On the whole, my many years of research on substance use has taught me a major overarching lesson: we are much more likely to demonize drugs for their negative effects than consider their neutral or potentially positive impacts. Or -- in scientific terms -- there is a built-in bias in the scientific literature, textbooks, and popular press towards highlighting the negative aspects of drug use.
"I'm fine" seems to be the phrase of choice when someone asks how we're doing. We rarely take a moment to check in with ourselves and see if we are truly "fine." With Mental Health Week upon us in Canada, now is the perfect time to talk about all of the things we don't normally discuss. This week is a time to not only raise awareness about mental illness, but to also consider ways to improve our mental health.
The MIND diet combines elements of the well known Mediterranean and DASH diet, which lowers blood pressure levels, but the MIND diet has better results in lowering brain deterioration and is easier to follow. There are 10 healthy food groups to include and five unhealthy food groups to avoid when it comes to improving our brain health.
When I first launched the Women's Brain Health Initiative a few years ago, my primary goal was to create awareness about women's brain aging disorders. It was shocking to me that women suffer from depression, stroke and dementia twice as much as men as they age, but brain health research was male-focused.
Just like your playlist wouldn't be the same without your favourite song, tomatoes and broccoli should be staples in your meal any time of the year. Broccoli is a great source of Vitamin K, contributing to healthy and strong cognition, while tomatoes' antioxidant properties can prevent neurological damage often associated with dementia and Alzheimer's.
If you're comfortable in the kitchen and reach for your spice rack often then you're on the right track. If the opposite is true, and you steer clear of any meal containing spice, you should still take advantage of curcumin (the substance that gives turmeric it's bright yellow colour) because it can dramatically improve your health.