Been thinking about brain health lately…
We make decisions every day about how to move and what to eat based mostly on what we believe our bodies need to function optimally and attain our health goals. But our brain is the Driver of our biological vehicle and must also be considered when choosing foods, exercise and stimulants that work towards optimal health. There are foods (and other practices like yoga and meditation that we’ll talk about later) that we can be taking advantage of to help improve brain function and fight degenerative processes in the brain.
Contrary to what my primary school teachers taught me – bless ’em, neurons are capable of forming new connections, and in certain areas of the brain, they can also multiply and increase in number! If this translates to increased alertness, clarity, faster reaction time and improved mood then YES – I want to be eating for my brain every day!
Think about every single choice you make in a day. How does your mental clarity and mood affect those choices?
Good decision making in every domain of your life is guided and enhanced by healthy cognition.
Keep the driver happy and the vehicle will do as it’s supposed to!
There is no doubt that India is a melting pot for some serious mind-enhancing practices like yoga and meditation. But there are hidden gems stirred through every simmering pot of curry that do more for you than aromatically tantalise. Turmeric is one such spice that offers exceptional health benefits and that we westerners can easily incorporate more of into our diets.
Why is it so good?
Curcumin, the active ingredient in Turmeric has been proven to:
– Inhibit amyloid pathology (a type of degenerative brain plaque found in Alzheimer’s disease)
– Protect against oxidative stress
– Reduce inflammation
– Neuroprotective, promoting neurogenesis and neuroplasticity
– Improve the functioning of neurotrasmitter systems
Turmeric also contains a wide range of antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also loaded with many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc (Journal of American Chemical Society).
If you’re like me and are now madly trying to turmeric-ify all your meals (hot tip: doesn’t get along great with coffee…) here is a quick little fix that is more than palatable.
What you need:
1 cup kefir (could use raw milk/coconut milk)
1/2 – 1 frozen banana
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
*Black pepper (optional)
What you do:
Blend til smooth
(It’s thought that the active compounds in turmeric are best absorbed when consumed with fat and black pepper. By adding a little black pepper (gives a nice kick!) this will potentiate the curcumin with the beautiful fats in the kefir – enjoy! )