With regard to the human brain we can provide general advice about how to promote brain health across the lifespan. When we were cavemen and cavewomen we ate one good fat for every bad fat. Today, we eat about 15 bad fats for every good fat. This is important because our brains are composed of about 60% fat and the lipid substance helps to facilitate information processing.
Thinking live a cave person might be a good exercise when thinking about what to eat. We should try and eat plants/vegetables, nuts, beans, fruit, fish, and lean game such as chicken. We should try to reduce processed foods, red meat, trans fatty acids, soda and foods high in sugar. We should strive to eat less than more and use utensils more often as it might help to less consumption of food and a healthier consumption of foods.
It is also important to realize that foods are supposed to be pleasurable and that an occasional piece of cake, pie, ice cream, etc will not cause major damage to the system. This is particularly true when one follows some of the general advice above.
I personally have begun a study of my own diet with increased intake of fruits and vegetables, reduction in processed fats, removal of soda from the diet, and increased fish and lean chicken. It is not uncommon for me to now have fruit in the am and day with a salad (olive oil and vinegar are good for the brain), and a piece of fish or chicken at night. I have been relatively consistent though I fail now and then. I am observing change in body mass and in psychology including energy and mental alertness.
Stay tuned and I will provide you an update in the near future!
It is important to point out that I am not a fan of the winter season. In fact, I dread it and would rather be on a beach somewhere! However, regardless of my personal stuff, it is important to keep our brains active and engaged in the brain health lifestyle regardless of the season.
For some, the winter season does not represent a change in the options available to follow the brain health lifestyle. If you live in a part of the world where the sun continues to shine throughout the year keep your brain health lifestyle active over the 12 months. For those of us who actually see snow our options to venture outside may be limited at times.
Winter can be a time of increased stress and simultaneously a time for creativity and increased family time. Consider the following ideas for brain health this winter:
- Save your pennies and get a family membership to a gym or exercise club. Set up the family schedule for exercising together and use the gym as the snow may keep you inside at times.
- Break out the skis and get some exercise from this sport. Cross country skiing is also a great physical exercise.
- Try to walk in the snow if it is not dangerous.
- Break out the board games and have a family game night. This includes some family fun with Fit Brains brain games.
- Try to have winter as a time for getting your brain health diet started. Have a family member pick a night to help cook a brain health dinner.
- Have some friends and family over once a week.
- Start a family book club in which each family member will read one or two books during the three months of winter.
- Try to reduce driving in dangerous conditions during the winter as this will reduce your stress.
- When the sun does surface, get outside as you will benefit from the Vitamin D.
- Take a day or two and get the family together to make a snowman or go sled riding (wear a helmet).
While the winter can limit our opportunities for brain health, it also offers us a time to be creative and to increase family experiences.
Try the Fit Brains brain games.