Category Archives: cognitive ability

EVOLUTIONS JOKE

At one of my recent talks, someone asked me  why I was so active promoting brain health, cognitive health?  My answer at the time was “Because we didn’t know, but now we do!  Now that we know we have to do something about it.”  My answer may have had context after a talk, but not here.  So, I filled in the middle between “We didn’t know” and “Now we know and have to do something about it.”   It came out as

EVOLUTION’S JOKE                                                                                                            Based on our structure and physical capabilities we, as humans, should never have survived.  But evolution provided us with opposable thumbs and a unique brain with the capability for learning, reasoning, problem solving, planning, conceptual thought, and complex communication.  The brain that evolved provided us with a gateway into a world that went far beyond our natural surroundings.  It was a world we could create and expand.

The evolution of the human brain has given us fire, tools, the wheel, electricity, the telescope, cars, the steam engine, the train, the telephone, radio, the plane, television, digital electronics, space ships, to mention a few, and we’ve wiped out or controlled numerous diseases.  Our evolutionary success has even led to an increasingly older population.

Those are incredible accomplishments EXCEPT, that our older population, programmed to retire at the age of 65, has no defined societal age role and is plagued with memory loss, cognitive decline and dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is at the top of the charts with vascular dementia a nearby second.

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WHY DO WE EAT – PART 3

We eat because our brain and body have requirements for energy, tissue protection, repair and building.  We eat to help the structure and functioning of cells, particularly in the brain.  We eat to provide the vitamins and minerals to maintain the functioning health of our brain and blood vessels.  In short, our brain and body have functioning requirements that are supported and maintained by the foods we eat and drink.

Unfortunately, our culture seems to have lost sight of those needs.  We eat foods that are easily  available and promoted on TV.  Consequently, we consume an inordinate amount of simple sugars, foods with added sugars and saturated fats.

In “Why Do We Eat-Part 1” I highlighted the need for water and the problem with red meats easily available to us in supermarkets and fast food restaurants.  In “Why Do We Eat-Part 2” I highlighted simple sugars.  “Why Do We Eat?-Part 3” highlights the fats, or fatty acids, we ingest.  It all starts with understanding the difference between non-essential and essential fats., or fatty acids.

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WHY DO WE EAT-PART 1

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. Continue reading