Tuesday, March 11, 2014
My mother had a stroke recently and will be going to a nursing home. So brain fitness - memory, recognition, attention - has been in my thoughts.
Posit Science ( www.positscience.com/ ) specializes in brain fitness studies and software. I'm going to post one of their Brain Fitness Tips each day to remind us all that our brain needs good nutrition and exercise too.
EAT DARK CHOCOLATE **
The task: Add some dark chocolate to your diet.
The reason: When you eat chocolate you activate the systems in your brain that pump dopamine, an important brain chemical. These systems enable learning and memory, and help keep your brain sharp and fit. Chocolate also offers flavanols, brain-boosting antioxidant compounds that are also found in red wine and berries. To get the maximum brain boost from chocolate, look for the darkest chocolate available, with the least added sugar or other ingredients.
**I buy dark chocolate bars with over 80% cocoa at my local health food store and eat 3 small squares a day.
Let me add a personal observation. A few years ago I read a lot about blood pressure and strokes. I learned that the balance between sodium and potassium is critical in preventing stroke. Most people do not get enough potassium. Eating a baked potato with the skin on, an avocado and a banana are some easy ways to add potassium in your diet.
My mother is critically low in potassium. Her level was just a little above 2, when the healthy level is somewhere between 3.5 and 4.5.
Potassium supplements are not recommended, except under a physician's care, because too much potassium is also dangerous. Getting it through diet is the safest way.