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Fortifying Food for Your Brain

Fortifying Food for Your Brain

Kim Ode | Star Tribune, Minneapolis

Yet Somer said that the top health concern in the United States remains obesity, and she showed a series of slides from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta tracking the percentage of obese residents in all 50 states. Only Colorado has a prevalence of obesity less than 20 percent of its population. Six states, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, have rates above 30 percent. (To view the data, go to

This circles back to brain health, “because people overweight at 50 have a threefold increase of risk for dementia,” Somer said. Persuading people of the need to eat well, if not eat less, is difficult, mostly because the messages are more like warnings. “People want to know what they can eat, not what they can’t,” she said.

Somer, whose newest book is “Eat Your Way to Happiness” (Harlequin, $17), includes an appendix of more than 100 food products that meet the guidelines for “real foods,” or foods as close to their authentic form as possible. Think oatmeal instead of granola bars, sweet potatoes instead of sweet potato fries, water instead of vitamin water.

Whose guidelines are these? Well, that’s not clear, which is part of the difficulty in sorting out what’s credible and what’s not when it comes to nutrition advice. But there is a common-sense component to seeking out food that’s still in its “authentic” form, Somer said. “If you feed yourself junk, you feel like junk, and you’ll look like junk,” she said.

Kim Ode -612-673-7185

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