Is the daily grind getting you down? No worries, you can eat your way to a happier state of being.
Between the constant onslaught of depressing news events and the stress of urban living, it can be a real challenge to stay upbeat. While we may not be able to fix the world’s problems or change our work situation (yet), there are some things you can do to give your overall wellbeing a boost.
In May this year, during the annual American Psychiatric Association (APA) meeting, researchers shared the burgeoning evidence surrounding the crucial role diet plays in brain health, especially in the areas of depression and dementia.
Drew Ramsey, MD, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, said, “The data are very clear that there’s a powerful prevention signal when we help our patients eat better.” Some of these key nutrients include long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, calcium, fibre, and vitamins B1, B9, B12, D, and E.
Professor Takuji Shirasawa, a renowned Japanese scientist and healthy ageing practitioner, was recently in Singapore to launch his new book, “Food for the Brain” with Singapore-based nutrition company MyKenzen, which offers readers chockfull of healthy tips on improving brain health. His main recommendation is to increase your intake of good fat.
While there are many ways to incorporate good fat in your diet – all of which are covered in the book – here’s one key thing to remember:
Reduce intake of omega-6 fatty acids and increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Wait, what are they?
Omega-6 and omega-3 are essential type of fatty acids that cannot be produced by the body therefore it has to be consumed from foods. Omega-6 fatty acids are widely present in foods such as common vegetable oils (e.g. safflower, corn, and soybean oil), poultry, and eggs. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods such as fatty fish (sardine, salmon, tuna, mackerel), walnuts, and flax seeds.
While foods containing omega-6 fatty acids aren’t inherently bad, too much of it can be problematic. Having a diet that is excessively high in omega-6 fatty acids can lead to higher risk of development of inflammatory diseases i.e. dementia, stroke, atherosclerosis, arthritis.
According to Professor Shirasawa, the average person in Japan is consuming 5 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. (In the US, it’s 15 times more!). The ideal ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids in your diet should be 1:1, but even by reducing your intake so that the ratio is 1:5 or 1:3, it can significantly help reduce your risk of depression and dementia.
Yuliana, an accredited nutritionist with MyKenzen says, “One simple way to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids is to eat at least two servings of fatty fish like sardines, salmon, mackerel, and tuna per week. One serving is equivalent to one palm size of cooked fatty fish (90 grams).”
Professor Shirasawa adds, “You can cut down vegetable-based cooking oil and replace with either coconut oil or olive oil. They do not contain omega-3, but they contain other good fat (medium-chain fatty acids for coconut oil, monounsaturated fats for olive oil) that have potential protective benefits on brain health. You can include coconut oil or coconut milk into your breakfast smoothie for that extra dose of good fat – as part of your balanced diet.”
“It is only with good food for our brain as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle that we can prevent premature degeneration of our mental health, allowing us to age gracefully and embrace our silver and golden years, ” says Professor Shirasawa.
Food for the Brain is available at POPULAR bookstores for SGD$9.90. From now to 30 September, purchase a copy of Food for the Brain and receive a free Ayam Brand Coconut Milk in 200ml, while stocks last.
We are giving away 5 “Food for the Brain” Hampers worth $225!
[This contest has ended]
Get a headstart on your Omega-3 consumption with these brain-happy hampers from MyKenzen! Each hamper is worth $45, and consists of the following:
1x Sardines in tomato sauce big oval 425g
1x Sardines in extra virgin olive oil 120g
1x Sardines in extra virgin olive oil and peppercorn 120g
1x Mackerel in tomato sauce 425g
1x Coconut cream 270ml
1x Coconut milk 270ml
1x Organic Virgin Coconut oil 220ml
1x Food for Brain recipe book by Professor Shirasawa and MyKenzen
Enter the draw by completing the following steps:
1. ANSWER this question in the Comments section below: “Name a food that contains Omega 3 fatty acids.”
2. LIKE Go Away’s Facebook Page. Only our fans are eligible for this contest.
3. SHARE this post on your Facebook*. Be sure to set your post on Public so we can see that this step has been done.
4. EMAIL your details (name, email, mobile number, and NRIC/passport number) to firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline: 18 July 2016, Monday, 6pm
*Only genuine Facebook users will be considered for the draw. We will not hesitate to disqualify those who only share and post contest giveaways on their FB.