Posts Tagged ‘eating for youth’

It’s mid-September and school is back in session. And you know what that means. Well, if you live in a college town like San Luis Obispo, it means a general increase in the incidence of public drunkenness and sharp decrease in your odds of finding a decent parking space. But if you’re a member of the student body, it means time to sharpen your pencil and your mind, fine tune your memory, and lubricate your neurotransmitters.

So here are a few tips for students of all ages on how to nourish your mind with some all-natural sustenance to keep you sharp, healthy and alert without burning out halfway through the semester.

· Caffeine and sugar comprise the cornerstones of many a student diet, and they do indeed give the brain a good kick start. But to keep going for the duration without the weary crash, consider something with a lower glycemic index. Don’t worry, it’s as simple as a piece of fruit. The fructose will provide far more stamina than the blood-sugar-spike-inducing sucrose of table sugar. Might even get you through the post-coffee doldrums.

· Third in the collegiate trifecta diet, of course, is alcohol. Red wine in fact is a good source of anti-oxidants, but don’t get carried away. Green tea is also famously rich in antioxidants — key elements in promoting good mental and physical health and neutralizing free-radicals, which can cause cancer. But you know what has even more antioxidants? Chocolate! Yeah, no kidding. (Exercise moderation.)

· OK, so not every student survives off those staples of sugar, caffeine and alcohol. It’s rare, but some — usually archaeology majors and grad students — actually think about the long term. For the very long term, consider good sources of choline, a cellular building block which has been shown to improve memory and prevent senility. Nothing has more choline than egg yolks, so try to find a good local source and gobble away. Plenty of people in these parts raise their own chickens, so ask around, because commercial eggs may be tainted with salmonella.

· My own personal favorite, for long-term preservation of the cognitive functions, is a hot bowl of curry. Turmeric, a key ingredient in curry, has been shown to ward off symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. So next time you go out for Indian or pick up some Thai take-out, don’t forget to order up some extra curry. Or pick up some turmeric and spices from the Secret Garden and conjure your own curry!

· We’ve all heard the old wives’ tale about fish being good brain food. Well it turns out that rumor is more than just air bubbles. Omega-3 fatty acids — widely found in fish, especially the oily ones like salmon, herring, and sardines, as well as flax oil and hemp seed oil — provide an essential component to the outer membrane of brain cells. These oils have been shown to prevent memory impairment, and to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

I had a few more suggestions, but believe it or not, this research has worked up quite an appetite. So I’m off to enjoy something oily with a glass of red wine and a slice of chocolate cake. Now if I can just remember where I put my wine opener. . .

We live in a world obsessed with eternal youth. Over nine million Americans contribute billions of dollars each to year to the Anti-Aging Industry. From anti-aging creams to plastic surgery, we’ll do anything to retain the appearance of our halcyon youth. This crazed obsession, which can take a nasty toll on our health, has left me wondering: How can we stay young naturally? (Not that aging should be such a taboo activity anyway.) So that being said, I’ve done a little digging for you all, and here are three natural keys to the fountain of youth.

The Beatles put it best when they said, “All You Need is Love.” (Please ignore the obvious amount of work that Mr. McCartney has had done.) In a series of studies conducted at the HeartMath Institute, a correlation has been found between DHEA (the “anti-aging” hormone) and feelings of love and compassion. In one group of 30 volunteers, DHEA levels were increased 100 percent when doing a series exercises developed to feel love at will over an extended period of time. And yes, it is greater to give than to receive. According to “The Health Benefits of Love” by M. Langton, the same study claimed that “showing support and affection for loved ones seems to slow the aging process even more than receiving love does.” So there you have it, one more reason to buy your girlfriend bar of Sweet Earth Chocolate and a Dreamsacks dress from Bambu Batu.

We all know that music seems keeps musicians young (or immature… or maybe they just die young…) Either way, studies with senior citizens have shown that learning to play music and participating in performances not only gives them a sense of community by eliminating feelings of loneliness; it decreases levels of stress and anxiety and increases the production of HGH (the human growth hormone) which can increase energy levels, decrease physical signs of aging, promote sexual function (WOOHOO) and relieve physical pain. Maybe this is where I should take back my comment about Pauly’s plasitic surgery? Recorders are cheap and they last longer than a bottle of some weird chemical cream. Go learn a tune and drive your neighbor crazy. When they complain, point out your smooth skin and virility!

Cliche? Maybe. True? Definitely. Laughter is the best medicine. Making you feel like a member of the Tuck Family is just one more way laughter and humor can work to improve quality of life. There are several physical, physiological and psychological benefits of laughter that relate directly to staying youthful. Laughter can significantly reduce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Physically, laughter can improve circulation and cardiovascular strength, work several major muscle groups including core and leg muscles, improve the immune system and lower blood pressure. According to Johns Hopkins University, humor during instruction can help in retaining information, and can improve mental alertness and creativity; all things that can put a spring in your step.

So, what if you were to wake up every morning and have a different de-aging routine? What if, instead of: wake up, put on creams, go to the dermatologist to get your skin burned off, read magazine articles on looking younger, buy something at Forever 21, take a pill, put on more creams and go to bed, you: wake up, kiss something, even if it’s your dog, sing a tune, read a joke, do a friend a favor, buy a record (at a local record store, of course) go to a comedy club, on a date, and then take that date back to your place to listen to the aforementioned record? I mean, I know it’s crazy…