Welcome to our new series, Six Steps to Brain Health.  Each week for the next six weeks, we will focus on one aspect of keeping your brain healthy and strong.

Today we will focus on the first step to Brain Health, which is diet.  Most everyone knows, at least in theory, that they should eat healthy foods.  People agree that eating fruits and vegetables has a multitude of benefits, like providing our bodies with whole-food sources of vitamins and minerals, macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates), and fiber that we need to help keep our bodies running smoothly.  Eating the proper nutrients helps keep our organs functioning, and it provides our body with raw materials it needs to build healthy blood and bones.  It benefits the digestion, metabolism, and most importantly, the way the brain functions.

But when it comes to really buckling down and eating healthy foods, many American people feel like they are too busy.  Of course, it is much easier to go through a drive-thru restaurant on your way home from work – and to make matters even worse, these restaurants pump their food with salt, fat, and sugar – which overloads your senses and taste buds and makes the food addictive.  No matter how attractive or “healthy” the branding looks, these fast-food restaurants and big companies simply do not care about your lasting health.  They really only care about their bottom lines.

So we need food with high-quality nutrition, and we can’t trust companies to make this food for us, so what’s the solution?  It is unavoidable – everyone needs to learn how to cook.  That is not to say that everyone needs to be a five-star chef, but everyone can definitely learn basic preparations and some simple cooking tricks. If you think that a lack of time is the reason you do not cook, you might need to use some creative solutions like investing in a crock pot, doing a meal-prep on the weekends, or even making food in advance and freezing it. To motivate yourself to cook your own food, you need to become convinced that only *you* have your best dietary interests in mind.  Starting a cooking routine might actually be fun.  Many people find cooking relaxing and rewarding, but like everything else, it takes some practice and adjustment.

If you don’t think you like cooking, or feel that you don’t know how, try to watch some healthy cooking shows on the internet for inspiration.  The internet is an incredible source for all kinds of easy recipes for all kinds of dietary choices.  You can easily search for recipes by looking up, for example, “ketogenic salad dressings” or “easy-to-make vegetarian dinner ideas”.  I also recommend that you plan your meals and make a list for the grocery store, and stick to that list.  And make sure you’re not hungry when you go grocery shopping.  The time we really get into trouble in the grocery store is when we don’t have ideas and we’re hungry – then we’re most susceptible to marketing and thinly-veiled junk food.

Book a free Brain Health Consultation today to learn more about a specific diet you should be eating for your best health. We have many recommended meal plans and food lists, and have helped thousands of patients adopt healthier diets.  Email us at info@kaplanbrainandbody.com or call our office at 201-261-2150 to book your appointment today.  Read along next week to read about our second tip for Brain Health!