The article you are going to read below has been written for Nomad @ 50 by Ana Belén González, Macrobiotic Nutritionist with international experience, and author of Spiraldia, a blog dedicated to transforming lives through food.
Thank you Ana!
This type of food will help improve your 50+ brain’s health
Did you know that your central nervous system and your intestine are interconnected?
That means that everything you eat impacts on your brain’s health, especially at 50+!
Think about it – How many times have you felt an uncontrollable tingling in the stomach or abdominal area when you’re about to speak in public and get nervous?
You may even have suffered from diarrhea or constipation in times of stress!
Perhaps, without realising it, you might have displayed a more aggressive kind of behaviour as a result of having an empty stomach.
You are not the only one.
These visceral sensations are the result of the bidirectional connection between the digestive and the nervous system.
This is what is known today as the “second brain”.
And, believe it or not, it will directly influence your mood and your well-being at 50 or at any age for that matter!
Don’t believe it?
Science is increasingly certain that there is an intercommunication between the central nervous system and the intestine.
The intestinal tract has a complex structure, through which it communicates with the brain.
This two-way (afferent-efferent) communication channel between the intestinal tract and the brain causes the former to be a more sensitive area to the presence of neuroendocrine substances characteristic of stress.
And once we become aware of this process:
What do we feed our intestinal tract to optimise the 50+ brain ?
What do we feet it so it can feel calm, serene, focused, in a good mood, and allow you to enjoy your days as Nomad@ 50 to the fullest?
If we were to divide a plate into portions:
- 40-60% should be carbohydrates / whole-grain cereal,
- 20-30% vegetables and
- 5-10% vegetable or high-quality protein.
No, I’m not forgetting lipids or fats.
You have to have them but in the form of:
- Extra virgin olive oil,
- Seeds, and
- Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids from bluefish.
Butters, sausages or refined oils don’t have a place in our “smart” food list for people 50+.
Let’s start with the essential nutrients for the 50+ person:
Cereals or whole grains are the main source of immediate energy in human food and should provide us with about half of the total energy of the day.
One particular cereals/wholegrain is known to be the king of serenity, the one that will help your brain remain calm and focused in a way that will allow you to make clear and precise decisions: brown rice.
I’ve travelled many times alone in Asia, where brown rice is ubiquitous in all meals.
Being a female backpacker and travelling alone I have never felt fear, vice quite the opposite: I’ve always felt welcomed and protected, as in India, the country of Gandhi, meditation, yoga, … a leading country in generating computer and mathematical developers (the opposite happen in Spain, my own country, where there’s a great demand for this type of work and companies have problems to fill the positions of computer engineers, cybersecurity experts, leading developers, etc.).
You’ll probably be surprised to know that even the American army has changed its diet!
Because wars today are not fought physically like before. The aggressiveness and physical strength of the soldier was vital to the fight. And so meat was an indispensable part of their diet.
However, today wars are tactical and technological, precision is needed to launch a missile. The American army’s diet today is based on whole grains, legumes and vegetables to give its members that precision and mental clarity necessary to properly perform “their job.”
Brown rice has a large number of B vitamins which are necessary to activate our parasympathetic nervous system.
But it’s not alone.
Although brown rice’s properties are the most concentrated, we can also use other cereals or pseudo cereals with similar characteristics in our meals:
- Teff .
Vegetables provide us with the vitamins, minerals and fiber necessary for us to feel good.
But special mention goes to broccoli, which in of being an anticancer agent, it’s a fantastic antioxidant with neuroprotective properties that helps us boost memory.
After 50, broccoli should be very present in all your dishes.
Try not cooking it for more than 4 minutes so as to prevent it from losing its properties.
The recommended daily intake of protein – whether you follow a vegan, vegetarian, omnivorous or paleolithic diet -, is 0.75 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.
Calculate the quantity you need and the quantity you’re currently ingesting, I’m sure it’s a lot more!
The protein we are more familiar with is the so-called high-quality protein as it contains the 8 essential amino acids. It’s present in eggs, meats, fish, shellfish, crustaceans and dairy products.
But that doesn’t mean this kind of protein is the best for our brain, especially if we don’t consume it in its organic form or in the recommended proportion.
So what is the best and cheapest way to eat high-value protein and stay away from hormones and fats?
Well, it’s very simple.
Try ingesting it as follows:
1. Legumes + nuts and seeds: for example, hummus or chickpea pate, lentil salad with nuts and sesame seeds
2. Legumes + whole grains: for example, lentils with rice, couscous with chickpeas and vegetables
3. Whole grains + nuts and seeds: for example, rice salad with nuts and sesame seeds, pasta with almonds or nuts
So, make sure to always include one of these combinations in your diet!
Extremely important for the over 50 person because:
- They are fundamental nutrients for neural connections,
- They help improve cognitive functions,
- Prevent Alzheimer’s,
You’ll find them in bluefish, especially small-sized like sardines and anchovies… or take them as a supplement ensuring it contains the least amount possible of heavy metals.
Do you have any other questions about your diet?
Would you like to know what other foods can help you perform better at 50+?
Come and see me at www.spiraldia.com!