Food for Thought
Fun Fact: Brains do not function properly without well-balanced meals! If one does not eat a well-balanced meal, it could make an individual become forgetful, overly emotional, tongue-tied, and/or light headed! This is common especially amongst teenagers due to their ever evolving nature of their brain at this time. Teenagers are more susceptible to outside influences like stress and depression during this period, as well as those disorders having more of a long-term effect on the brain. This can lead to adult depression and higher stress rates later on in life if not managed properly. Eating a well-balanced meal can mean different things to individuals; one may believe that a healthy meal is more protein and carb based while another individual may believe that fiber and vegetables is the way to go. So what does a healthy meal consist of really? A healthy heart, and brain, meal as stated by the American Heart Association consists of: A variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, and non-tropical vegetable oils. An individual should also limit the amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages that is consumed. If a person chooses to eat red meat, compare labels and select the leanest cuts available. However, keep in mind that the food guides do change slightly once an individual becomes 65 years of age and older. For example, when a person is younger, he or she can normally eat higher amounts of sugars, sodium, and fat daily; this can lead to a short energy boost, but then feel lethargic afterward. For individuals 65 years of age and older, it is best to completely cut out these food groups because they are more harmful to the brain at this time. For older adults, it is recommended that greater dosages of B vitamins as well as foods and drinks that are full of antioxidants are consumed daily. Not only does eating well-proportioned meals decrease the risk of heart related diseases, but it also enables an individual to function properly on a day-to-day basis. A person’s mood will improve, their stress level will be lowered, exercise will be easier to get through, and many more added benefits are all a product of healthy eating. The term “brain food” is not necessarily a joke; it really does make a difference what we put into our bodies! The old adage of “put good in, get good out” is quite fitting for this scenario. When we put healthy, nutrient dense food into our bodies, it will be processed and distributed throughout the body accordingly, and will enable individuals to function and accomplish tasks at a higher level of productivity.