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Boost Your Brain Power With These Two Healthy Food Habits

Posted by Mike Schwartz on May 17, 2019
smoothie bowl

Food For Thought: Boost Your Brain Power With These Two Healthy Food Habits

 

I know what you’re thinking. “Sure thing, dude. I’ll just start eating salad for breakfast and I’ll magically get smarter… Sure thing…”

 

Yeah, that’s basically what I’m saying.

 

I know it sounds insane. There’s a ton of whacky info out there and it might seem overwhelming to even start living a healthy lifestyle if you’re not keen on cooking. I’d like you to consider my expertise in nutrition, coupled with quality, research-based studies finds that a healthy diet contributes to much more than just a nice 6-pack and buns of steel. Those are cool byproducts of eating well but here are two more nutritional tips I’ve picked up and would like to share with you to increase your creativity, performance and general smarts.

 

Here we go!

 

It all starts in the kitchen!

 

Eat Your Greens!

Mama always told you to finish that broccoli and let me tell you, she was on to something. A study conducted at Chicago Rush University’s Medical Centre found people who ate 1-2 servings of green leafy vegetables every day had fewer memory problems and cognitive decline compared to those that rarely ate leafy vegetables.

 

You Mean I Gotta Eat Plants and Stuff?

Heck ya I do. Here’s why: Leafy greens are neuro-protective. That means they’re like security; serving and protecting healthy memory and giving us the ability to learn. Super important stuff, right? Now, this is contingent on a minimum of 2 servings per day. So you gotta make it a daily ritual. This is what I’d recommend: get it out of the way first thing in the morning. Add 2 cups of chopped spinach to a pan with some coconut oil and other veggies like onions, garlic and peppers and lightly sauté up a stir fry to pair with some eggs or tofu. Omnomnom!

 

Eat Your Fats!

There’s still this weird phenomena going around some circles that tells us fat makes people unhealthy. Incorrect. Excess sugar, processed foods, and a sedentary lifestyle make people unhealthy. Fat is an incredibly valuable part of our diet. We absolutely need it. There’s a few different types of fat and one in particular, Omega-3s are a foundational part of healthy nutrition.

 

YO-Megas?

Omega 3s are one of the critical components of the fatty membranes that make up the neurons in the brain. Omega-3s are super important because they get across the Blood-Brain Barrier. This is a term used to describe which nutrients can actually get in to the brain and help it build and create and be awesome for you! A Landmark Study of 6,000 people published in the Archives of Neurology found that people with low quantities of Omega 3s had a 70% greater risk of developing Alzheimers. Those who ate more than 2 grams/day were unlikely to develop a degenerative brain disease. Powerful nutrient, wouldn’t you say?

 

Here’s how to get more of the goods…

 

Seafood lovers rejoice!

The Journal of Neurology published a study back in 2016 with some cool stats on the effects of seafood. They found that older people that eat one seafood meal per week performed better at cognitive skills tests than people who ate less than one seafood meal per week. You know what that means? Get your sushi on!

Increase your intake of fatty fish like mackerel and salmon (which is also high in Astaxanthin, a pigment that ensures omegas don’t go rancid and may contribute to better blood flow in humans). It’s really easy to eat like this without spending a fortune. You can whip up a healthy rice bowl with veggies and anti-inflammatories like ginger and turmeric for flavour, no problem. Then you just add some fresh salmon hot out of the oven. Or if budget is a thing, mix in some canned mackerel to the rice bowl.

For those of us that don’t eat fish, there are healthy, plant-based alternatives that are high in Omega-3s too. These include walnuts, chia, flax, and egg yolks, they just don’t have the same effectiveness as fish oils (also known as DHA and EPA). Plant based sources convert ALA into DHA and EPA like animal sources but up to 70% is lost in the conversion, so it’s just not as effective as eating fish to get your Omega-3s on.

 

To Close

I gotta say one thing; these are just general guidelines. Everybody and every body is different (that’s why you should be cautious when taking up a new diet/meal plan/workout from anyone who is not a certified professional, but we’ll save that stuff for another post…).

While I’m a Certified Nutrition Coach, I am not a naturopath or medical doctor and my scope of practice does not include nutrition for medical treatments or anything crazy like that. These guidelines are meant to be taken for general education on living a healthier, happier life. Please use common sense, eat sensibly and within moderation. Too much of a good thing is a thing, remember. Definitely reach out to either myself or your trusted health practitioner if you have any questions regarding your health and wellness.

That said, I hope you got some value from this and I look forward to hearing how you’ve implemented it into your daily practice. If you’re interested in learning more about how to improve your nutrition, please head over to my website www.therockdr.com and take the Lifestyle Check Up. That will help me build a plan of action for you to live your life to the fullest, with creativity and performance in mind and the ultimate goal of living a healthy, happy life. Remember, it’s all about progress over perfection in an effort to be just 1% better each day.

In good health and happiness,

Mike Schwartz

Ba. P.Sci & MGSO, CHEK HLC, PN1, CFP-PTS, DTS-AST, Keiser Spin

 

For additional health & wellness resources, Unison provides nutritional advice through our Counselling & Health Solutions. Register with Unison, then call 1-855-9UNISON to receive guidance. We also publish weekly blogs every Sunday to give you the resources you need to put your health first. Keep an eye on our blog every Sunday to join the #SelfCareSunday movement.

 

About the Author 

Mike Schwartz is a Certified CHEK Practitioner and Nutrition Coach and the author of The Musician’s Guide To Surviving The Rock Star Lifestyle. With over 12 years as a fitness pro and as a touring musician himself, he knows the battles that come with the demands of the lifestyle first hand. It’s his mission to provide health and wellness solutions to the music community. Mike is currently piloting a global study, examining the relationship between healthy eating habits and active lifestyle and mental well-being. Learn more at www.therockdr.com

References  

Putting a Fork in Cognitive Decline

Office of Dietary Supplements - Omega-3 Fatty Acids

AAN

Stave off cognitive decline with seafood: Study finds that eating seafood once a week may slow memory loss

https://open.spotify.com/episode/4f3YMhmSYJqRkFJiZno6bT?si=1YKeH-L5Riif6WPYExvScQ