Are the foods on your plate helping you stay healthy through the years? We know what foods are ‘good’ for us, but did you know that what’s on your plate today could affect the way you age?
A recent study, by DSM and Groningen University, looked at why some populations age healthier than others. The researchers found evidence that a lack of nutrients can have long-term health effects. The results of the study support what we already know about the importance of a balanced diet throughout our lives.
It’s not always easy to ensure we’re getting proper nutrition, particularly as we age and need fewer calories and our bodies may absorb less nutrients. To help you stay healthy, try following these five rules: Continue reading “5 tips to help you age healthier”
Good fats, or, essential fatty acids, cannot be produced by the human body, but the body needs them to help support heart health, lower triglycerides, and support brain health. There are two kinds of essential fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6, and it’s important to understand the difference and incorporate them into your diet.
These essential fatty acids are important for the body, however the body cannot make these omega-6 fatty acids on its own. Most sources of omega-6 fatty acids are found in food you eat, such as lettuce, nuts, vegetable oils and poultry. Omega-6 fatty acids aid in reducing the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies and high blood pressure.
Studies show these essential fatty acids support brain health. There are three major omega-3 fatty acids each with distinct health benefits:
- Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is a structural fat, making up approximately 30 percent of the structural fats in the gray matter of the brain and 97 percent of the omega-3s in the brain. Studies have shown DHA plays a role in infant mental development, brain and nervous system development and function, and supporting the mental function of children and adults throughout life.
- Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) is a long chain omega-3 fatty acid, and is important for human health. However, unlike DHA, EPA is not stored in significant levels in the brain and retina and is not considered a significant structural part of the body.
- Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) is an essential fatty acid (EFA), is a shorter-chain omega-3 fatty acid that serves as a source of energy. It is also a precursor for EPA and DHA and is needed for skin health.
We know that food fuels our body, but it may also fuel our minds.
There are many foods and beverages available that are fortified with DHA that can help to support cognitive function, and the best way to make sure you’re getting sufficient amounts of DHA is to try incorporating it into your diet with products you already enjoy eating and drinking. Milks, juices, breads, cooking oils, yogurts, eggs, even nutrition bars and drink mixes are now being fortified with this important nutrient.
Following are some helpful tips for maintaining a nourished mind:
- Switch out saturated and trans fats for healthier fats like the ones found in olive oil and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna or trout.
- Maximize your intake of DHA, which makes up 97% of the omega-3 fatty acids in the brain and is a must-have to support lifelong brain health.
- Aim for a varied diet rich in fresh, washed fruits and vegetables with the skin on to maximize the nutritional punch. Make sure you’re eating the colorful ones like red grapes, cranberries, blueberries and tomatoes.
How do you measure up?
Check out our DHA Diet Calculator to find out if you’re getting the daily DHA you need to maintain a Beautiful Mind.
Do you want more information about omega-3 fatty acids and mental cognition? Click here to learn about whether you are meeting recommendations.