Hello again! In the last newsletter, I began to outline some ways to keep the mind sharp as we grow older. I assume you are all a little older now than when the last letter came along (no wizards in this group right?), and now that your minds are all just a bit sharper than last time, here are some more tidbits to help you stay that way!
Berry good! Dark berries, such as blueberries, contain a wonderful set of compounds called anthocyanins, that actually give them their beautiful dark hue. These anthocyanins are among the plant based nutrients small enough in structure to pass directly across the blood-brain barrier. Once in the brain (think of how cool your brain will feel when it is blue!), they also protect the memory. Research has shown that older people who eat plenty of blueberries preserve memory function.
Among vegetables, green leafy veggies have been shown to be especially effective in reducing the cognitive declines of aging. (I’m starting to imagine a walnut blueberry spinach salad right about now!)
Eating fish twice a week has been showing to help older people at risk of dementia. Exercise is very powerful, perhaps especially exercise with some cognitive complexity attached, such as learning to dance. Mixing up your routines and doing ordinary things in unusual ways is a great way to make sure sets of neurons in the brain don’t get weaker for lack of use, so variety in activities and choices is good. I sometimes walk up the stairs backwards, because it challenges me to be very aware of every step, lighting up unusual neural pathways.
Back to the Nutrition and Health Conference. Stay tuned, as I intend to hold a free public educational event soon (before the weather cools off) in order to update you in person about all the wonderful empowering information I took away from that course.
Until then, stay well, stay safe in your travels, and we will see you soon.
Robert Pendergrast, MD, MPH