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The Best Vitamins for Brain Health

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This article has been medically reviewed by Marjorie Cohn, MS, RDN, a Certified Integrative and Functional Nutritional Therapist and a member of the Prevention Medical Review Board.

When it comes to keeping your brain healthy as you age, your diet plays a huge role. Eating a wide variety of foods is critical to getting the vitamins and nutrients your brain needs to keep it performing at its best.

“Extensive literature has shown that certain nutrients, flavonoids, unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids are linked to slower cognitive decline and a reduced risk of dementia,” says Puja Agarwal, Ph.D., nutritional epidemiologist and assistant professor at the Department of Internal Medicine at Rush Medical College, Chicago.

Eating whole foods is the best way to get these nutrients. That’s because supplements don’t work as well in a vacuum. With a balanced diet, however, the combination of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats (and more) helps the body better absorb the nutrients it needs.

So what vitamins support brain health? And in which foods do you find them? Experts share everything you need to know beforehand.

Omega-3 fatty acids

If you’ve ever wondered why oily fish like salmon and tuna are always touted as part of a healthy diet, here’s one reason: they’re high in omega-3s, a type of unsaturated fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory and brain protective effects is a building block of the cell membranes in the brain.

Omega-3 fatty acids have also been linked to lower levels of amyloid beta, a type of protein found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease-related damage. “Omega-3 fatty acids easily penetrate the blood-brain barrier and are essential for the structure and function of the brain,” explains Dr. Agarwal.

Where to find it: Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish, nuts and seeds, and some fortified foods such as eggs and yogurt.

Vitamin E.

This vitamin acts as an antioxidant in the body, protecting cells from oxidative stress, a type of damage caused by free radicals (unstable molecules in the body), even in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. The brain is particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress, which increases with aging and is a major contributor to cognitive decline.

Where to find it: Vitamin E is found in dark leafy vegetables, avocado, red peppers, asparagus, mango, pumpkin, as well as nuts and seeds.

B vitamins

When it comes to brain health, focus on the three Bs: Vitamins B6, B12 and B9 (folate). “These three types of B vitamins are necessary for the normal functioning of the brain,” says Dr. Agarwal, “and any lack of them can increase the risk of memory loss and other forms of cognitive decline.”

The reason: These vitamins help boost the production of neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals, that carry messages between the brain and the body.

Where to find them: Beans are one of the best sources of B vitamins across the board. You can find B6 in bananas, oranges, papaya, melon, tuna, salmon, poultry and dark leafy vegetables. Folate is found in broccoli, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, peanuts, and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin B12 is only found in meat and fish products; For vegans and vegetarians, nutritional yeast is a great way to get supplies. People on a plant-based diet are at a much higher risk of real B12 deficiency, so speak to your doctor or nutritionist about whether or not a B12 supplement is right for you.

vitamin C

This antioxidant is known for its immunity, but vitamin C and other flavonoids also help the brain, possibly by taming inflammation that can damage the brain.

In a study by Rush University researchers including Dr. Agarwal, people who consumed strawberries rich in vitamin C at least once a week were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease over the nearly 20-year study period.

Where to find it: Get vitamin C in abundance from kiwi, red and green peppers, citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and tomatoes.

What about supplements that claim to improve brain health?

Drug store shelves are crammed with tons of vitamins and supplements that are purported to support brain health, but do they actually help? Experts agree that it is better to spend your money on nutritious whole foods instead of popping capsules.

It’s important to remember that diet supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which means it’s hard to know if they actually contain what is promised on the bottle.

And then there’s the lack of science to confirm that brain supplements actually help. In general, supplements are not often beneficial for brain health unless you are deficient in certain nutrients, which is rare, “said Gill Livingston, MD, professor of psychiatry at University College London, whose research focuses on dementia prevention and intervention focused, and care.

However, if you have concerns about being nutritionally deficient but not considered deficient because of your diet, a good quality nutritional supplement can help prevent deficiency, says Marjorie Cohn, MS, RDN, a Certified Integrative and Functional Health Medicine Therapist and Owner of MNC Nutrition.

If your doctor or nutritionist determines that a nutritional supplement is right for you, there are quality options out there. Look for a seal of approval from a third-party certification program like Consumer Lab, NSF International, or the US Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), which means the product has been tested for quality, purity, and potency – and that it actually has the ingredients it claims.

The bottom line

Focus on healthy, nutritious foods to keep a sharp mind. And remember: diet is just one piece of the puzzle. Keeping up with other healthy lifestyle habits – such as exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and staying socially active – can improve cognitive functioning and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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Tips for a healthy pregnancy – The Fort Morgan Times

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Do you expect or do you hope to be? Pregnancy can be a difficult time to manage your health needs. Here are some strategies to help you achieve the healthiest pregnancy you can.

Prenatal health begins before conception

That’s right – many of the most important steps you can take before getting pregnant!

Anyone considering pregnancy and not relying on contraception should start taking a prenatal vitamin before they become pregnant. Providing the essential ingredients for a healthy pregnancy, this vitamin can prevent birth defects that occur before most women know they are pregnant.

Another important step before pregnancy is ensuring a healthy weight. Women who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of complications during pregnancy, so maintaining a healthy weight and exercise prior to pregnancy can lead to better results.

Finally, if you have medical problems like diabetes, asthma, or high blood pressure, work with your doctor to optimize these conditions before conception.

nourishment

You may have heard advice about foods pregnant women should avoid, including raw fish, soft and unpasteurized cheeses, and undercooked eggs. These foods can easily make pregnant women feel sick.

But what should you eat while pregnant? Try to follow a balanced diet that includes vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and protein. Eating fish that isn’t high in mercury can provide amino acids that are essential for the baby’s brain to develop.

Finally, remember that “eat for two” doesn’t mean you need two adult-sized servings! Your body only needs around 200 additional calories per day during pregnancy – that’s roughly the equivalent of a Snickers bar.

Mental health

It’s always important to take care of your mental health, especially during pregnancy when hormonal changes can alter your mood and sleep patterns.

Make time for activities you enjoy, try getting eight hours of sleep at night, and talk to your doctor if you have any signs of depression or anxiety. Anxiety and depression often get worse during pregnancy and can get worse after the baby is born.

a practice

Most types of light to moderate exercise are safe during pregnancy.

If you have a regular exercise program, you can likely continue the same exercise during pregnancy – but ask your doctor before starting a new or intense exercise program.

You can also search for prenatal exercises or prenatal yoga classes online, which can be a great way to maintain your fitness and overall health.

Doctor visits

Many pregnancy-related problems do not show symptoms immediately, and it can be difficult to tell whether a symptom you’re experiencing is normal or worrying.

It is important that you keep the schedule of prenatal visits to your obstetrician or general practitioner office and check with your doctor before your next visit if you have any concerns.

Medication

Pregnant women should always speak to a doctor before starting any new medication, as there are many medications that are not recommended during pregnancy.

Your doctor will make sure that any new drugs he prescribes are safe to use during pregnancy.

Unless otherwise directed, you should continue to take a prenatal vitamin throughout your pregnancy and breastfeeding, even after delivery.

Colorado Plains Medical Center is proud to work with The Fort Morgan Times, in collaboration with healthcare partners such as Salud Family Health Center, to provide relevant health-related information and awareness to the communities we serve. Please watch out for our bi-weekly articles in the Fort Morgan Times.

Dr. Claire Bovet is a general practitioner at the Salud Family Health Center.

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MOV Parent: Time for the lunch bell | News, Sports, Jobs

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The summer months are coming to an end and school is getting closer and closer. When you go back to school it can be difficult to start or continue a healthy lifestyle. It’s easy to choose unhealthy lunch and snack ideas. However, I want to share with you the importance of packing a healthy lunch and preparing a healthy snack when your kids go back to school.

1. Eating a healthy diet can improve your health today and for years to come. Think about how your food choices will be made up throughout the day or week to help you create a healthy eating routine.

2. It is important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, as well as dairy and fortified soy alternatives. Choose options for meals, drinks, and snacks with limited added sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.

Some of the negative effects that unhealthy school lunches have on children are mental and physical problems. Eating the wrong diet can lead to obesity or other weight problems. A child with poor diet is more likely to develop diabetes, kidney stones, and heart disease. Without proper nutrition, a child’s academic performance will decline. Sleep behavior is also affected when children do not eat enough nutritious foods. These children may also exhibit more aggressive behavior and lower attention spans.

When I was in school I packed my own lunch. Most of the time I just tossed everything I could find into a bag and called it lunch. I would wrap anything from cookies to leftover pizza. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I understood why I should choose healthier options. I decided to work on a healthier lifestyle and now cucumber and melon are my favorite food when I wrap lunch.

Becoming more aware of what to give your child for lunch, what your child is packing for lunch, and what groceries you bring around the house can help them feel better, be better, and be healthier.

As a parent, you can help your child choose healthier options by:

1. Regular family meals

2. Serving a wide variety of healthy foods and snacks

3. Be a role model by eating healthily yourself

4. Avoid fighting over food

5. Include children in the process

Figuring out the best lunch options for your child can be difficult. You could try some of these options:

* Turkey + cheddar roll-up, fresh berries, yogurt and trail mix

* Cheese quesadilla, guacamole, salsa, tortilla chips and strawberries

* Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, graham crackers, cheese spread and a peach cup

* Turkey slices, cheese cubes, pita wedges, hummus, baby carrots and celery

To make lunch more attractive to your child, try different foods. Some ideas include:

* Make potato salad or pasta salad multi-colored. Use fun noodles or add hard boiled eggs, beans, peas or small cubes of meat for extra protein.

* Cut raw vegetables like carrots, celery, green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and cucumbers. Send them with a small container of low-fat dip.

* Add a piece of fruit for dessert, washed and ready to eat, or a packet of fruit salad.

* Try reduced-fat cheese cubes or cheese spreads with whole grain crackers.

* Few children can resist yogurt, a good source of protein and calcium that is now available in many different flavors and shapes.

* Choose healthy snacks. Pack pretzels, popcorn, rice cakes, whole grain crackers, dried flakes, or trail mix.

After a long day at school, your children will be hungry. Having healthy snacks for your children after school is important. You can have a snack ready and waiting for them or allow them to choose from the healthy options you have around the house.

The American Heart Association has a list of healthy snack options divided into categories based on cravings. Some of these snacks are:

* Apples and pears

* Bell pepper slices

* Popcorn

* Nuts and seeds

* Carrots and celery sticks

Make sure you find the right ones that suit your family’s needs.

While I was in grades 3-12, I got involved in post-school sports. It was important to have a healthy snack before training and games. The snacks I always chose were apples and peanut butter or bananas and peanut butter.

I also enjoyed applesauce. My parents bought the sugar-free version and I added cinnamon. These were simple and healthy snacks that I could grab on my own.

“There is nothing unhealthy about educating young people about nutrition.” – Pierre Dukan

***

Megan Zwick is a program assistant in Family and Consumer Sciences at Ohio State University Extension, Washington County. She can be reached at zwick.54@osu.edu.

***

resources

* Stadler, M. (2018, August). Back to School Kids Lunch Ideas. (2018, August 14).

* Hopkins, A. (2019 August 15). 15 Healthy After School Snacks Your Kids Will Actually Eat

* What is MyPlate?

* Dukan, P. (n.d.). Healthy eating quote. 34 Best Quotes About Healthy Eating For You And Your Children.

* Schuna, C. (no year). The Effects of Children Eating Unhealthy School Lunches. LIVESTRONG.COM.

* Ben-Joseph, EP (Ed.). (2018, June). Healthy nutrition (for parents) – nemours kidshealth. Children’s health.

* School lunches. Harvard Health. (2015, July 16).

* Healthy snacking. www.herz.org. (nd).

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7 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health

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When your stomach is fine, you never think about it – but when you don’t, it’s hard to think about anything else. The group of microorganisms that live in and make up your gastrointestinal tract play a role in almost every aspect of your health, from preventing chronic disease to maintaining your immune system. So it’s no wonder that you feel lousy when things get out of hand.

But what exactly is your gut feeling? And is it possible to improve your gut health? Here is everything you need to know.

What is the intestine?

The human intestine is much more complex than even experts once realized – it comprises a multitude of internal organs that are involved in the digestive process to absorb nutrients from food and excrete waste, explains Rushabh Modi, MD, a certified physician in both internal medicine and Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. “Typically, this refers to the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon, with the pancreas and liver being crucial as supporting organs that help make digestive enzymes,” he says.

How your gut keeps your body healthy

In addition to absorbing and transporting nutrients to all tissues in the body, the intestine is critical to maintaining fluid and salt levels and eliminating waste, explains Dr. Modes. “Many vital nutrients and vitamins such as B12 and iron have special transporters that only exist in the intestine,” he adds. Iron, for example, needs stomach acid to be absorbed effectively – and B12 also needs certain receptors in the stomach and middle intestines to be absorbed. “These nutrients are difficult to obtain in any other way and they are essential for normal physiological function,” adds Dr. Modes added.

The gut is also one of the body’s most important disease control systems. “The acid in the stomach kills the bacteria and viruses that can inadvertently be ingested through food, and the digestive tract is an important way of introducing antigens to boost immune function and protection in the body,” says Christine Lee, MD . Gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “The digestive tract also digests the foods ingested and extracts the essential nutrients that the body can absorb for vital use.”

New research has even uncovered a link between poor gut health and several neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, autism, and depression. One such study from the Université de Genève found that people with Alzheimer’s have different types of bacteria in their gut than those who do not have the disease.

8 signs your gut is suffering

If your gut is unhealthy, you are likely to have one or more of the following symptoms, even if it’s mild or rare:

  1. gas
  2. Flatulence
  3. Acid reflux
  4. heartburn
  5. diarrhea
  6. constipation
  7. Changes in stool
  8. Inexplicable weight loss
    1. “Since food digestion and waste production are the two most important functions of the intestine, if there are problems in these areas, the intestine can often be the cause of the problem,” explains Dr. Modes. Acid reflux and heartburn have also been linked to the gut, although you may feel the pain further from the core of the problem. Flatulence is also becoming more common, so Dr. Modi notes that patients view them as almost a normal reaction to eating certain foods.

      If you experience unexplained weight loss despite eating regular meals, it may indicate that your body is unable to digest or absorb the nutrients in the foods you eat and that there is a problem in your digestive system, according to Dr. Lee.

      How to improve your gut health

      The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to support your gut health. Here are some of the strategies doctors recommend.

      Eat a wide variety of healthy foods

      A diet made up of several different food types can result in a more diverse microbiome made up of more types, according to a report published in the journal Molecular Metabolism. This, explains Dr. Lee, strengthens our microbiome and increases its resilience.

      The best foods for gut health are fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, especially those with the highest fiber content that help your digestive tract function properly. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day and men 38 grams per day.

      And cut down on unhealthy foods. “The more fat, fat, and salt you eat, the worse your gut health gets,” said Scott David Lippe, MD, chief of gastroenterology at Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus, NJ and assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers Medical School. This is especially important to keep in mind at dinner, as restaurants tend to consume salt, fat, and fat because they taste good.

      Try to leave out dairy products

      If you experience gas, gas, or loose bowel movements after drinking milk or eating cheese, you may be lactose intolerant. “This affects many adults, especially those who have no Northern European ancestry,” says Dr. Lip. “A quick and easy test is to drink a glass of regular milk – if you feel unwell, you are lactose intolerant.” If you are not ready to give up dairy products, you can also try taking lactose tablets before consuming dairy foods take.

      Consider a probiotic

      These tiny little microorganisms aid your metabolism and help rebalance your microbiota, says Douglas A. Drossman, MD, gastroenterologist and Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Psychiatry, UNC Division of Gastroenterology at the UNC School of Medicine. He recommends taking them when you have symptoms of an unhealthy bowel; however, there can be no other benefit. In fact, there isn’t a lot of research to prove the benefits of probiotics for the gut.

      For example, a review published in Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology found that probiotics positively affect the gut microbiota of people with certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes, but do little to improve the gut microbiota of healthy people. “If you are taking antibiotics or have diarrhea, taking probiotics can be very helpful,” adds Dr. Lip. However, he recommends trying to get your fair share of probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi first.

      Include more prebiotics in your diet

      “Prebiotics are not bacteria, they are foods that good bacteria like to eat,” explains Dr. Milstein. “We have to feed the good bacteria and starve the bad bacteria.” He recommends eating foods rich in bacteria such as walnuts, berries, bananas, flax seeds, legumes, artichokes, onions, garlic, chicory, dandelion greens, asparagus, leeks and whole grain products. “The diet is personalized, but putting some fruits and vegetables and fiber on our plate with every meal helps keep gut and brain health,” adds Dr. Milstein added.

      Monitor your vitamin D levels

      Recent research in Nature Communications has examined the relationship between gut bacteria and vitamin D levels and found that deficiency in the nutrient plays a key role in increasing the risk of certain diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer, plays. Any form of disruption of the GI barrier, according to Dr. Drossman commonly referred to as “leaky gut,” which can increase a person’s risk of developing infectious, inflammatory, and functional GI diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. “Most people with leaky gut have very low levels of vitamin D and very low levels of the two most important omega-3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA,” he says. He recommends that most people consume at least 5,000 IU (125 µg) of vitamin D3 daily and consume sufficient fish oil (or the vegan equivalent) of 1,000 mg DHA per day. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.

      Manage your stress level

      Stress not only puts a strain on your mental health, but also on your physical well-being. Chronic high stress can, according to Dr. Drossman directly affect your gut health. While removing stressors from your life isn’t always possible, stress management strategies like diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, or yoga can help, says Dr. Drossman. “It’s also a smart idea to see a psychologist to see if brain and gut therapies (cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis, mindfulness) can be used,” he adds.

      Get a good night’s sleep every night

      When you don’t get enough sleep, your whole body is affected, including your intestines. In fact, new research shows how closely your gut microbiome and the quality of your sleep really are. A study by Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida found that poor sleep, for reasons as yet unknown, can negatively affect your gut microbiome, which can then manifest itself in a variety of other health problems, including autoimmune diseases and mental illnesses. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.


      Jenn Sinrich is a veteran writer, digital and social editor, and content strategist specializing in health, fitness, beauty, and relationships.

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