Life is sweet at home

Experts say Go Easy on the Wine, Caffeine, Chocolate

Seafood and fish provide beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.

Rats! Just when we thought some fun stuff could boost our older brains, new research suggests wine, caffeine and chocolate aren’t particularly beneficial.

A recent article in the AARP Bulletin highlighted the findings of a new study that looks at the way diet and food choices can affect brain health. So, here’s the scoop.

Not as great as we thought

First of all, the report suggests that it is unclear if red wine or other adult beverages offer any benefits for brain health. The report said, “If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation and only with meals.”

Eat lots of colorful veggies!

Secondly, the same researchers at the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) found little support that drinking coffee or tea is clearly beneficial for brain health. Rats again!

What about that third goodie we hoped was healthy – dark chocolate? Well, yes, the GCBH folks do admit that the high consumption of cocoa flavanols can cut memory loss. However, the problem is that one-little piece a day doesn’t cut it.

Researchers said, “The amount of chocolate you would need to eat to positively impact the brain would be canceled out by the number of calories and sugar you consume.”

So what to do? What to eat?     

Surprise, surprise…the council suggested we eat what we’ve been hearing about for years, keeping in mind that a brain healthy diet is also a heart healthy diet:

  • Plant-based diet rich in green leafy veggies and berries
  • Fish due to their beneficial omega-3 fatty acids

More good stuff for the brain and heart!

Exercise helps our brains and our hearts stay strong!

Besides the above top two things we can eat, here we summarize a longer list of good stuff to eat and do for overall greater health:

  • Stay or get active – Exercise improves brain function.
  • Don’t be a glutton – Use smaller plates to control portion size.
  • Eat one meal a week with fish that is NOT fried.
  • Reduce salt – Nix processed foods. Eat frozen and fresh veggies and fruits.
  • Use vinegar, lemon, herbs and spices to flavor foods.
  • Consider dietary counseling to deal with conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity.
  • Snack on raw, plain, unsalted nuts. But only eat a few – they are high in fat content.
  • Eat a variety of colorful vegetables.
  • Keep away from canned foods with added salt and sugar.
  • Cook at home – you will use less salt and sugar

What are your favorite foods to enhance brain health?