Continuing with our week of ways to keep a sharp mind, let’s focus on the one widely accepted indicator for dementia or alzheimer’s: heart disease. If one wants to dramatically reduce the chances of brain degredation, the first step to take is keeping the heart healthy.
The key advice most health specialists agree on when it comes to a healthy heart is the reduction (ideally eliminatain) of unhealthy fats in the diet. The unhealthy fats are usually seen as solid fats, like butter, margerine, and shortening. However, it’s important to not overlook the fats that are also found in meats. By substituting unhealthy fats with something healthier for your heart (like extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil), as well as transitioning to leaner meats if you are a meat eater, you will be taking some important steps in keeping your heart healthy, as well as your mind.
While eliminating the unhealthy fats from your body, it’s also equally important to include more fresh vegetables, nuts, and fruits which can help heal the body. Although studies haven’t been conclusive, there is strong evidence that individuals who regularly consume fresh, water-rich vegetables and fruits tend to have a lower incidence of memory loss.
Today’s recipe is not only free from unhealthy fats, it also contains a good amount of magnesium and potassium (found in the broccoli and the walnuts), both which have been found to lower blood pressure and reduce heart palpitations.
Walnut Pesto Broccoli
- 2 heads broccoli, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups, firmly packed basil
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts
- 1/2 to 1 cup olive oil (depending on desired consistency)
- 1-2 Tabelspoons lemon juice (to taste)
- 1 tiny clove fresh garlic
- 2 teaspoons quality salt (or more, to taste)
Remove the tough outer peel from the broccoli stalks. Chop broccoli into small, bite-sized pieces. Put aside in a large bowl.
In a food processor, place basil, walnuts, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Process until you create a nice pesto sauce, adding more oil to achieve the consistency you prefer.
Massage pesto sauce into broccoli pieces and set aside for a while, allowing the broccoli to soften a bit.
Remember, the stronger your heart is, the sharper your mind is going to be! So, be sure to limit unhealthy fats and meats while also increasing fresh vegetables, nuts, and fruits (particularly those loaded with magnesium and potassium) in your diet. Also, remember to come back tomorrow for more tips and a new recipe to help keep you fresh and mentally focused.
Photo by Ross Castrow on Flickr (Creative Commons).