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Power Foods For The Brain-Plant-based foods are beneficial to the brain and may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. A decline in brain health is not an inevitable part of aging. But how we eat and live can help us protect our memory and stay sharp into old age. Research shows saturated and trans fats found in dairy products, meats, pastries, and fried foods can increase the risk for cognitive decline. Instead, eat a plant-based diet, which helps protect brain health. Berries and foods rich in vitamin E, including nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and whole grains are especially beneficial. Take a B12 supplement to preserve nerve function. But avoid supplements with iron and copper. These metals can harm brain health. Consume iron supplements only when directed by your physician. You’ll also want to choose aluminum-free products including cookware and baking powder. But diet isn’t your only line of defense. Make sure to lace up those sneakers and exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep for optimal brain health. In this Food for Life: Power Foods for the Brain class, you will learn strategies for maintaining memory and improving brain function including how to prepare brain health-promoting meals.
Healthy Heart- Research shows a plant-based diet doesn’t just prevent heart disease, but it can manage and sometimes even reverse it. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and around the world. Eating habits and other lifestyle factors play a key role in determining the risk of heart disease. Pioneering studies by Dean Ornish, MD, Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., MD, and others have shown a low-fat, plant-based diet, combined with regular exercise and a healthful overall lifestyle, can prevent, delay, and even reverse heart disease and other cardiovascular events. Dr. Ornish’s landmark study tested the effects of a plant-based diet on participants with moderate to severe heart disease. There were no surgeries or stents—just simple diet and lifestyle changes. Within weeks, 90 percent of chest pain diminished. After just one month, blood flow to the heart improved. After a year, even severely blocked arteries reopened. At the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Esselstyn tested the same approach on patients with severe heart disease and published similar results. Thirty years later, all of the compliant patients are still thriving. Plant-based diets benefit heart health because they contain no dietary cholesterol, very little saturated fat, and abundant fiber. Meat, cheese, and eggs, on the other hand, are packed with cholesterol and saturated fat, which cause plaque buildup in the arteries, eventually leading to heart disease. A plant-based diet can also help improve several risk factors for heart disease: High Blood Pressure: A plant-based diet, rich in potassium, improves blood pressure. High Cholesterol: Aim for high-fiber foods, which can help lower cholesterol. Atherosclerosis: Diets rich in saturated fat and cholesterol cause plaque buildup in the arteries, restricting blood flow. Inflammation: Plant-based diets help reduce inflammation, which can lead to heart disease and other conditions.