If there’s one food that people associate with Valentine’s Day, it’s chocolate. More than half of those celebrating are expected to give candy this year, spending 1.8 billion dollars on sweet treats, according to the National Retail Federation. Although studies that find chocolate is good for your brain grab headlines, this Valentine’s Day consider skipping the candy and instead spending quality time with loved ones.
As the executive director of the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH), I am always on the lookout for brain-healthy foods. I scan grocery aisles for chocolate bars with more than 70 percent cocoa, feel that I’m stimulating my brain when I down my morning coffee and even feel virtuous when drinking a glass or two of red wine. Turns out all my assumptions have been wrong.
With the recent news tying processed and red meats to cancer, you may already be cutting back on steak dinners. Here’s even more incentive: Two new studies have found that a Mediterranean-style diet — featuring more fish, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and less meat — may not only help keep your memory strong but also slow age-related brain shrinkage. There’s also good news for those who find it difficult to eat healthy all the time: Both studies found that just incorporating a few of the recommended foods into your diet seems to help.
As AARP health writer Elizabeth Agnvall reported last week, a large new study finds that women in their 50s and 60s who ate a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, fruits, fish, grains and olive oil were 46 percent more likely to be free of chronic disease and memory problems in their 70s.
Once again, the Mediterranean diet is winning out in the diet wars - this time for both physical and brain health. A large new study finds that women who follow a healthy diet during middle age have more than 40 percent greater odds of surviving past the age of 70 with no chronic illness, physical impairments or memory problems. In other words, the kind of spry old age we all hope to have.
Which diet would you rather follow to protect against heart disease and stroke - the Mediterranean diet, which stresses fish, nuts, olive oil, beans, fresh veggies and wine, or a low-fat diet, which basically makes you cranky and miserable?
Reading Dan Buettner's New York Times story, "The Island Where People Forget to Die" made me want to move to Ikaria, Greece, immediately. This is an island where an unusually large percentage of people live past 100 because they get ample amounts of sleep, sex, socializing, spirituality, spinach, and sourdough bread. And they drink several glasses of red wine each day. Basically, party animals who don't sit still much, but pray and take a lot of naps.
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