What is medical nutrition?
Medical nutrition is the realization that nutrition is important for proper health. Sound a little obvious? OK, medical nutrition is the utilization of specific nutritional interventions for the prevention and/or treatment of particular conditions or diseases. You’ve probably heard of individuals with diabetes being on low-glycemic diets or people with celiac disease being on gluten-free diets. As we learn more about the importance of nutrition for the brain and body, and move more towards personalized nutrition, medical nutrition is becoming a hot topic. In fact, people are now going on gluten-free diets for a myriad of reasons. I have a neighbor right now who is on a gluten-free diet because she heard it makes your waist smaller while increasing your bust size. True story, false rumor unfortunately.
What is medical nutrition good for?
Medical nutrition is great for helping to minimize problems due to aversive reactions to particular foods (e.g., gluten or lactose intolerance), optimize physical and brain health, and potentially increase the benefit of other therapies for particular disorders. However, medical nutrition is not a substitute for proper medical treatment of medical conditions. It’s very ‘in’ to treat things holistically these days- sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. Don’t gamble with your health, talk to your doctor.
Take a look at our medical nutrition site currently in development. We apologize for the delay in construction. However, here you can download meal plans for:
– Celiac Disease
– Binge Eating Disorder
Everyone knows that nutrition has a large impact on our how our bodies function. What we sometimes forget is that the brain is a part of our body, which is affected by nutrition in the same way as the heart. Science now reveals that nutrition is vital for proper brain functioning, particularly memory.
10 Nutrition Tips for Brain Health
1. Wean yourself off high-glycemic carbs. These include sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, processed cereals and grains, anything baked, ice cream and sorbet, crackers, salty snacks such as chips and pretzels, and anything made with white flour.
2. Eat Mediterranean style. A brain-healthy Mediterranean-style diet includes fruits and vegetables, lean protein (fish, chicken, and turkey); low-fat yogurt and cheeses; and nuts and seeds. Stay away from excess red meat and processed foods.
3. Have more good fat and less bad. Brain foods high in good fats include: olive oil, avocados, certain nuts, natural peanut butter, certain seeds, and certain fish. Foods high in bad, or saturated, fat include: most fast foods, anything hydrogenated, dried coconut, butter, animal fats, milk chocolate and white chocolate, and cheese.
4. Proportion your macronutrients. Every day, make sure that you aim for 25% of your total calories from fat (but less than 7% saturated, or “bad” fat); 30-45% from complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables and whole foods that are low on the glycemic index); and 25-35% from high-quality lean protein.
5. Boost your omega-3 intake. Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) are essential for memory function and brain health. Most of us don’t get enough from dietary sources (such as fish), so consider high-quality, pure fish oil supplements that contain a minimum of 250 mg of DHA in each capsule, and aim for 1,000-1,500 mg of DHA daily if approved by the treating physician.
6. Feed your brain antioxidants. Antioxidant-rich foods are great for mental function. Some of the best are berries, kale, or 100% pure unsweetened cocoa powder, mushrooms, onions, beans, seeds, sardines, herring, trout, and Alaskan wild salmon.
7. Consume enough brain vitamins. Ensure adequate intake of folic acid, B6, B12, and vitamin D in particular. If you’re not eating vitamin-rich foods on a regular basis, it’s good to supplement as needed in pill or liquid form.
8. Choose whole foods. In general, whole foods have only one ingredient–for example, strawberries, broccoli, or barley. If you must have a convenience (manufactured) food on occasion, find those packaged, canned, and frozen items with the fewest ingredients–especially ingredients that you readily recognize and understand.
9. Opt for low- or nonfat dairy. Any recipe you make with full-fat milk, cheese, or yogurt can be made with nonfat versions. If you drink whole milk or half-and-half in your coffee, try mixing it with skim milk and increasing the proportion of no fat to high fat every day. Pretty soon you’ll be used to it and never have the urge to go back.
10. Enjoy a cup or two of Joe. Caffeinated coffee, 1-3 cups early in the day, may be beneficial over time to your brain. Studies done in Europe over several years demonstrate that men who drank coffee regularly for many years showed less of a decline on memory tests than those who did not drink coffee.
Resources for Nutritional Brain Health
The Alzheimer’s Prevention & Treatment Diet is a step-by-step nutritional guide for memory loss prevention and treatment. Myself and Harvard-trained Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson team up to create this ground-breaking nutritional guide for individuals concerned about memory loss.
The Alzheimer’s Diet blog is filled with content to help achieve maximum brain health and memory function through dietary modification.
Also, find great tips and updates on Facebook!