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The Doctors Links Food to Brain Health

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Ok, they got me with the promo. "This is your brain. This is your brain after making poor food choices. Next on The Doctors." The image was a brain shrinking. So I had to watch.

I learned some interesting findings about food and brain health, and also which foods help heal and prevent some common ailments, including low mood and energy.

While most of us know we should be eating more fruits and vegetables and less sugar, processed foods and refined carbohydrates, it appears, as seen from brain scans, that brains actually shrink as you become obese.

It's also interesting that our brains compel us to eat more when we eat sugar and foods containing sugar, including fructose. They stimulate the pleasure center of the brain. That stimulation drives the brain to want more. Your brain then sends you a signal that it's not satiated, so eat more! In contrast, when you eat a low sugar meal the pleasure center of the brain calms down.

Here's the list of what foods may help benefit what ailments:

Cold Sores: For prevention, try oil from the lemon balm plant. To slow the viral growth, honey and yogurt both may help.

Bruising: Beans, kale and pineapple can help speed healing due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

Macular Degeneration: While most fruits and vegetables support eye health, kiwi and fatty fish like salmon and tuna can help slow the progression of macular degeneration.

Sinus Infection: Eat foods high in zinc, particularly oysters, lean meats and whole grains. They can help prevent colds and flu, which can lead to sinus infections.

Sex: To fuel your libido, reach for nuts, oysters and garlic.

Dry Flaky Skin: Mangoes help act as an internal moisturizer.

Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Age Spots: Cottage cheese for its antioxidant properties.

Acne/Rosacea: Mushrooms for their riboflavin and anti-inflammatory properties

Psychiatrist Dr. Drew Ramsey, co-author of The Happiness Diet, cited these top five foods as brain-boosters and mood-enhancers:

1. Mesclun greens
2. Walnuts
3. Red beans
4. Blue and red skin potatoes
5. Coffee and chocolate

Dr. Ramsey also stated, "Food choices may affect your brain more than anything else," and cited studies that link poor diet to depression. Those who eat more processed foods seem to have an increase in depression. Ramsey recommended wild salmon and shrimp and cherry tomatoes as mood-enhancers.

You can catch excerpts from the program, and much of this information is also in the book the show highlighted, Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal.

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Riva's new book, Diabetes Dos & How-Tos, is available now, along with 50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life and the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It and The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes. Riva speaks to patients and health care providers about flourishing with diabetes. Visit her website DiabetesStories.com.