Power Your Brain

Controlling the risk factors of chronic disease, like heart disease and diabetes with healthy food and regular physical activity will help us keep our brain active and healthy. Physical activity along with healthy foods will strengthen the brain cells, especially the memory and learning.

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Higher the amount of trans fats, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, higher the risk of ischemic stroke.  Besides that, excess salt intake increases the blood pressure and stroke risk.

Free radicals in the bloodstream will strike and sabotage our cells. Prolonged exposure of free radicals will reduce the flexibility and harden the arteries  that eventually elevates blood pressure. Furthermore these free radicals will damage the brain cells and impede the message transmission. It is cut-clear that free radicals will fast forward our aging process and if we don’t grapple this, we are likely to experience age-related memory loss, skin wrinkles, stiff joints and hardening of arteries.

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Fortunately we have plenty of foods loaded with powerful antioxidants, available in the market. These strong antioxidants will interact with free radicals and prevent the cell damage.  Polyphenols, named anthocyanins, found in berries and dark pigmented fruits and vegetables help slow cognitive decline through their powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

People who enjoy food rich in fruits & vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and unsaturated fatty oils are less likely to have ischemic stroke and depression than those who consume high meat and dairy foods.

Foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phyto-nutrients will protect our brain cells from oxidation and free radical damage.

Complex carbohydrates, in starchy foods like wholegrain breads, pasta and rice releases energy slowly that helps brain to function in a stable way. For better concentration and mental performance whole grains are better than refined foods.

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Spinach, mustard greens, parsley, avocado, olives and broccoli are good sources of vitamin E. Spinach and broccoli are also rich in folate and Swiss chard is high in Vitamin E and also Vitamin C, a powerful anti oxidant. Beet is an excellent root vegetable rich in nitrates that increases blood flow to the brain.


Papaya is a good source of Vitamin A one of the powerful antioxidants. Citrus fruits, Kiwi, Mango and Strawberries  are rich in Vitamin C.  In addition strawberries are rich in folate and mango is loaded with Vitamin A. Pineapple is another fruit rich in vitamin C and in addition it contains bromelain, an enzyme that acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.

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Fiber just keeps our brain function at its best. We all know that our brain operates on sugar. But the sugar must be delivered in a very stready stream  and in the right amount. Flooding the blood with sugar, our brain gets overwhelmed. Fibrous food will help release the sugar in our blood gradually.

Dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts & seeds, peas & beans are rich in fiber and in addition they are good sources of magnesium that protects from age-related memory loss.


Our human brain is 60% fat. Trans fat is bad for the brain because it will interrupt the functions of the essential fatty acids. Omega 3 that promotes healthy heart also helps our brain. DHA, one of the omega fatty aids, is the primary structural fatty acid of the brain that promotes communication between cells and message transmission. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon, herring, tuna sardines, can help fend off numerous brain diseases. Trans fat is bad for the brain because it will interrupt the functions of the essential fatty acids. Processed foods and commercial chocolates, margarines, shortening, baked goods are high in trans-fat.

Look through the labels before purchasing the products.

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Tryptophan & Tyrosine

Neurotransmitters are the messengers that carry brain signals. Tryptophan and tyrosine are few among the components of neurotransmitter. Tryptophan is an anxiety calmer and sleep promoter and Tyrosine is a metabolism booster and anti-depressant.  Seafood, lean meat, eggs, soy, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and dairy products are good sources nuerotransmitter-building foods. Grass-feed lean red meat are also is rich in vitamin B-12 that is vital for the brain function and iron that help transport oxygen throughout the body and to the brain.


Be sure to drink water at regular intervals. Our mental energy is decreased even if we are slightly dehydrated . Dehydration causes fatigue and impairs memory. Drinking water, at least 2 litres every day, will keep our body and brain hydrated.  Drinking tea with low-calories will improve your arteries. The polyphenols in tea exhibits antioxidant properties. Consider sipping different types of teas like-English tea, Green tea, Peppermint tea, for both black and green provide different beneficial compounds.


Dark chocolate, as  we all know is associated with a positive influence on mood. In addition the dark chocolate help scavenge free radicals through catechin a group of plant polyhphenols.

Antioxidant-rich foods

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Vitamin C

Citrus fruits, Berries (strawberries, blueberries, cranberries), Dragon fruit, Dark green vegetables, Cabbage, Broccoli, Bell peppers.

Vitamin A

Carrot, Squash, Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes, Peaches, Mangoes, Papaya, Apricots, Cantaloupe

Vitamin E

Nuts, Seeds, Wheat germ, Whole grains, Vegetable oil, Fish, Green leafy vegetables


Eggs, Chicken, Red meat, Shell fish, Whole grains, Mushroom


Tomatoes, Guava, Grapefruit, Watermelon, Guava

Regular physical activity and healthy food  help reduce inflammation, oxidative stressadn other vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure all of which have a role in increasing the risk for brain and heart diseases.

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Flashy fruits & vegetables: To strike out cancer!

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If you are concerned about lowering the risk of cancer, take comfort in the fact that “Some simple lifestyle changes can make big difference.” Yes, the primary prevention of cancer is through better lifestyles like  healthy eating, regular physical activity, smoking cessation, alcohol moderation, UV-exposure reduction and screen to precancerous lesions.

Maintain a healthy weight

A BMI of 25 or less is optimal. Waist size should also be considered, for higher the amount of body fat deposited in and around the waist signifies higher risk of cancer. Having too much belly fat is linked with an increased risk of colorectal, prostate pancreas, edometrium( linging of the uterus) and breast cancer ( in women past menopause). Higher intake of dietary fat & alcohol and low level of exercise is the leading cause of colorectal and prostate cancer in men. Men tend to accumulate more fats than women!! It is obvious that all men should lose the belly fat to reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  In women, though estrogen levels dip during the menopause, far more women experiences the symptoms of estrogen dominance-the increase in hunger and  the decrease in metabolism,  that leads to fat gain around the waist! Gaining weight after menopause will increase the risk of breast cancer in women. So, after 40 years, women should focus on small-frequent -healthy meals with regular physical activity to maintain their weight. 

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If you are overweight or obese, no worries…………. Just work to lose the weight! Excess body fat can be reduced by lowering the number of calories you consume (lowering the portion size), choosing a low-fat diet, and increasing the physical activity!

Regular physical activity will help reduce your risk of cancer and recurrence through several powerful and synergistic mechanism. Strive for at least 30 mins of moderate aerobic exercise. Combining aerobic and resistance exercise will have a wonderful effect on glycemic control in individual with type 2 diabetes. Enjoy performing some light stretching exercises often.


Eat healthy food

Healthy selections at the grocery stores and at mealtime will help reduce your cancer risk.

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  • Fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and pulses are generally low in calories and fat. They are considered the good food choices that help you control your weight and reduce your cancer risk. They are also rich in vitamins & minerals that strengthen the immune system. Dark colored beans, vegetables & fruits are high in antioxidants which prevent the cell damage that leads to cancer. The fibers, linked to reduce the cancer risk! Scientists at Cancer Prevention Institute of California have found that a diet high in fruits & vegetables may significantly reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Eating lots of vegetables, especially cooked tomato-based foods, rich in lycopene, can lower the risk of prostate cancer in men. Watermelon, grapefruit, red & pink guava are also good sources of lycopene. Aviary Photo_130279416386388766
  • Berries are high in antioxidant properties. Blueberries rank number one in terms of their antioxidant power. Antioxidants neutralizes the free radicals, an unstable compounds that damage the cells and lead to diseases including cancer.  Aviary Photo_130298342051170378Grab the blue berries!  
  • Eating a diet high in fiber can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Dietary fibers protect against breast cancer through inhibition of the intestinal reabsorption of estrogen.
    • Soluble fiber has been shown to be more effective in controlling the blood glucose, insulin, which have been positively related to the risk of breast cancer.
    • Insoluble fiber are more effective in binding and excreting estrogen. 

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  • Nut eaters are less likely to die of cancer! The unsaturated fatty acids, minerals and other nutrients from heart-healthy peanuts, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, pistachios are not only cardio protective, also anti-carcinogenic, and with antioxidant properties, that aid in lowering the cholesterol, inflammation and reducing the risk of cancer. Nuts are goods sources of selenium, that helps destroy cancer cells and aid cells repair their DNA. Enjoy a handful of nuts with fresh green salads rich in fibers, vitamins & minerals and antioxidants.

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  • Choose wholegrain, for refined foods are high in GI, the glycemic index. Research has shown that women even with BMI < 25, had an increased risk of breast cancer with an increasing amount of rapidly absorbed carbohydrates!!!
  • Limit eating processed meat like – smoked, cured, salted, added preservatives, for the diet high in processed meat is linked to bowel cancer!
  • Controlling the intake of foods high in calories, fats and sugar will help reduce the risk of bowel and breast cancers!
  • Culinary herbs like garlic, mint, basil, oregano, cilantro (coriander leaves), chives, parsley not only add flavor and color to meals, they also help to prevent and manage heart disease, cancer and diabetes!Aviary Photo_130298358633601086IMG_7098
  • Choose baking, boiling, steaming or stir frying as healthy cooking options, for they limit the use of fat and reduce the risk of being overweight! Broccoli is a good source of cancer-protective flavonoids. Micorwaving destroys 90% of its flavonoids. So, it is wise to steam it, or stir fry this vegetable to hold the cancer preventing flavonoids.

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Go moderate on alcohol.

Alcohol is a known cause of mouth, throat, liver, colon and rectum cancers. People who drink alcohol should limit their intake to no more than a drink per day.

Protect yourself from the sun

Many skin cancers are caused by excess exposure to UV rays from the sun or other sources. Stay out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun rays are strongest. Avoid tanning beds, for these are just as damaging as UV rays.

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Don’t use tobacco

Cigarette smoking accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths. It has been linked to various types of cancer, including the cancer of lung, bladder, cervix and kidney. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.

Good, if you don’t smoke. But exposure to second hand and sidestream smoke might increase the risk of lung cancer! So, provide a safe, enjoyable and accessible environments for yourself and your family.

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You have the power, to reduce your cancer risk, by having a healthy diet, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.Aviary Photo_130298303425323766


  • Yikyung Park, Louise A Brinton, Amy F Subar, Albert Hollenbeck, and Arthur Schatzkin. Dietary fiber intake and risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women: the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr September 2009 vol. 90 no. 3 664-671
  • Wanqing Wen, Xiao Ou Shu, Honglan Li, Gong Yang, Bu-Tian Ji, Hui Cai, Yu-Tang Gao, and Wei Zheng. Dietary carbohydrates, fiber, and breast cancer risk in Chinese women. Am J Clin Nutr January 2009 vol. 89no. 1 283-289
  • Martin Lajous, Marie-Christine Bourton-Ruault, Alban Fabre, Francoise Clavel-Chapelon, and Isabelle Romieu. Carbohydrate intake, glycemic index, glycemic load, and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer in a prospective study of French women. Am J Clin Nutr May 2008 vol. 87 no. 5 1384-1391
  • Ernest H Rosenbaum, M.D. David Spiegel, M.D. Patricia Fobair, L.C.S.W., M.P.H. Hollyl Gautier, R.N. With Louise Maffitt, B.F.A. Everynone’s Guide to Cancer Survivorship; A Road Map for Bette Health. 2007
  • www.cancer.ie
  • http://www.aicr.org

Why eat Fungus?

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If you are like millions of weight watchers, with a fat-phobia and counting calories, here is an interesting weight losing tip!  Make room for mushroom and it is definite that you can maintain a pretty decent, healthy weight.

Mushroom – to lose weight? 

In the game of weight loss, the pretty & tiny sponge like mushroom is one of the powerful player.  Mushroom substituted for meat, aid in weight loss!  Sounds great. Isn’t?

Yes, 100 g of mushroom has only 25 kcal when compared to a grilled – lean beef of same weight that provides 175 kcal!

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A one-year randomized clinical trial by researchers at the Weight Management Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that substituting white button mushrooms, for red meat can be an useful strategy for enhancing and maintaining weight loss.

Increasing intake of low-energy-density foods like mushrooms, in place of high-energy density foods, like lean ground meat, can be an effective method for reducing daily energy and fat intake, while feeling full and satiated after the meal.

Lets make room for mushrooms, for their prominent flavor and health benefits. You can definitely make a difference in your health from this dainty mushrooms’ copious supply of favorable nutrients.

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Many think mushroom is not good for health because it is not green.   Surprisingly,  It has more potassium than a banana, which helps to maintain the rhythm of our heart!  It’s really a very valuable food for diabetic and heart patients, for its least quantity of carbohydrate and fat.   A tiny yet exquisite, is a wise addition to your plate!

The glutamic acid found in mushroom, is an amino acid, a natural flavor enhancer that entice even the most fussy eaters, to relish this low-energy- density fungus.   It is also formed naturally in the body, from other amino acids that you consume through a balanced diet.  Dairy products, meat, fish, eggs and cocoa are the other natural foods that are good sources of glutamic acid.

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Broccoli, mushroom with garlic

If you do not eat enough protein foods, you may not be able to get sufficient amount of glutamic acid.  Glutamic acid with glucose is one of the principal fuels for the brain. It helps get rid of ammonia, a metabolic by-product that is  toxic to both brain and muscle cells, from our body.Aviary Photo_130298985520354896

Mushrooms are available in different sizes, shapes, textures, and colors!  Portabella, shitake, enoki, oyster mushrooms are very common that are available in the grocery stores.

Mushroom, not only aids in weight loss, as a super food it helps prevent cancer and heal infection, too!  Studies have proven that Shitake mushroom will lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and heal infections. 

Mushroom is packed with selenium, copper and zinc. A real powerpack!

Selenium a powerful antioxidant, neutralizes free radicals and prevents the body from chronic diseases.  Along with vitamin E, selenium aids in the prevention of skin damage, too!  

The absorption of iron in the body relies on copper.  Iron is essential for the formation of hemoglobin that carries oxygen to all cells in the body.

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Zinc supports the metabolic rate, the speed at which our body creates and use up the energy.  Shitake and Crimini  mushrooms are good sources of zinc. 

I know that you are already convinced to have a room, for this tiny, cute mushrooms………………………..


Mushroom is great for what it is. Low in calorie and good for weight loss!  At the same time, it is low in protein also!  It has only 3-4% protein when compared to beans, 8-13% and red meat, 25-35%. However, this is easy to compensate.  Combination of mushroom with beans (like red kidney beans, black beans, soybeans), lean red meat, poultry and fish will provide one of the best tasting protein!  

Black bean with mushroom is heart healthy!  How about a bowl of brown rice with mushroom & kidney bean curry, for lunch? Sounds great!  

To conclude, I’d like to say that mushroom is highly nutritious, low in calorie that aids in weight loss and at the same time would also like to emphasis on exercise that is equal to diet when it comes to losing weight.  Aerobic exercise has important cardiovascular and metabolic implications.  The age-old advice, “Eat less and move more to lose weight, still holds true!


  • Boston University Medical Center (2013, April 22). Mushrooms can provide as much vitamin D as supplements. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130422132801.htm
  • Leslie M Klevay, MD, SD in Hyg: “Lack of a Recommended Dietary Allowance for Coppermay be Hazardous to Your Health,” J Am Coll Nutr August 1998 vol. 17 no. 4 322-326
  • D. Craig Willcox, PhD, Bradley J. Willcox, MD, Hidemi Todoriki, PhD, Makoto Suzuki, MD, PhD: “The Okinawan Diet: Health Implications of a Low-Calorie,Nutrient-Dense, Antioxidant-Rich Dietary Pattern Low in Glycemic Index,” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 28, No. 4, 500S–516S (2009)
  • www.medicalnewstoday.com
  • http://www.eatright.org