Why Neuronutrition is the next big thing and 3 ways you can eat for brain health today.
Sitting is the new smoking, mushroom is the new coffee, and matcha belongs in everything. In the health and wellness world, each new year seems to also come with a new trend.
What is neuro-nutrition?
According to one of the most prominent experts in the field Dr. Lisa Mosconi, author of Brain Food, has focused on studying how genetics, lifestyle, and specifically diet literally shape the brain. She explains that "neuronutrition is how our internal work translates to the external, for instance how we perform, behave, and use our strength, as opposed to 'dieting' which has an external (aesthetic) goal."
Why the Sudden Interest?
With more people experiencing longer lifespans a new interest in maintaining physical and mental health is becoming more popular. The reality is that living a long life, although a beautiful and positive thing, comes with tradeoffs. Aging can also mean addressing new conditions like hearing loss, respiratory problems and what most people fear conditions of the brain such as Alzheimer's.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, between 2000 and 2015, deaths from heart disease have decreased by 11% while deaths from Alzheimer's have increased by 123%
Today 5.7 million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer's and every 65 seconds someone new develops the disease. By 2050, this number of people living with Alzheimer's is projected to rise to nearly 14 million.
The Good News
For the majority of us (by that I mean 99%) there are lifestyle changes that we can adopt early on that have the potential to prevent the development of Alzheimer's and even slow it down for people already suffering from the disease. One of those significant lifestyle factors is our FOOD.
How Have We Seen Food Affect the Brain?
Recent studies have focused on the role nutrition plays in not only building things like muscular or bone strength, but also food affects our mental function. An example can be seen in our findings that omega-3 fatty acids have been found to improve our brain function (McCann and Ames, 2005).
Even a consensus report from the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Research on Psychiatric Treatments has provided general guiding principles for the use of omega-3 fatty acids for the treatment of mood disorders (Freeman et al., 2006).
Moral of this story is we need to all keep up our daily omega-3 supplements. My fav omega-3is the Nested Naturals Omega-3 from algae, just to warn you there is a little "fishy" algae taste but it doesn't stick with you (no "algae burps").
Besides omega-3’s check out these three ways, YOU can eat for your BRAIN HEALTH TODAY!
Finally! 3 Ways You Can Eat for Brain Health Today
1) Drink 8-10 glasses of Hard Water: Yep, you read that right, I am talking al natural unfiltered H20. “Purified” water we buy may be safer to drink than some tap, but often filters out all the minerals like salt, magnesium, and potassium that provides hydration. This means drinking 8 glasses of filtered water can actually be doing, well, nothing.
There are a few things you can do. First, check the quality of your tap water. For example, the tap in New York is fantastic, so I drink that. If you live in an area that does not have the best tap water you can buy a filter for your faucet that gets rid of the bad things like lead but keeps all the right minerals. The last thing you can become more aware of is the quality of any bottled water you buy. For example, Fiji is natural spring water, and you can see the mineral percentages in the back.
2) B6: This major vitamin helps your brain produce essential neurotransmitters like GABA, dopamine, and serotonin.
There is plenty of B6 in garlic, spinach, and cabbage but you can also get an over the counter supplement (I love the B Complex from Amazon Elements).
3) Antioxidants = Anti-Aging: Eat your citrus fruits and berries to get your fill of Vitamin C and E to protect your brain. This is a pretty easy thing to do every day.
Keep up with your antioxidants by doing simple things like eating a colorful salad for lunch which a splash of fresh lemon juice. Throw in a couple of handfuls of spinach in your morning smoothie.
These little things often make a long-term difference.
If you have any questions are requests for me to cover more on this topic let me know!
McCann JC, Ames BN. Is docosahexaenoic acid, an n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid, required for development of normal brain function? An overview of evidence from cognitive and behavioral tests in humans and animals. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;82:281–295.
Mosconi, L. (2018). Brain food: The surprising science of eating for cognitive power. New York: Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House.