The Connection Between Brain Health and a Plant-Based Diet [VLOG #54]
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Note: The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
Today we’re going to talk about the connection between brain health and a plant-based diet. As we continue to go forward in life, we may have aging family members, relatives, and of course for ourselves.
We want to make sure that we really protect our brain health so that we hit the maximum capacity to focus and keep our memory intact. In addition we want to be present in the world and to interact with others. There is, of course, the loving, very caring part of ourselves that very much cares about the brain health of our relative.
I’m going to pull a lot of different facts and statistics, and little factoids here in this vlog. Hopefully, it will help you and inspire you in caring for loved ones. Perhaps you can share this information for those that you are concerned about or would like to prevent any brain neuro-related disorders.
Brain Health & Cognitive Impairment
As we know, especially in the United States with the aging population, there is a huge incidence of Alzheimer’s disease which continues to rise. There are multiple conditions, conditions when it comes to brain health, in particular, cognitive impairment and cognitive dysfunction. So this affects our ability, the declining ability, to remember and to think as we did.
This is heart-wrenching if any of us have experienced that in our own families. My best friend’s mother has dementia now and I see the toll and the stress it takes on their family. It’s so hard, and of course this is a very sensitive topic that’s on the top our minds, no pun intended.
Types of Dementia
There’s two types of dementia. There is vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s, as I mentioned. Vascular dementia is basically multiple little strokes where the blood vessels in the brain are broken and this can lead to a stroke later in life. It’s very common.
The other type of dementia is Alzheimer’s. 1% of people age 65 have evidence of Alzheimer’s, and the figure doubles every five years thereafter. Free radical damage is believed to play a role in cognitive dysfunction and dementia.
Gaining Dietary Antioxidants Through Plant-based Sources
More and more research is showing that the more we consume dietary antioxidants from all these amazing plant-based sources, from greens, from berries, in particular blueberries, acai, (just a few to name), can shield our brains from this damage as well as other diseases.
Remember that antioxidants and all these different phytonutrients really only come from plant-based foods. Animal products do not have this wide range of nutrients, the phytonutrients. They do not have the antioxidants. They also don’t have fiber.
In contrast, animal-based foods, particularly those that are charred, and grilled, and barbecued actually induce damage in the body. They can induce free radical damage and cell damage because these products and the way that they are cooked actually brings in harmful compounds into the body. These can very much affect our brain and little capillaries in the blood vessels that are transporting oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
How Environmental Factors Play a Role
Yes, of course, there is a genetic factor, but environmental factors play a huge role in brain health. The way that we live day in and day out, the way that we eat day in and day out is going to make a huge difference.
Research has shown that vitamin E levels in the blood are related to memory loss. Higher levels of vitamin C and selenium both reduce free radical activity. I’m throwing a bunch of facts your way now. There’s lots of research.
There’s huge studies here. 5,000 older people monitored over two years, found that greater dietary fat and cholesterol were correlated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, specifically.
Where to Put Your Focus When Choosing What To Eat
We know that there’s a lot of trans fats, saturated fats found in dairy products, and pastries, and meats, and fried foods, and all of this has an affect on our body, on our vitality, on our energy, and very much on our brain health.
Foods rich in vitamin E and selenium include nuts, particularly Brazil nuts, seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, and dark leafy greens. Also, whole, gluten-free grains are very beneficial in that respect. Cutting back on the heavy animal products, dairy, and refined sugars.
This is key to how we feel day-to-day. It’s key to our energy. It’s key to our skin health and it’s key to our brain health. This is so we can really go into the next several decades feeling sharp, clear, present with our family and loved ones, and very much enjoying our lives.