Healthy Brain & Heart Function From Omega 3 Fatty Acids

by Ginger Marin

The human brain consists primarily of fat and cholesterol and the majority of the fatty acids in the brain are saturated. Saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources provide a concentrated source of energy in your diet and provide the building blocks for all your cell membranes as well as a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances. Some saturated fats function directly as signaling messengers that influence metabolism including the appropriate release of insulin. A diet deficient in healthy saturated fats, therefore, will rob your brain of the raw materials it needs to function optimally.

Omega 3 Fats: Essential To Health
Omega 3 essential fatty acids are a special type of protective fat that the body itself cannot manufacture. People who don’t get enough Omega 3 fatty acids in their diets are more likely to experience learning disabilities, dementia and depression. Omega-3s also reduce inflammation and inhibit blood clots, the underlying cause of most strokes. Omega-3s come from fish and krill (a type of shrimp-like marine invertebrate animal), flaxseeds and some nuts, but there’s a big difference in how well different kinds of Omega-3s are utilized by the body.
Fatty fish is also high in choline, a substance used to manufacture one of the main neurotransmitters (acetylcholine) involved in memory. Many people believe flaxseeds are an adequate substitute for fish. They’re not. Although flaxseeds contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a form of omega-3, only about 10% of ALA is converted to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), the most beneficial forms of omega-3s, precisely the ones that are plentiful in fish oil.

Walnuts for Health
Walnuts play a role in a balanced diet and are a good source of alpha-linoleic acid. When it comes to their health benefits, walnuts definitely are regarded as a “brain food” not only because of the wrinkled brain like appearance of their shells but because of their high concentration of omega 3 fats. They’re also high in proteins and vitamins, especially in vitamins B and E groups.

Walnuts have many health benefits ranging from cardiovascular protection to the promotion of better cognitive function and the anti-inflammatory benefit that is useful for asthma patients, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. Walnuts also contain an anti-oxidant compound called ellagic acid that supports the immune system and appears to have several anti-cancer properties.

Studies show that increasing the dietary intake of walnuts produces favorable effects on high cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors.

Omega-3s benefit the cardiovascular system by assisting in preventing erratic heart rhythms, making blood less likely to clot inside arteries which is the proximate cause of most heart attacks and improve the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to potentially harmful (LDL) cholesterol.

Walnuts also contain relatively high levels of L-arginine, an essential amino acid which becomes a special import in hypertensive persons. Human body according to experts converts l-arginine into nitric oxide, a chemical that helps keep the inner walls of blood vessels smooth and allows blood vessels to relax. Since individuals with hypertension find it difficult to maintain normal nitric oxide levels which may also lead to other significant health issues such as diabetes and heart problems, walnuts can serve as a great addition to their diets.

Recent research found that walnuts have significant antioxidant value and their consumption (a mere handful) at least 4 times a week can reduce by 37% the risk of coronary heart disease while each additional serving of nuts per week shows 8.3% reduced risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease. Prevention and control of high blood pressure is also one of the benefits derived from eating walnuts. A daily ounce of walnuts also improve the cholesterol profile in persons with type 2 diabetes. The nuts are found to reduce levels of several molecules that promote atherosclerosis.

So Which is Better: Walnuts or Fish Oil?

In a recent clinical trial comparing the two types of omega-3s, researchers at Loma Linda University in California found that plant-derived omega-3 in walnuts offers different heart-health benefits than the marine-derived omega-3 you would find in salmon. So for optimal heart health, you need to include both plant and marine sources in your diet. Unfortunately, a number of fatty fish contain mercury and so do some over-the-counter supplements made from them. When purchasing a fish oil supplement, look for “molecularly distilled’ on the label to ensure that the product you’re buying has been screened and filtered of all contaminants. Some people use eggs enriched with omega-3s, but in most cases the omega-3 is plant derived from flaxseeds, so you’re not going to get the benefit of high DHA as you would if consuming fish.

The study which was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that the omega-3 fats in walnuts significantly lowered total and LDL (bad) cholesterol more than the omega-3 fats in fatty fish, whereas fish lowered triglyceride levels more than walnuts. Interestingly, walnuts had no impact on triglyceride levels, compared with the control (no walnuts or fish) diet, while fatty fish raised HDL (good) and LDL cholesterol.

Walnuts were chosen as the plant source of omega-3 fatty acids because the FDA advises a daily intake of 1.5 ounces (about 14 whole walnuts) as part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol, calorie-stable diet for people who want to reduce their risk for heart disease. Salmon was chosen as the fish source because it is a particularly rich source of marine omega-3, and the American Heart Association advises consumption of two servings of four-ounces of fatty fish per week for prevention of heart disease. Note: Even though this particular study was underwritten by the California Walnut Growers Association, many doctors, particularly alternative medicine practitioners agree that walnuts are a valuable addition to any diet.

When it comes to your omega-3s, a diet rich in both types is certainly the way to go to improve both heart health and brain function.

Brain Mapping & Neurodevelopment For Health & Anti-Aging

by Ginger Marin

Quantitative Electroencephalography (QEEG) or “Brain Mapping” is an FDA approved, evidence-based diagnostic tool that measures the speed and processing of brain function. It is a powerful tool for identifying significant excess and/or deficiencies (abnormalities) in an individual’s brain electrical patterns that can be associated with disorders such as learning and memory problems, attention-hyperactivity disorders, anxiety and depression. Put simply, the brain map objectively and scientifically evaluates a person’s brainwave function.

Aging & Brain Health

Research shows that at around the age of 40, the brain naturally begins to slow. Brain wave activity can decrease, which can affect focus, memory and energy. There is greater susceptibility to stress related problems, which can result in depression, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, weakened immune systems, decreased sexual vitality, insomnia and other sleep related disorders.

It’s estimated that you have about one hundred billion neurons in your brain. It has been speculated that you lose about one thousand neurons each day after you reach the age of 40. Research indicates that stimulating the brain regularly can offset this loss. That’s why it’s suggested that you do word puzzles and other types of brain games to keep yourself fit.

When you look at the brain and how it works and then at the body and how it works, you can see how the two work in tandem: healthy body equals healthy brain and vice versa.

Brain mapping utilizes an objective measurement and assessment procedure which pinpoints where the slower brain wave activity is located and why certain issues may be occurring. Based on the results of your assessments through this FDA approved procedure, an individualized program for reclaiming and regaining your full potential at any age can be developed through neurodevelopment training.

Stuck Brain vs A Normal Functioning Brain

Symptoms such as attention and focus problems, learning and memory difficulties, and mood disorders (anxiety and depression) often occur when our brain’s processing ability is dysfunctional or damaged. We often find that its ability to function efficiently is inadequate to do the required or desired job.

Based upon the brain’s natural ability to adapt, a damaged brain will attempt to survive by releasing neuro-inhibitors to protect its limited resources. In doing so it locks itself into a particular electro-chemical pattern in order to not make matters worse. When this happens, we find ourselves losing attentional flexibility which reduces our ability to adapt to varying circumstances.

Our personality generally becomes rigid as well as feelings of there being no solutions to our problems. This is often the root of an overwhelming sense of helplessness, hopelessness and tends to drives us to mood extremes, such as depression, anger and even uncontrollable rage.

Brain Mapping Procedure

The procedure may take about approximately two hours. It generally consists of placing a snug cap on the head which contains small electrodes to measure the electrical patterns coming from the brain. It is completely non-invasive. There is no pain or discomfort associated with the procedure. After your brain is mapped and assessments made as to what may be causing dysfunction, a neuro-feedback training program is established.

Neurofeedback Training

Neurofeedback training is brainwave biofeedback. During typical training, a couple of electrodes are placed on the scalp and one or two are usually put on the ear lobe. Then, high-tech electronic equipment provides you with real-time, instantaneous audio and visual feedback about your brainwave activity. The electrodes measure the electrical patterns coming from the brain. No electrical current is put into your brain. Your brainwave patterns are simply relayed to the computer and recorded.

Ordinarily, we cannot influence our brainwave patterns because we lack awareness of them. However, when you can see your brainwaves on a computer screen a few thousandths of a second after they occur, it gives you the ability to influence and change them. We are literally reconditioning and retraining the brain.

A New You

Think how wonderful it would be to retrain your brain to function at its optimum whether it be to perform better at sports, in school, in business, in the arts or just in everyday life. With brain mapping and neurodevelopment, you can now achieve a better you!

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