Tag Archives: alzheimer’s

RECIPE: Blueberry Banana Tart (Brain Health Winner!)

 

blueberry-banana

A healthy, vegan, gluten-free dessert that’s jam packed with brain nutrients…and is delicious?  It exists! Let us present you the Blueberry Banana Tart recipe!

How the ingredients from this recipe will improve your brain health:

  • Blueberries: Protect the brain from oxidative stress, reduce the effects of age-related brain diseases, improves learning capacity and motor skills, boost memory & concentration, stimulate the flow of blood & oxygen to the brain. Super brain food!
  • Bananas: Provide energy & electrolytes for the brain, improve cognitive function, protect the brain from oxidative damage, and are a great mood booster & balancer.
  • Almonds: Help prevent age-related cognitive decline, improve memory & learning, increase attention & awareness.
  • Cinnamon: Boosts the activity of the brain, removes nervous tension & memory loss, decreases risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Flaxseed: Rich in brain-healthy fats, build and protect neurons, regulate the environment of the brain, improve cognitive function.

Blueberry Banana Tart

Recipe from Roxana’s Home Baking

Serves: One 11-inch round pan

What you Need:

  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp butter or butter substitute
  • dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup organic sugar
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal (grounded up flaxseed)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 10-12 oz fresh blueberries
  • 2 small bananas
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar

Putting it all Together:

  1. Mix the flaxseed meal with water in a bowl. Set it aside and wait for it to gel up.
  2. Ground the almonds in a food processor then add flour, cinnamon, salt, sugar and butter then pulse for a few more seconds.
  3. Add the flaxseed meal mixture and pulse until everything comes together in a dough-like mixture.
  4. Wrap the dough mixture in plastic foil and place it in the fridge for about half an hour.
  5. When it is chilled, grease your pan and roll the dough out into the pan as the crust.
  6. Cover the pan with plastic foil and chill in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
  8. Take the pan out and place the blueberries and slices of bananas on top of the crust and sprinkle the whole thing with a little raw sugar.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, then let it cool before slicing.

Leave a comment below & let us know how the recipe worked out for you & suggest your own variation!  Check out the Fit Brains collection of recipes, we add new brain healthy recipes every week so visit often!

Retirement and Dementia

Dr. Paul Nussbaum, the Chief Scientific Officer at Fit Brains, shares his valuable thoughts on the topics of Retirement and Dementia:

It’s ironic how people work their whole lives toward the goal of retirement but when it does come, many suffer anxiety and depression towards the idea of having nothing to think about or do.

For many years I have spoken and written about my resistance to “retirement” the way the policy and concept is positioned and treated in the United States. It is true that there may have been good intent with the idea of retirement, but my guess is that nobody considered the health implications for the brain. This becomes increasingly important when we know that a passive, isolated, lonely, and segregated brain will atrophy when we stop working.

Retirement certainly does not have to be a time of passivity. Indeed, many people at all ages retire to a different and even busier life than when they were employed. However, a recent study of nearly a half-million people by the French government’s health research agency found that people who delay retirement have less risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.

It is believed work is related to physical activity, socialization, mental stimulation, all things known to be good for the brain and three of the five major pillars of Dr. Nussbaum’s Brain Health Lifestyle ® (see www.paulnussbaum.com)For each additional year of work, the risk of getting dementia is reduced by 3.2% according to the study.

The major finding is supportive of the “use it or lose it” theory and I will simply add to that by saying you should “use it in new and complex ways or lose it.”  The answer is not to delay retirement to have a healthy mind and fulfilling life, it is the importance of keeping your mind and body active even after retirement.  Keep a personally relevant reason for getting up each morning, and feel good about your daily contributions to those around you.

Strive to be relevant, useful, healthy, and active every day in your life.  For the days that aren’t as busy as others, you can still keep your mind active and stimulated with the Fit Brains Trainer app!

Top 10 Brain Foods

You are what you eat” – that’s a saying we always hear!  However, most people think about how food affects the body, but not the brain.  The brain needs proper nutrients just like the rest of your body.  It actually needs more energy to operate properly than other organs!

Here are 10 brain foods you can incorporate into your daily diet to maintain a healthy brain:

 

1. Salmon - Improves brain tissue development, fights cognitive decline.
2. Blueberries - Improve memory, reduce stress, reduce age-related declines in motor function and coordination.
3. Avocados - Increase blood flow and reduce blood pressure to maintain effective mind functioning.
4. Flax Seeds - Build and protect neurons, aid the processing of sensory information.
5. Coffee (in moderation) - Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia…and of course, gives you a brain energy boost!
6. Nuts - Improve memory and mental clarity, fight insomnia.
7. Whole Grains - Promote cardiovascular health, which improves circulation flow to the brain.
8. Tomatoes - Eliminate free radicals in your body, prevent age-related cognitive diseases.
9. Eggs - Provides energy for your brain, improves memory.
10. Dark Chocolate (in moderation) - Increases focus and concentration, improves your mood!

 

What foods do you eat to keep your mind active & healthy?  Leave a comment and let us know!

Is it Alzheimer’s or just normal aging?

I am frequently asked what the difference is between memory changes associated with normal aging and that related to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). First, the memory changes associated with normal aging are not a disease. The typical pattern of memory change with advanced age is a deficit in retrieval. A healthy older brain can encode information because the hippocampus is relatively healthy. This permits new information to be encoded. The older adult has some difficulty retrieving that new information, but with cues and prompts they retrieve the information as well as those in their thirties.

In contrast, a brain with AD has a damaged hippocampus that prevents new information from being encoded. This means that new learning does not take place and that cures and prompts do not help because the information is not there to be prompted.

In general, a healthy older adult encodes new information, but needs some help in retrieving what has been encoded. A brain with AD does not encode new information and therefore cues and prompts will not help with retrieval.

Fore more information about Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) on the rise

The Alzheimer’s Association just released a report indicating an estimated 5.1 million Americans over age 65 now have AD. The cases of this progressive dementia are expected to rise to 7.7 million by 2030 and to an even more overwhelming 11-16 million by 2050. This is of course presuming a medical breakthrough for stopping the disease does not occur by then.

Health care costs for those suffering AD and other forms of dementia are nearly three times higher than costs for older adults not affected with dementia. Nearly every 70 seconds someone new in the US develops AD which destroys a person’s cognitive and functional abilities.

At present, nearly 2.7 million Americans over age 85 have the disease. However, it is estimated that with the first wave of baby boomers reaching 85 in 2031 3.5 million will have AD. It is presently the sixth leading cause of death for citizens of the US and the fifth leading cause in those over age 85. Indeed, death attributed to AD has increased by 47% between 2000 and 2006.

This is an enormous social issue as we must secure more funding for the treatment and care of those with AD. Lifestyle factors must be taken more seriously and financial and other incentives should be used to promote proactive brain health lifestyles. At present, the United States is not prepared to manage the disease given the demographic shift.

..more about Brain Nutrition/Lifestyle

Depression and the Brain

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found people with a high family risk of developing depression had less matter on the right side of their brains. The finding was similar to that found in brains with Alzheimer’s disease according to the researchers.

Brain scans revealed a 28% thinning in the right cortex in people who had a family history of depression compared with people who did not. Findings were based on scans of 131 people aged 6 to 54 with and without a family history of depression.

The thinning on the right side of the brain was only related to a family predisposition to depression. People who were actually depressed also had thinning on the left side of the cortex.

The authors suggest that having a thinner cortex may increase the risk of depression by disrupting a person’s ability to decode and recall social and emotional cues from other people.  Subjects who had a thinner right cortex did less well on tests of memory and attention.

Findings suggest that a thinning right cortex relates to a predisposition to depression and to cognitive impairment.

Write and Make Sure you Pack in the Ideas

You probably don’t think about a diary as evidence for how healthy your brain might be. This is especially true if the diary is kept when one is in his or her teens. Interestingly, however, it turns out that the type of writing we do in our teens or early life may actually predict neuropathologic markers in our brains many decades later!

The Nun Study (see David Snowden) reported that young women prior to taking their vows to become nuns kept diaries. The content of these diaries were rated for grammar complexity and idea density defined as the number of ideas in each sentence. Results indicated that the number of ideas in each sentence at the age of 22 or so correlated with the number of neurofibrillary tangles (marker of Alzheimer’s disease) in the brain at autopsy some 50 or 60 years later.

This is another study in a long line of research indicating early life environments are critical to shaping our brains for health well into late life