Keep Your Mind Sharp the Mediterranean Way.

Zucchini pasta
If I told you I had a pill that had no downside whatsoever and it helped reduce age related memory loss, would you take it? Guess what, it’s exercise! Open your door and walk 15 minutes in one direction and 15 minutes back.

You’ve probably heard of the Mediterranean diet and entertained visions of mounds of pasta drizzled in olive oil. Make that whole-grain pasta, and you’ve got yourself a deal. But the fresh fish, in-season produce, olive oil, wine, and yes, pasta, of the Mediterranean isn’t the whole story. Europeans walk. Everywhere.

It’s this balance of healthy whole foods (no Mediterranean mama would serve you out of a box or can) and exercise that is the real key to a healthy lifestyle – and long memory.

Let’s break down the diet first. Seafood and olive oil are everywhere and are both sources of Omega-3 fatty acids that help your brain function better. In Mediterranean cuisine, fresh green olive oil is often drizzled lightly over vine-ripened tomatoes from the morning market, with basil leaves picked minutes before from the terra cotta pot in the garden. The concentration is on eating whole fresh foods, and walking to and from that morning market!

  • Try grilling white fish lightly brushed with oil and served with a squeeze of lemon on top of fresh asparagus, or serve on top of zucchini “pasta” with cherry tomatoes and pine nuts.
  • Diets rich in leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and chard also help memory function. Try Greek Spanikopita (cooked spinach wrapped in phyllo) or Turkish Cacik – a spinach yogurt dip with garlic, lemon juice, dill, parsley, mint and EVOO.
  • And let’s not forget coffee. Greek coffee, Italian espresso, or French café latte – caffeine has been shown to slow memory loss (black tea works just as well). Unfiltered coffee can raise your HDL cholesterol though, so if that is a concern, stay away from espresso and French Press methods. Check with your doctor before adding caffeine to your diet if you have high blood pressure, IBS, or Crohn’s disease.

But most importantly – remember to walk every day. Remember that, and you’ll be amazed at how much more you remember for the rest of your life.

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Sweet (Healthy) Treats This Summer…

It’s the middle of summer and the heat is on full blast (and so is your air conditioner). A popsicle is the way to go if you’re looking to cool down. But instead of going out to the grocery store and picking out a frozen form of high fructose corn syrup, try doing it yourself and making healthy popsicles that you won’t regret later.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Freezes

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These sweet-tart popsicles are great for a hot picnic or cooling dessert. Dark chocolate and raspberries are high in antioxidants and are known to fight heart disease. Blend ¼ cup dark chocolate into 1 cup raspberries and 1 cup greek yogurt. Add raw honey to sweeten. Dish into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.

Dark Chocolate Kiwi Pops

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This one’s easy. All you have to do is slice kiwi fruit into bite-size pieces, put them on a popsicle stick, dip them in molten dark chocolate, and freeze. These pops will knock your ice cream man’s socks off. They’re super healthy and everyone loves them. The dark chocolate and kiwi combination lowers blood sugar and builds beautiful skin.

Watermelon Ice-Cubes

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Who doesn’t love cold lemonade on a hot day. But ice-cubes melting in the glass waters down those sweet n’ sour sips. Try pureeing a small watermelon (without the rinds, of course), mint leaves, and 1 teaspoon agave. Then freeze overnight in an ice-cube tray and add to your lemonade. Watermelon has a surprising amount of antioxidants, vitamin A and C, and can lower blood pressure. Agave nectar is a natural sweetener that is healthier than normal sugar. Together, they boost the immune system and fight harmful bacteria in your body.

Vanilla Peach Popsicles

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Peaches are in this month, so why not use fresh, ripe peaches in your next popsicle? Fiber, vitamin C, and potassium in peaches promotes heart health and healthy skin and hair. Blend together 3 medium, pitted peaches, ⅓ cup organic orange juice, and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract. Add a small amount of stevia if you want it to be more sweet. Chop another peach and add the pieces into your mix. You can also add greek yogurt to the mix for a creamier consistency. Distribute the mix into popsicle molds and freeze overnight