All Diabetic Kitchen devotees know that fiber can do wonders for health and blood sugar. If you’re still on the fence about the benefits of fiber, perhaps this new study will change your mind. The findings – you could help protect your brain by eating more fiber!
The study links brain aging and cognitive decline to inflammation in the brain. Research has found that fiber increases the production of a fatty acid that helps to prevent brain inflammation. Protecting brain health has never been more important, especially for diabetics.
Nearly 5.5 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This progressive brain disease destroys an individual’s memory, decision-making and communication skills. One out of every eight individuals over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s. One out of every two individuals over the age of 85 have the disease. As the baby-boomer generation ages, Alzheimer’s diagnosis rates are expected to skyrocket.
Research has now proven a link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s. When blood sugar is too high, the extra sugar causes damage to nerves and organs in the body. Damage to blood vessels in the brain, along with the inflammation caused by high blood sugar, can also encourage the development of the disease. The negative effects of insulin resistance on a diabetic’s brain can also stimulate cognitive decline.
This new research however, gives hope in the fight against brain aging – fiber! Eating 25 to 35 grams of fiber every day may seem intimidating, but there are a ton of delicious fiber-filled foods out there waiting for you. Here are a few high-fiber, brain-boosting favorites.
Avocados – The high fiber content and good fats in avocados fuel both brain and body. Their levels of folate and vitamin K improve blood flow, helping to prevent blood clots in the brain. This protects against stroke, as well as, improves memory and cognitive performance.
Beans and Lentils – One cup of cooked red kidney beans contains 13 grams of fiber. A cup of black beans packs 15 grams of fiber, and white beans contain over 18 grams per cup. Lentils (which are 40% fiber) also digest slowly, helping to keep blood sugar stable.
Broccoli – One cup of steamed broccoli contains nearly 5 grams of fiber. Plus, this cruciferous green veggie contains high levels of vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate – helping to improve memory.
Nuts – An easy, convenient way to quickly increase your fiber intake. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, all delicious little jewels of nutrition. Research has shown that walnuts improve many cognitive functions like reasoning and memory, and boost mood!
Popcorn– Make sure you air-pop your popcorn fresh; no preservative-filled bags from the supermarket allowed! Drizzle with olive oil (or indulge with a bit of truffle oil), add some dried herbs, or simply sprinkle with salt and pepper. Three cups of air-popped popcorn contain more than 3 grams of fiber, while being low in calories. Popcorn is also low-glycemic, making it a great snack option for diabetics.
Quinoa – A wide variety of grains contain fiber, but few pack as nutritious a punch as quinoa. Quinoa is easy to digest and gluten-free, while being high in other essential nutrients such as iron, vitamin B-6, potassium and magnesium.
Diabetics (and non-diabetics alike) need to focus on brain health, as well as blood sugar. What more enjoyable way to protect your brain than by eating delicious food? Get started by checking out these 10 Incredible Foods & Recipes for boosting brain health!