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Food & Cuisine

Cleverness not just in the gene, Foods also helps and harm your brain.

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Based on the kind of society we live in, we are used to the idea that we feed our bodies, and that our diet shapes our waistlines. But many of us forget that the same diet also feeds our brains, and that the food we give our brains shapes our thoughts and actions.

Without equivocation, Food shapes our brains just as surely as it builds our bodies. Day after day, the foods we eat are broken down into nutrients, taken into the bloodstream and carried up into the brain. Once there, they replenish depleted storage, activate cellular reactions and become the very fabric of our brains.

The brain is the hungriest organ in the body, consuming more than 20% of your body’s total energy haul. At the same time, our brain cells are irreplaceable.

Unlike the rest of the body, where cells are continuously replaced, the vast majority of brain cells stay with us for our entire lives – which means they are in need of extra care and nourishment.
Next-generation medical imaging and genomic sequencing studies, including work from my lab at the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, have helped us understand that some foods play a neuro-protective role, shielding the brain from harm.

It’s no surprise that, conversely, other foods are harmful for the brain, slowing us down and increasing the risk of cognitive decline.

So, what does this mean for your daily menu in terms of optimising for brain health? It means lots of the following:
Fatty acids
A specific kind of fats called polyunsaturated long-chain fatty acids, such as the famous omega-3s.

Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies and sardines, is the best natural source of the only kind of fat the brain needs throughout a lifetime.

Where fish isn’t an option, flax and chia seeds are good alternatives.

Glucose
A specific kind of carbohydrate called glucose. Glucose is the only energy source for the brain, so it’s crucial that the brain gets enough of it. Foods that are naturally rich in glucose and that at the same time contain enough fibre to stabilise your blood-sugar levels are beetroot, kiwi fruit, whole grains, sweet potatoes, onions and spring onions. Raw honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar are also good sources.

Vitamins and minerals
All sorts of vitamins and minerals, especially those with antioxidant effects such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium – but also iron, copper and zinc. Fruit and vegetables are the best natural source of these: go for berries, oranges, grapefruit and apples, which are sweet but have a low glycemic index. Leafy green or cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kale, dandelion greens), as well as other vegetables such as onions, carrots, tomatoes or squash are also full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and disease-fighting nutrients that are needed for a healthy nervous system. Make every meal a rainbow.

Extra-virgin olive oil
Last but not least, extra-virgin olive oil is a brain-must, as it is loaded with anti-ageing nutrients such as omega-3s and vitamin E. Vitamin E is particularly important to protect ourselves against dementia. Large studies in the US and Europe have found that elderly people who consumed more than 16mg a day of vitamin E had a 67% lower risk of developing dementia compared with those who consumed little to none.
Dementia risk was further reduced by taking vitamin E in combination with vitamin C . Both these vitamins protect brain cells from the harmful effects of toxins and free radicals, while vitamin E has the added benefit of increasing oxygen delivery to the brain.

Now for the no-nos
At the same time, some foods are a big no-no. These include fast food, fried food such as fish and chips, fatty foods such as red meat, pork and high-fat dairy, and, most of all, processed foods: baked goods loaded with trans fats and refined sugar such as cakes, biscuits, crisps, ready meals and frozen pizza, as well as many snacks. Then there are all of the margarines and commercial cheeses, along with other spreadable or “creamy” products. Ditto for processed meats such as salami, bologna and frankfurters. The more of these processed foods you consume on a regular basis, the higher your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Across multiple studies, people who consumed as little as 2g a day of trans fats had twice the risk of those who ate less than 2g. It’s disheartening to discover that most people in those studies ate at least 2g a day, with the majority of participants eating more than double that dose on a regular basis.

Genes aren’t destiny
Beyond thoughts, moods and memory, diet plays a clear and determinant role in brain ageing and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, which affects 46 million people worldwide (and is projected to affect 130 million by the year 2050). When I started working in the field, most people understood Alzheimer’s as the inevitable outcome of bad genes, ageing or both. In 2018, it is clear that genes aren’t destiny, and ageing isn’t a linear path to unavoidable dementia.
Most people don’t realise that less than 1% of the Alzheimer’s population develops the disease due to a genetic mutation. These mutations are very rare and so is their outcome: an early-onset and particularly aggressive form of Alzheimer’s that develops when people are in their 30s, 40s and 50s. But the majority of the population doesn’t carry those mutations, and so the real risk for the rest of us is simply not determined by our genes.
While the blueprints for an individual brain do depend in part on DNA, recent discoveries have led neuroscientists to understand that genes load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger. In fact, there is consensus among scientists that at least one third of all Alzheimer’s cases could be prevented by improving our lifestyle, from ameliorating cardiovascular fitness, to keeping our brains intellectually stimulated and, of course, eating better.

The human brain has evolved over millions of years to absorb specific nutrients and to function on a relatively specific diet. Now our society must also evolve, to attend to what our brains need to be fed. On a personal level, that’s for anyone pursuing a long life and a youthful brain to enjoy it. On a global level, that is millions of people who will have a chance to age gracefully with their mental capacities intact.

Food & Cuisine

12 foods that could improve your Libido (Sex Drive)

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It is almost becoming an established fact that foods that look like body parts can boost sex drive. Dr Vijay Singhal, Sexologist with Delhi based Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute lists out the advantages of foods and fruit that can improve your libido, listing certain items that are particularly beneficial- Walnuts, strawberry, avocados, watermelons and almonds.

However, it must be noted that alcohol is bad for a healthy sex life – it increases the desire but decreases the performance.”

First on the list is Watermelon:

Watermelon
Watermelon improves your erection and increases your libido. They also contain citrulline which releases amino acids and arginine in the body. Arginine is responsible for vascular health.

Avocados
Folic acid and vitamin B6 are both necessary for a healthy sex drive. Folic acid pumps the body with energy, while vitamin B6 stabilises the hormones.

Walnuts
Walnuts improve the quality of sperm. It is known to improve the shape, movement and vitality of the sperm. Include walnuts in your diet to improve fertility.

Eggs
Consume eggs for healthy erection. Eggs contain amino acid L-arginine that can improve erectile dysfunction.

Peaches
Vitamin C present in peaches improves sperm count and the quality of the sperm. Peaches contain high levels of vitamin C that is great for reducing infertility.

Strawberries and raspberries
The seeds of these fruits are loaded with zinc which is essential for sex for both, men and women. If women have high levels of zinc their bodies find it easier to prepare for sex. In men, zinc controls the testosterone level which is responsible for producing sperm. It is important that men load up on zinc as their zinc levels reduces during intercourse.

Almonds
Almonds contain arginine which improves circulation and relaxes blood vessels. This amino acid found in almonds helps you maintain an erection.

Chocolate
Dark chocolate releases serotonin and endorphins that improves your mood. It doesn’t improve libido but you will not be a grouch.

Coffee

Coffee is a stimulant, hence spikes your sex drive. Coffee can stimulate the brain to heighten arousal.

Saffron

Saffron is a natural aphrodisiac and should be consumed to improve your sex drive and your performance in bed. Saffron can also boost stamina and energy.

Steak
Steak is a great ingredient to boost your sex drive–it contains zinc, vitamin B, iron and protein. These compounds are essential for both men and women as they help improve the libido.

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Food & Cuisine

Avoid these foods when trying to reduce fat.

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Dear Anttention Media reader. It’s no longer news that the foods you eat can have a major effect on your weight. With this at the back of our minds, we see the struggle in recent times by many to reduce their general weight or weight is specific areas of their body. This article is one written by a good friend of the house on what you need to avoid when trying to loose weight.

Written by Hrefna Palsdottir, MS

Some foods, like full-fat yogurt, coconut oil and eggs, help with weight loss.

Other foods, especially processed and refined products, can make you gain weight.

Here are 11 foods to avoid when you’re trying to lose weight.

 
1. French Fries and Potato Chips

Whole potatoes are healthy and filling, but french fries and potato chips are not. They are very high in calories, and it’s easy to eat way too many of them.

In observational studies, consuming French fries and potato chips has been linked to weight gain.

One study even found that potato chips may contribute to more weight gain per serving than any other food.

What’s more, baked, roasted or fried potatoes may contain cancer-causing substances called acrylamides. Therefore, it’s best to eat plain, boiled potatoes.

 
2. Sugary Drinks

Sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, are one of the unhealthiest foods on the planet.

They are strongly associated with weight gain and can have disastrous health effects when consumed in excess.

Even though sugary drinks contain a lot of calories, your brain doesn’t register them like solid food.

Liquid sugar calories don’t make you feel full, and you won’t eat less food to compensate. Instead, you end up adding these calories on top of your normal intake.

If you are serious about losing weight, consider giving up sugary drinks completely.

 
3. White Bread

White bread is highly refined and often contains a lot of added sugar.

It is high on the glycemic index and can spike your blood sugar levels.

One study of 9,267 people found that eating two slices (120 grams) of white bread per day was linked to a 40% greater risk of weight gain and obesity.

Fortunately, there are many healthy alternatives to conventional wheat bread. One is Ezekiel bread, which is probably the healthiest bread on the market.

However, keep in mind that all wheat breads do contain gluten. Some other options include oopsie bread, cornbread and almond flour bread.

 
4. Candy Bars

Candy bars are extremely unhealthy. They pack a lot of added sugar, added oils and refined flour into a small package.

Candy bars are high in calories and low in nutrients. An average-sized candy bar covered in chocolate can contain around 200–300 calories, and extra-large bars may contain even more.

Unfortunately, you can find candy bars everywhere. They are even strategically placed in stores in order to tempt consumers into buying them impulsively.

If you are craving a snack, eat a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts instead.

 
5. Most Fruit Juices

Most fruit juices you find at the supermarket have very little in common with whole fruit.

Fruit juices are highly processed and loaded with sugar.

In fact, they can contain just as much sugar and calories as soda, if not more.

Also, fruit juice usually has no fiber and doesn’t require chewing.

This means that a glass of orange juice won’t have the same effects on fullness as an orange, making it easy to consume large quantities in a short amount of time.

Stay away from fruit juice and eat whole fruit instead.

 
6. Pastries, Cookies and Cakes

Pastries, cookies and cakes are packed with unhealthy ingredients like added sugar and refined flour.

They may also contain artificial trans fats, which are very harmful and linked to many diseases.

Pastries, cookies and cakes are not very satisfying, and you will likely become hungry very quickly after eating these high-calorie, low-nutrient foods.

If you’re craving something sweet, reach for a piece of dark chocolate instead.

7. Some Types of Alcohol (Especially Beer)

Alcohol provides more calories than carbs and protein, or about 7 calories per gram.

However, the evidence for alcohol and weight gain is not clear.

Drinking alcohol in moderation seems to be fine and is actually linked to reduced weight gain. Heavy drinking, on the other hand, is associated with increased weight gain.

The type of alcohol also matters. Beer can cause weight gain, but drinking wine in moderation may actually be beneficial.

 

8. Ice Cream

Ice cream is incredibly delicious, but very unhealthy. It is high in calories, and most types are loaded with sugar.

A small portion of ice cream is fine every now and then, but the problem is that it’s very easy to consume massive amounts in one sitting.

Consider making your own ice cream, using less sugar and healthier ingredients like full-fat yogurt and fruit.

Also, serve yourself a small portion and put the ice cream away so that you won’t end up eating too much.

 

9. Pizza

Pizza is a very popular fast food. However, commercially made pizzas also happen to be very unhealthy.

They’re extremely high in calories and often contain unhealthy ingredients like highly refined flour and processed meat.

If you want to enjoy a slice of pizza, try making one at home using healthier ingredients. Homemade pizza sauce is also healthier, since supermarket varieties can contain lots of sugar.

Another option is to look for a pizza place that makes healthier pizzas.

 

10. High-Calorie Coffee Drinks

Coffee contains several biologically active substances, most importantly caffeine.

These chemicals can boost your metabolism and increase fat burning, at least in the short term.

However, the negative effects of adding unhealthy ingredients like artificial cream and sugar outweigh these positive effects.

High-calorie coffee drinks are actually no better than soda. They’re loaded with empty calories that can equal a whole meal.

If you like coffee, it’s best to stick to plain, black coffee when trying to lose weight. Adding a little cream or milk is fine too. Just avoid adding sugar, high-calorie creamers and other unhealthy ingredients.

 

11. Foods High in Added Sugar

Added sugar is probably the worst thing in the modern diet. Excess amounts have been linked to some of the most serious diseases in the world today.

Foods high in added sugar usually provide tons of empty calories, but are not very filling.

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