Why do we eat? The answer to that question seems to have gotten lost in western civilization. With time and the availability of food we’ve become “DAMAGE DOERS”. We eat too much food, we eat too much food at one time and we eat too much of the wrong foods.
We depend on our environment to provide us with what we need, particularly in the area of food. But, we’ve let the speed of processing, processed foods, fast foods, television advertising, sugary drinks and how food is made available to us create an environment that’s damaging to our health, particularly our cognitive health.
We focus on weight and heart health, but what you eat has a major impact on your brain’s ability to function, and on how well you think. The older you get the worse it gets. We blame age, but it’s not age. It’s the health and functioning ability of your brain.
Regardless of how educated you are, if your brain isn’t as healthy as it once was, it won’t function as well as it once did.
We, as a society, need to focus on eating for a healthy, effectively functioning brain. That will help take care of weight, heart health, probably diabetes2 and a few other health problems.
In reality, there’s no one thing that will ensure a healthy, effectively functioning brain, but eating and drinking the right foods will “STOP THE DAMAGE DOING” and go a long way to reaching that goal.
To start with we don’t drink enough water to stay properly hydrated. We’ve replaced a significant amount of our water drinking with sugary sodas, fruit juice, coffee and beer.
We don’t have to be constantly drinking water. The consumption of fruits and vegetables provide us with water. You walk around with an indicator of how well hydrated you are. That’s your urine.
If you’re properly hydrated your urine will be a light, pale yellow (assuming no interference from medication). The darker your urine the less hydrated you are. But your urine doesn’t just tell you about the need to drink water. It’s also telling you something about what you’re eating.
Let’s get away from hydration and water for a moment. We consume a tremendous amount of refined wheat in products like bread, rolls, bagels, cereals, pancakes, waffles, pop-tarts and pizza. Refined wheat has the germ and the bran removed. The bran and the germ are the portion of the wheat that provides healthy nutrition. It is removed during processing in refined wheat and white rice.
When you consume refined wheat products or white rice you’re consuming pasty calories that add weight with minimal, if any, nutritional value. Even refined wheat that’s been fortified doesn’t normally come close to the nutrition available from whole grain products.
With the possible exception of pop-tarts and pizza, whole grain products are available. We should be consuming whole grain products and brown rice, but the only way that’s going to happen is if you demand them.
Let’s move on to red meats. Most of us love a good steak now and then. Why not? Red meat is filled with good protein. Protein is essential for cognitive health. But the red meat, the beef sold in most stores today is farm raised and grain fed. That’s bad for cognitive health.
The typical answer you get when you ask “Why is red meat bad for you?” is because red meet contains a lot of saturated fat. True, but that alone is not a deal breaker, particularly if you only consume beef once-in-a-while.
Your brain depends on DHA to repair and build tissue. It needs EPA which is an anti-inflammatory. Both of those substances are available in food products containing Omega-3 fatty acid. But there’s another Omega fatty acid; Omega-6 fatty acid.
Omega-6 doesn’t contain the needed elements contained in omega-3. But both Omega-3 and Omega-6 are received by the same receptors on brain cells. Too much Omega-6 blocks out Omega-3. That means tissue isn’t being repaired and built. Damage is being done.
According to the World Health Organization the ratio of Omegs-6 to Omega-3 should be no greater than 5:1. Once you get above 10:1 you’re in an unhealthy range.
Free range, grass fed beef has a ratio of 2:1. Farm raised, grain fed beef , which is what’s primarily available in supermarkets, has a ratio of 23:1.
FARM RAISED, GRAIN FED BEEF IS A “DAMAGE DOER”.
Your brain is unable to repair, rebuild or build itself without a good supply of Omega-s. If you block out Omega-3 by eating farm raised, grain fed beef your cognitive abilities will ultimately take a hit.
MAKE SURE THE BEEF YOU EAT IS FREE RANGE, GRASS FED.
If you’re not eating the right foods they can have a negative effect on brain function, particularly cognitive function. Your brain does the best it can but damage over time will affect memory, learning, problem solving and reasoning. We blame it on age, but it’s not age. It’s the health of your brain. Regardless of how educated you are, if your brain isn’t as healthy as it once was, it won’t function as well as it once did.
Fortunately, your brain is very forgiving. You can heal and repair your brain regaining, and possibly expanding, cognitive ability. To do that though, you need to stop the damage doing, stay properly hydrated and start eating a brain healthy diet.