GROTON — Cold wind brought the temperatures down to 15 degrees as more than 30 people attended a free seminar at the Natural Market.
The November guest speaker was Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D., president of the Brain Health and Wellness Center in Acton and HealthCare Insights LLC, which develop and administer scientific evidence-based brain healthy lifestyle interventions for all ages, most notably the Memory Preservation Nutrition program.
The MPN is implemented in several assisted-living communities throughout the Boston area and has been taught to many via international and national conferences, organizations, seminars and individual and family consultations.
For more than 30 years, Lombardo has studied Alzheimer’s disease. She is an internationally recognized expert on brain-healthy lifestyles and a founder of the national Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Disease International. She is well published and is the recipient of many awards and honors from the scientific, medical and government communities.
As everyone sipped warming ginger-cinnamon-lemon tea, Lombardo explained the antiviral and anti-inflammatory benefits of ginger and cinnamon’s ability to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar.
This eye-opening session reminded everyone about the blood sugar connection to the heart and the brain., the same factors that increase the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes also increase the risk for Alzheimer’s.
Our brains’ health reflects what we eat, Lombardo reminded us; eating plenty of dark green leafy vegetables as well as brightly-colored vegetables along with dried beans, raw unsalted nuts (like walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts) along with very little beef and plenty of dark fleshed fish are some of the nutritional keys to brain health (add flax oil, flax and chia seeds, too).
Spice everything was her suggestion; cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, oregano and turmeric all contain health benefits — along with onions and garlic.
The must-dos include drinking lots of water, removing sugar and high fructose corn syrup from your diet (read labels) and decreasing the intake of processed foods. Drink green teas and vegetable juices daily. Reduce bad cholesterol and animal fats (forget fried foods). LDL cholesterol-reducing foods include nuts, beans, oatmeal, grapefruit, purple grapes and juice (no sugar added), niacin, fiber, fish, fish oil and certain spices.
Omega-3 fatty acids comprise a large portion of our brain cells and can only be ingested (not created by our bodies). Omega-3 supplements are anti-inflammatory (helpful in preventing and managing a variety of diseases) and they help build brain cell membranes and other key connections in the brain. Get omega-3 from fish or cod oil as well as olive oil.
Lombardo discussed other important supplements for brain health; they include B vitamins (make sure to get a B-50 complex that includes B-12 and niacin), vitamin E (be sure it is not synthetic), along with at least 2,000 IU of D3 (also not from a synthetic source).
As the session ended, Joan Reardon, owner of the Natural Market, reflected on the evening and promised to host more sessions like this one.
“The mission of this store is to prevent disease, and having experts here like Nancy provide much needed information that everyone can use each day,” she said. “I am thankful that Nancy found the time to share her expertise with everyone here.”
Lombardo is an adjunct research assistant professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, and BU Alzheimer’s Disease Center.
For information go to http://brainwellness.com.