How to get those essential fats for your body and brain during the summer?
More and more research is showing what we can all observe: the brain and how we feel mentally is connected to our nutrition, our lifestyle, and the rest of our body.
A recent discovery showed that we have a lymphatic system in our brains that is linked to our body’s immune system. This lymphatic system helps to cleanse our brains while we sleep at night. Thus, the role of good sleep hygiene-- electronic devices off, dark room, and early to bed-- is essential to mental health.
Studies are showing that inflammatory food, which is at the root of chronic disease such as Type II Diabetes, may also be at the root of dementia and depression.
These days, it is common to attempt to solve such health issues with a seemingly simple pill but the trade off side effects are cause for concern. Before we force a “pill” down the throat of depression, we should be aware that evaluating food choices and making substantive changes in diet and lifestyle may have a stronger and longer term impact.
If you experience symptoms of depression it is imperative to eat whole foods and essential fats. It is also important to eliminate inflammatory foods such as processed sugar, red meat, gluten (wheat), and dairy from our diet.
By beginning each day with one simple healthful meal, we set the tone for more healthy choices throughout the afternoon and evening. We also get our bodies feeling good first thing by giving them the nutrients and energy they need.
One of the simplest morning meals is blending up a nutrient dense smoothie with unsweetened almond milk, organic coconut oil, kale, organic pea protein powder, organic strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, and avocado. If you don’t like the idea of drinking a meal, turn it into a smoothie bowl by pouring the smoothie into a bowl and topping with some almonds or walnuts, bee pollen, large flake coconut, fresh organic berries or bananas, and some gluten free granola that is sweetened with maple syrup or honey (make your own, or order some of our lightly maple-sweetened gluten-free granola). The possibilities for flavor combinations are endless, and you can add in a whole lot of healthy vegetables, fruits and fats that will taste delicious and leave you feeling eager to face the day. Just let your imagination roam, or let us guide you on your quest for clear thoughts, joy in your heart, and buoyancy in your step by stopping in and trying one of our nourishing smoothies.
For the rest of your meals, remember that avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut oil for cooking (unrefined will taste like coconut, refined will not), and simple salad dressings using lemon juice, salt and pepper, fresh herbs, and cold pressed olive oil or Udo’s omega oils will carry you a long way. If you eat fish, your body will reap many benefits from the long-chain omega-3s contained in salmon, mackerel, black cod, and others. For a great resource on how to choose the most sustainable and healthy fish, go to http://www.seafoodwatch.org/ and more specifically http://www.seafoodwatch.org/consumers/seafood-and-your-health. This site provides up to date information, and even has an app you can download to your phone, so you can be confident you are purchasing and eating the safest, and healthiest fish, and you’ll know you’re making an environmentally sound selection to boot.
Don’t be afraid of the good fats mentioned here- they will actually help you stay trim, and energized. By avoiding processed and inflammatory foods at the same time, you are setting yourself up to thrive. Remember you are caring for and nourishing yourself with the food you prepare, so take time to enjoy and savor your meals. Your body and brain will thank you!