related to alcohol use (2015), published online by the journal BJM – www.dryoutnow.com/blog
** Harmful Drinking Among Middle-Class, Over-50s: The Hidden Phenomenon, Age UK (2015) published online by the journal BJM Open. www.dryoutnow.com/blog
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