Thursday, February 12, 2015


The information in this post comes from Dr. Reed Tuckson, the author of the book The Doctor in the Mirror.

  • Fats provide fuel for the brain and the body.
  • Fats help us feel satisfied.
  • Fats allow us to absorb nutrients.
  • 1/5 to 1/3 of your total daily calories should come from fat.
  • Not all fats are good fats and it is important to know the difference. The three types of fats are Unsaturated, Saturated, and Trans Fats. Following is a brief description of each:
UNSATURATED: These fats may actually lower your cholesterol, improve your memory (discussed in earlier posts this week), and protect your heart. Unsaturated fats are found in fish, nuts, and vegetables. Examples are - olive oil, avocado, flaxseed, walnuts, and fish such as salmon and tuna.

SATURATED: These fats increase cholesterol and can harm the heart and brain when eaten in excess. No more than 7% of your calories daily should be from saturated fats. Examples are dairy products, red meat, some tropical oils.

TRANS FATS: These fats are the real culprits and should be avoided. Trans fats raise LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol. Examples are - snack foods, fast foods, baked goods, etc.

Even though some fats are healthy fats we must still watch portion size! For a 2,000 calories a day diet, as example, keep your fat intake to somewhere around 56 to 77 grams.

Read product labels to see what fats they contain and how many grams.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Many doctors recommend an 81 mg aspirin a day to their patients for heart health. I was surprised by recent research that found adults age 50 to 65 who took approximately 75 mg of aspirin a day for 10 years may significantly reduce their risk of developing and dying of the following cancers - stomach, colon, and esophageal. The study found it took 3 years for the benefit to kick in and at least 5 years for the death rates to fall. 

Maybe there is more than one reason to take that aspirin every night.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


The previous post talks about the need for omega-3s as brain food to help with short term memory. Here are some fish and the amount of omega-3s you can get from them.

Wild-caught Pacific Sardines = 600% of your daily omega-3 needs or 1,500 mg per 3.5-ounces.
Wild-caught Alaska Salmon = 560% of your daily omega-3 needs or 1,400 mg per 3.5-ounces.
U.S. farmed or wild caught Striped Bass = 320% of your daily omega-3 needs or 800 mg per 3.5 ounces.
U.S. farmed Rainbow Trout = 240% of your daily omega-3 needs or 600 mg per 3.5-ounces.


Continuing today with more brain information from Dr. Fotuhi, credentials given in previous post, research shows that getting a certain type of DHA can increase the size of your hippocampus in about six months. (The hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for short-term memory.) This is a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in fish, fish oil and algae. However, according to Dr. Fotuhi, it is almost impossible to get enough from your diet therefore this is an area where supplements are useful. He does state that you should buy supplements that come from algae rather than fish due to impurities such as mercury that might be in the fish oil. Dr. Fotuhi stated, "I really believe DHA is a super brain food. I take 1 gram a day, and so does my wife."

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Are you one of those people who can't remember where you put your glasses, keys, etc? As we age, it is a fact that our brains shrink and unfortunately a smaller brain just doesn't work as well as we would like. Neurologist Majid T. Fotuhi, M.D., author of Boost Your Brain: The New Art and Science Behind Enhanced Brain Performance, says not to worry. He says the brain has the remarkable ability to keep growing at any age. But here is the catch - you have to have the right health habits if you want your brain to grow.

Based on his 25 years experience teaching and doing research at Johns Hopkins and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Fotuhi says there are ways to significantly improve the performance of our hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for our short-term memory. And guess what the first one is? You guessed it - get moving! Don't become a couch potato and let your brain keep shrinking

According to Dr. Fotuhi, "When you're working out to the point of breaking a sweat, you're actually growing new brain cells in your hippocampus." He says he knows that is mind-boggling but that there is solid science behind it. Below is what Dr. Fotuhi recommends to see significant brain benefits:

30 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity like jogging and 15 minutes of strength straining, such as lifting hand weights or doing squats and pushups, four times a week.

How about this for an incentive? Those who have a bigger hippocampus are less likely to get Alzheimer's disease.  So eat healthy and exercise for better memory.

Check tomorrow for more posts on the brain.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Remember for both your health and diet purposes portion control is key. Here is a tip for freezing leftover cooked meats such as pot roast, pork shoulder, etc so you don't try to eat it all "so it won't go to waste"! Freeze these meats in their cooking liquid as it will preserve the juicy flavor and tender texture. It will also guard against freezer burn.

Tip: Portion the cooled meat and place in ziptop freezer (not sandwich or storage) bags, add liquid, remove air, seal and freeze up to 4 to 6 weeks.

Note: Placing the meat in the bags in portion size rather than in a large bag will be very helpful if you have a problem with portion control.

Double Guard Freezer Bags work great for freezing meats.