Feed Your Brain, Heart and Increase Your Oxygen with Smart Foods
Some edibles are especially good at protecting the brain's delicate nerve cells and blood vessels from damage. Most of them squelch free radicals, the renegade oxygen molecules spun off as the brain goes about the business of the mind. Most of the foods that are smartest for the brain are also good for the heart because both rely on a steady oxygen supply. The risks for cardiovascular disease correlate with risks for cognitive decline.
Processed is Easier, but Way Bad for the Body
We know a thing or two when it comes to the Kitchen. In a society where fast-food is King and processed food is Easy, we opt for actually cooking healthy meals for our Team Members. We provide Healthy, SMART FOOD, snacks and lunches. When on Field Trips we encourage healthy lunch sacks and offer guidance when Team Members are buying their lunch outside the Day Hab environment.
Our Smart Food commitment is most evident in our Group Home environment where Caregivers provide a health breakfast and dinner, many times with Team Members interact with food preparation.
It's not rocket science, we all know "garbage in-garbage out" is the rule. We have just adopted a stern commitment to health and wellness for our Team Members which increases a positive disposition, reduced sugar levels for those Team Members prone to diabetes, increased deep green leafy vegetables that promotes regularity and fiber, fruits and berries that promote natural sugars for brain activity and lots, and lots, and lots of water consumption!
Blueberries are bursting with antioxidants, which mop up nasty free radicals. A blueberry-rich diet improves memory and motor skills and reverses age-related declines in balance and coordination.
Dark Leafy Greens are helpful against chemicals called homocysteines which are normal part of protein metabolism, but high levels are linked with cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease (as well as heart disease). In order to break down homocysteines requires folate and B12 or B6, vitamins found in dark leafy green vegetables like collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, and swiss chard.
Fatty fish are full of neuroprotective omega-3 fatty acids. Higher levels of omega-3 in the blood go hand-in-hand with higher levels of serotonin, a mood-enhancing brain chemical. Because a fish diet aids communication between nerve cells, studies have shown its positive effect on learning acquisition and memory performance.
Spinach is full of antioxidant power and is beneficial in slowing down age-related problems in the central nervous system and cognitive deficits. A salad with spinach has more than three times the amount of folate than one with iceberg lettuce.
Whole Grains and Brown Rice are filled with vitamins and magnesium, which is important to cognitive health. Whole grains contain vitamin B6, which aids in reducing homocysteine levels. We often don't get enough vitamin B6, because people mostly eat processed foods.
Hot Cocoa has the antioxidant content of two tablespoons of pure cocoa powder and is almost two times stronger than red wine, two to three times stronger than green tea and four to five times stronger than that of black tea. The antioxidants in hot cocoa protect brain cells from oxidative stress that can lead to Alzheimer's and other disorders. This is not the packaged cocoa loaded with sugar. We are talking about real hot cocoa with milk and pure cocoa powder.
Nuts, Notably Almonds and Walnuts are rich in antioxidants and have been found to lower blood cholesterol levels. A Harvard study showed that women who ate more than five ounces of nuts per week had a significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease than those who ate an ounce or less. Walnuts in particular are rich in omega-3s.
Olive Oil contains the potent antioxidants called polyphenols. Olive oil has been shown to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The extra-virgin variety is best.
Garlic fends off aging via its antioxidant properties. It also contains strong antibacterial and antiviral compounds that help shake off stress-induced colds and infections. Raw, crushed garlic is best; cooked garlic is less powerful but still benefits the cardiovascular system.