How To Promote Healthy Brain Aging
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How to Promote Healthy Brain Aging

One of the main reasons why our brain slowly deteriorates with age is oxidative stress. We can’t really prevent oxidative damage to our bodies. At least as long as we breathe oxygen that is.

When we breathe, our bodies inhibit oxygen from the air which is used in oxidation processes in our molecules. Also oxygen is needed to produce chemical reactions in our bodies to process food. On the other hand, it causes toxic effects with the creation of free radicals that damage various parts of the cell, like proteins, lipids and even DNA! I’m sure you’ve seen what oxidation does to metals, that’s similar to what happens to us. We slowly “corrode”. This very much translates to brain damage too. Studies have shown that our brain in particular, is highly vulnerable to oxidative damage, because it consumes approximately 20% of the body’s total oxygen! To make it even worse, brain has even less antioxidant activity relative to other tissue. This may lead to substantial cognitive impairments in elderly people.

Basically oxidation enables life but also slowly kills us. A paradoxical thing isn’t it? So what can you do to battle this effect? How can you promote healthy brain aging?

The Answer is Antioxidants

From the nutritional aspect, antioxidants represent the most promising answer to brain aging. An antioxidant rich diet leads to learning and memory improvements. If we add cognitive exercises to the equation we can further enhance our brain power and decrease brain aging substantially!

It also is worth mentioning that antioxidants are extremely effective at battling the risks of neurodegenerative diseases (like Alzheimer’s). But what are they?

Antioxidants are widely used in dietary supplements. They inhibit the oxidation of molecules which in turn means less free radicals to damage your cells. Vitamins are a great antioxidants, such as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. It is relatively easy to find foods rich with antioxidants, the harder part is the correct rationing especially for those more fond of meaty diets.

The Most powerful antioxidant foods are:

  • Small red beans

Excellent source of antioxidants, a so called flavonoid-rich food (nature’s dye). Serve it as a side dish!

  • Blueberries

Contains a lot of vitamin C (12%), it was researched that blueberries reduce brain damage in stroke victims. Also they will lower cholesterol levels in your blood. Raw ones are the ones you should get.

  • Red Kidney Beans

Commonly used in “chili con carne” dishes. Bear in mind that they have to be properly boiled (around 10 minutes) or else they will do more harm than good. They help manage diabetes and high blood pressure. You might be a bit gaseous but it’s worth it!

  • Cranberries

Very high with antioxidants. They are also good for the heart and cancer prevention.

  • Artichokes

High levels of vitamin C and magnesium. Reported to have one of the highest amounts of antioxidants for vegetables. They also reduce cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease.

  • Prune

A good source of fiber and antioxidants. Best eaten raw.

  • Raspberries

Contain a lot of polyphenol antioxidants to battle cardiovascular disease, cancer and aging. Eat them raw.

  • Apples

Probably the most popular fruit on the planet. There is a reason for “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” proverb - it contains a fair amount of vitamin C and a countless others. The most antioxidant rich is the peel. it is also a source of various phytochemicals. Eat them raw for maximum benefit.

  • Garlic

Known for its many uses in culinary and medicinal purposes (vampires excluded! :-) ). A veggie, whose medicinal value is inversely proportional with the smell it produces when ingested, is commonly used as a flavoring in various dishes. Garlic is also used for prevention of lung, prostate, breast, stomach, rectal, and colon cancer. Moreover, researchers at Ankara university have concluded after a study that garlic improves blood lipid profile, strengthens blood antioxidant potential, and causes significant reductions in blood pressure.

Bottom line is, it’s too beneficial to be left out of your diet!

If we draw the line, add a lot of beans, raisins, berries, apples and prunes to your diet. Always remember to eat foods raw (except beans). As soon as you cook them they lose a bit of initial value. Add a mental exercises to the equation and you have yourself a serious anti brain aging program! You can check these and more interesting topics about healthy brain aging in my blog - RefreshedBrain.

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