Battling Alzheimer’s Disease – Part 2: Choose Mood Foods

The foods you choose affect your mood. And what is mood but your brain’s reactions to the world around you. Vinny’s yogurt bowl is a treat filled with probiotics and flavenoids to calm your brain and keep it firing on all cylinders.

Probiotics

For example, science has found a link between the number of good bacteria living in your gut and your peace of mind. Probiotics, namely the organisms living in yogurt and other fermented food, help good bacteria to thrive in your digestive system.

Soluble fibre, like that found in oat bran, dried beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and apples, stimulates the growth of these good bacteria. Boosting good bacteria through healthy eating helps your brain cope with depression, stress, and anxiety.

Flavonoids

Berries and other fruits and vegetables rich in color are also rich in flavonoids.

A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrates a link between the level of flavonoids in the diet over time and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Namely, the more flavonoids in your diet, the lower the chance of suffering from Alzheimer’s in later years.

Not only does a diet rich in probiotics and flavonoids leave you feeling more at peace, it also leads to better sleep. A rested brain is a healthier brain. Sweet dreams!

Calm down with lunch

Vinny shares with you his go-to recipe for lunch, which, incidently, supplies a lot of probiotics and soluble fiber, as well as flavonoids. It’s easy, you can throw it together quickly, and it needs no cooking… great for the hot summer months. Once you’re into it, this dish will be your go-to as well, all year long.

Vinny’s Yo-Yo Yogurt Bowl

Serves one person for lunch or a mid afternoon snack and is easily switched up or down to suit what’s in your fridge

  • 1 cereal bowl
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • I cup strawberries (washed, destemmed, and sliced) or a medium apple (quartered, cored, and chopped into bite-sized bits)
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds or oatmeal (for the fiber and crunch)
  • 1 tablespoon sweetener, like stevia (my choice), honey, maple syrup, or fruit syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • sprinkle of cinnamon or cocoa (optional)

Mix all these ingredients in your bowl and enjoy your meal in your garden or other favorite, calming spot.

Modifying the recipe

The beauty of this recipe is that you can change it up or down depending what you have in the house. No apples? Choose a ripe pear, banana, or peach. No strawerries? How about blueberries or raspberries. You’re all out of dried cranberries? Use raisons or grapes. You can even use frozen fruit (thawed) if you are out of fresh or dried choices.

Yogurt

The only essential ingredient is yogurt. And even then, if you don’t have plain Greek yogurt, use any natural unflavored yogurt. I’ve used homemade goat’s milk yogurt, 0% yogurt, and 2% yogurt. Steer clear of flavored yogurt, because the sugar content is too high. Avoid full-fat yogurt, as well, to keep the saturated animal fats in your diet down.

Sweetener

If you like your yogurt tart, you may not need any sweetener, depending on what fruit you use. But if you are like me, you will probably need at least 1 tablespoon of something sweet. In the bowl in the photo, I used Saskatoon berry syrup, because I have a small bottle of it that I received as a gift.

Usually, though, I use a teaspoon or two of my homemade liquid stevia. I always have it on hand for my morning coffee. It sweetens anything, though, beautifully and naturally. It is a plant extract with no added calories that you can eat without experiencing sugar highs. Thank goodness for stevia!

Steer clear of artificial sweeteners, though, like Splenda and Aspartame. They can be harmful, so why use them when you can use the much safer stevia?

Wishing you all a happy and safe summer with the people you love.

References

  1. Probiotics may help boost mood and cognitive function. 2010-2020. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School.
  2. The role of flavonoids in neurodegenerative diseases. 2020. Current topics in medicinal chemistry.

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