Posted under: Mind
I can promise a colleague in the hallway to do something when I get back to my office and by the time I get there, I’ve already forgotten what it was. I am beginning to think that.... uhh, well, whatever it was I was thinking... anyhow, let’s not get distracted here... Where were we?
Ok, before we completely lose our minds, let’s go mental here for a moment.
Mind Your Mental
It seems we men, including we midlife men, tend to blow off even the suggestion that we are having some problems in the upper deck that might just need some professional attention. Who, me? Yeah, you! Mental issues are hard to diagnose in the first place, so we can easily rationalize them away. And we’re probably right to do so much of the time.
But let’s face up to some facts. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the US. This disease interferes with our memory and other daily intellectual capabilities. It accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases and involves over five million people in the U.S.
Recent studies suggest that obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, common in middle-age men, are connected to the later development of Alzheimer’s. Lifestyle choices can play a significant role in how good or how poorly our minds work.
Let’s take a look at a couple of dietary choices that might just be able to make a difference in the long haul. These foods would seem to be a plus when it comes to maintaining a good state of mind.
1) Wild Salmon. Soak up some salmon filled with niacin to protect against Alzheimer’s and slowing the development of cognitive decline. The Omega-3’s fatty acid is essential for building brain tissue and increasing the brain’s potential power. Wild salmon is better for its purity and lack of farming additives, well, unless they are farmed salmon. Salmon or the fatty oils fish family (mackerel and sardines included) are some of the best brain foods out there and should be swimming on your plate regularly to do any good.
2) Coffee. Short term memory loss is just one stepping stone into complete and utter memory black out! So to avoid that temporary dip, sip on a cup of coffee to stimulate your senses. The morning coffee is the number one antioxidant in the US diet and can potentially prevent the development of Alzheimer’s by as much as 60%.
Obviously those frothy, flavored sugary drinks are not great memory makers, but that pure black coffee is. It doesn’t stop there with these beans for the brain. The caffeine in coffee can slow the aging process, enhance short term memory and keep you alert for up to 90 minutes all while improving problem solving skills. More is not necessarily better, so keep it under two cups a day.
3) Blueberries. Often referred to as a super-food with its powerful antioxidants and wealth of vitamins, these little berries are great for long-term memory. They help prevent Alzheimer’s as well as Parkinson’s disease and support cognitive processing. Their rich antioxidant skin helps protect the brain from free-radical damage which leads to mental aging.
Although fresh blueberries (the darker the better) are the best, frozen will suffice and can be eaten for snacks or sprinkled over breakfast.
4) Tomatoes. This bright and juicy food is bursting with lycopene, and with these cleansers comes great anti-aging benefits! The strong content of lycopene neutralizes free radicals, which is important to preventing age -related deterioration in mental capacities. This strong antioxidant also assists in maintaining regular cognitive function and helps one age healthily.
Oddly enough the vitamins in tomatoes are better found in cooked tomatoes versus fresh. So for the biggest dose go for sun-dried, canned or in paste form (without salt obviously). The benefits still shine through in spaghetti sauce, so drop some Italian into the meal planner once a week brain building progrm. Maybe this time you won’t forget your date’s name?
5) Eggs. Now eggs are often known for protein and high cholesterol, but rarely are they referred to as brain food? Now I am not advising chugging blended raw eggs like Rocky Balboa and I’m guessing that our training schedule is slightly less vigorous. But, eggs do contain high levels of cholin which is directly related to better memory and brain development.
Fun fact: Women who ate eggs while pregnant had children with great memory and brain functionality - lasting their entire lives. It appears that eggs are not a short term fix for ‘mushy minds’ but a real kick in the right direction. So boil, poach and scramble as these babies with some frequency, but cook them properly. Cooking in ‘bad’ oils or grease would defeat the whole purpose.
6) Wholegrain. I remember my mom always trying to push wheat bread in front of me. The fact that I can remember that is probably because of the whole grain she was feeding me was so contrary to that refined white flour bread I preferred. Oatmeal, whole grain breads, and wheat germ are all overflowing with B6, B12 and folic acid - essential in protecting your memory. They increase blood flow to all organs, including the brain. With good blood flow your concentration can be higher and your thinking is smoother.
Throw some peanut butter on that whole grain toast in the morning and you will be a genius by the end of day. Well, maybe not. But, peanut butter is a strong antioxidant and that’s also a good thing.
The bad news is our brain is aging just like our face, muscles, and joints, but the good news is that I have written all this down so we don’t have to remember it! We simply have to remember where it was written down.
By adjusting our dietary choices, there is great potential to improve our general health as well as our mental health. So let’s keep an eye on our weight, alcohol consumption, and throw in a solid exercise regimen and man we’ll be shakin’ booty for Lord knows how long.