Not only does June suggest the beginning of summer, it also represents the month dedicated to Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness. Before becoming your own advocate for Alzheimer’s disease it is vital to gain an understanding of how exactly the brain works with versus without Alzheimer’s. Three sections make up the brain; the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the brain stem.
The cerebrum is probably what you think of when you imagine the brain. It contains all of the brain’s lobes (frontal,parietal, occipital, and temporal) that control major functions such as thinking, problem solving, remembering, feeling, etc. It is also responsible for movement control. The cerebellum is located underneath the cerebrum, towards the back of the head. You can blame your coordination and balance skills on this part of the brain. The brain stem serves as the extension cord between your brain and spinal cord, and controls automatic functions which are functions that we do not need to consciously tell our bodies to perform. Such as breathing, digesting, heart rate, and blood pressure.
The most valuable players of the brain, are the neurons. The branches extending from these nerve cells connect at over 100 trillion points, and the average adult brain contains around 100 billion cells. This network of neurons, often referred to as a neuron forest, releases signals that travel through the “forest”. Thus signals represent the basis of memories, thoughts, and feelings; all functions that decline in Alzheimer’s patients.
The signals move along the neurons, which connect to one another at the synapse. The signals, which act as electrical charges, often trigger the release of neurotransmitters once they reach the synapse. As these neurotransmitters travel across the synapse, they transmit signals to other cells. This transmission results in the creation of a code that our brains generate in order to explain thoughts, memories, skills, and other characteristics that differentiate us from one another. Our brain’s coding alters whenever we experience new situations, skills, people, emotions, etc.
So now the question is, how is all of this effected by Alzheimer’s disease?
The neurons are the main type of cell destroyed by Alzheimer’s, hence the electrical charges and the neurotransmitter activity are disrupted. As a result of the interference of neurons and their connection to one another, the brain’s code is misinterpreted. This explains why early signs of Alzheimer’s typically include memory loss and confusion.
When neurons and surrounding tissue are lost, the brain experiences shrinkage. As the anatomy diminishes, it becomes inefficient resulting in the deterioration of specific functions. When the brain’s cortex is impaired, thinking, planning, and remembering becomes compromised. The hippocampus, an area of the cortex responsible for the formation of new memories, experiences extreme depreciation in Alzheimer’s patients.
Fluid-filled spaces in the brain, called ventricles, expand. And plaques, which are clusters of protein fragments, build up between neurons. Tangles are present within the dead and/or dying neurons, these twisted strands of protein along with the plagues are suspected to be the culprits behind cell death and tissue loss in the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient. As the disease progresses, plagues and tangles spread through the cortex. The quicker the spread, the more severe the Alzheimer’s is; hence how long the patient will experience symptoms of the disease. Similar to the brain, each case of Alzheimer’s is unique, to find out more information, visit www.alz.org.
February is upon us, and this month we acknowledge the American Heart Month, the Chocolate Lover’s month and Valentine’s Day! It’s a great month to appreciate the good things in life, like abundant good health, strong relationships, and delicious chocolate! American’s eat 2.8 billion pounds or 11 pounds of chocolate per person in a year. The best news about chocolate and cocoa, ideally organic and non-GMO types, is that they positively impact your heart, your mood, and your relationships! Chocolate is linked to 37% lower risk of heart disease and appears to protect against high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes – all of which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Furthermore, it has phenylethylamine “the love drug” that arouses feelings of attraction and excitement associated with the initial euphoria of falling in love. This chemical also acts as an anti-depressant by combining with dopamine a naturally produced neurotransmitter in the brain. The amino acid Tryptophan in chocolate is used by the brain to make the neurotransmitter serotonin which is noted for creating feelings of happiness and wellbeing. In addition to being a heart-healthy, mood enhancing food source, chocolate’s antioxidants are worth noting.
The darker the chocolate and the less processed – the higher antioxidant levels. Chocolate comes from cocoa beans which are rich in antioxidant flavonoids called flavanols. Studies have shown individuals with high levels of flavonoids have a lower risk of heart disease, lung cancer, prostate cancer, asthma and type 2 diabetes. Penn State University showed that diets rich in cocoa powder and dark chocolate showed lower oxidation levels of bad LDL cholesterol, and higher blood antioxidant levels, and higher levels of good HDL cholesterol. As with all good things, moderation is the key to good health. The recommended amount is an ounce of dark chocolate a day. Select smart, wise ways to consume chocolate and always balance it with a healthy dose of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
Smart heart-healthy chocolate choices to consider include, making your own cocoa powder bars and smoothies with a nutritional product like Juice Plus chocolate complete powder. The only protein powder backed by scientific research supporting the numerous health benefits. This power gives you a health-enhancing dose of antioxidants from over 30 organic, non-GMO, dehydrated fruits and vegetables which provides you with a powerhouse of nutrition that supports every inch of your mind, and body.
One of the healthiest chocolate bar treats to share starting this month consists of – 1 mashed banana, 1 ½ cups dry oatmeal, 2 tbs ground flax seed, 2-4 scoops chocolate Juice Plus, ¼ cup organic peanut butter, ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, ¼ cup coconut oil, ¼ cup raisins, ¼ cup water, ½ cup organic dark chocolate chips. Mix all ingredients and line an 8×8 inch pan with foil. Spread mixture in pan. Melt chocolate on the stove and drizzle over bar mixture. Place pan in the freezer until solid. Thaw slightly to serve. Another treat to try is a chocolate smoothie with a twist: 1 scoop chocolate Juice Plus+ complete powder, ½ frozen banana, ½ cup almond milk, 2 tsp organic peanut butter, ¼ cup water, 2 tsp unsweetened organic cocoa powder, and ¼ tsp cocoa nibs. Mix in a blender until blended, add nibs after mixing.
When we consider heart-healthy ways to consume the foods we love we feel less deprived which leads to us sticking with better, health-wise food choices. Moreover, making smarter nutritional decisions are further supported by us feeling better, looking better and performing better. Given the right nutrients, our bodies handle stress better, recover more quickly from illness and have the tools needed to fight disease. So, this month you can have your chocolate and your health. Bon appetite!
January is the month of resolutions; renewed commitments to fitness, nutrition, nontoxic products, diet and taking better care of ourselves, are a few of many improvements we commit to annually. This month is a great time to look at making positive health changes. As we look inward, we may ponder areas we want to change or improve from last year. Some accomplishments we are proud of, and some, we feel could be improved, so we make big plans to make positive changes for the New Year. While our effort may be on target and our actions on the right path, some still struggle with seeing and feeling the results of major lifestyle improvements through diet, exercise, good nutrition, and nontoxic products. Often, mainstream or fad diets are only temporary solutions and they don’t get to the heart of the matter and searching for nontoxic products that won’t encourage disease and alter our hormones is challenging. Really, who can even pronounce half of the ingredients we need to avoid! Our health is unique with each of us carry DNA from our parents and previous generations which create our distinctive genic code that might carry alternations that impact our health. One of these alternations may well impact our thyroid. This disease is brought to our awareness in January, as millions of individuals are newly diagnosed with the disease and learn how to best manage it through medication, diet, alternative treatments, and lifestyle modifications, among other changes.
The thyroid gland is located below our Adam’s apple and wraps around the trachea (windpipe) and is controlled by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. Thyroiditis means “inflammation of the thyroid gland” and includes different variations of the disease such as” Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, postpartum thyroiditis, and subacute thyroiditis to name a few. Thyroiditis consists of an immune (antibody) attack on the thyroid causing inflammation and damage to the cells. Thyroid disease can be overactive (Hyperthyroidism) or underactive (Hypothyroidism). Our energy, weight, bone density, hair, skin and nail quality, among other things are impacted by this disease. The thyroid uses iodine to produce critical hormones, namely, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) which are produced by the gland. When the thyroid hormone levels are low, the hypothalamus in the brain produces a hormone called thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TSH), which stimulates the thyroid gland to release more T4. When you have the disease your body either produces too much or too little of the hormones needed for proper function.
Thyroid function benefits from good nutrition as do all diseases. Non Genetically Modified Organisms (non-GMO), and Organic whole foods provide your body with nutrients to assist it in performing at optimal levels. Look for foods known to reduce inflammation, such as fruits, vegetables, fish and olive oil. Some of the best foods include leafy greens which are packed with nutrients like vitamin A, C and K, potassium, and fiber. Fruits such as apples have skins that are rich in pectin and detoxify our body by sticking to toxic compounds like mercury and excreting them through our urine. Pectin also can limit the amount of fat our cells absorb, so it’s diet friendly. Seaweed is rich in iodine which feeds the thyroid with what it needs to function properly. Yogurt protects the thyroid because it’s rich in vitamin D which helps with weight maintenance, and provides good bacteria that support a healthy gut balance which positively impacts our weight. Salmon is one of the best fish for metabolism because of its anti-inflammatory properties from the omega-3 fatty acids. Also, studies suggest that fish fatty acids may signal thyroid cells in the liver to burn more fat. With all fish, it’s best to purchase wild-caught versus farmed to avoid contaminants that may impact your thyroid function. It’s difficult to get the recommended daily allowances of fruits and vegetables and omegas from fish and olive oil, so finding a supplement that is backed by scientific research that bridges the nutritional gap is vital to good health.
Another area that needs some mention is your skin. Your skin is also impacted by your thyroid so maintaining healthy skin begins with good nutrition and a healthy thyroid begins with removing products with toxins from your skin care and makeup. Look for those products that provide proof that they omit the hundreds of toxins currently in many of the products on the market. Skincare and makeup products aren’t regulated by the government, and self-regulation has its limits, so look for products that provide clear information that they clean from harmful ingredients. Your body will thank you.
New Year’s resolutions are easier to keep when you build your knowledge on what can help your body perform at its best through good nutrition and nontoxic products. Taking small steps towards changing bad choices and replacing them with good choices will help you age better, look better and feel better. Are you up for the challenge to feel and look your best?
The cold and snowy weather is upon us, and this is the time of year when our bones, muscles, and joints are more sensitive to the elements. For those with Rheumatoid Arthritis the soreness, stiffness, and achiness are even more pronounced. There is not a cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis, but diet can help with reducing the symptoms.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” Hippocrates. This quote still rings true. The key to maintaining good health and minimalizing the symptoms of all chronic diseases is a well-balanced diet. Plant-based nutrition from a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, along with lean protein sources rich in Omega-3 fatty acids will give your body what it needs to battle AD and other diseases.
Consuming fish and fish oils have been shown to relieve inflammation that results in morning stiffness which leads to tender joints. Fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, Albacore tuna, and salmon are rich in Omega-3s. The omegas in fish oil come from the algae fish eat. Omegas can also be obtained from plant-based sources such as Chia seeds, Brussels sprouts, Hemp Seed, Walnuts, Flaxseeds, and oils namely, Perilla Oil and Algal Oil among other sources.
Joint pain and stiffness can also be improved by increasing fiber intake from a variety of sources. Fiber helps lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood, which is an indicator of Inflammation. Some of the best sources of fiber to lower CRP are oat bran, rye bran, and sugar beet fiber.
Including extra-virgin olive oil in your diet can also help reduce inflammation, similarly to that of ibuprofen or Aspin. It contains a compound called oleocanthal that blocks the enzymes that cause inflammation. Despite it taking about 3 ½ tablespoons to equal the anti-inflammatory properties of ibuprofen, it has other health benefits so it’s a better alternative to your diet than other oils.
Other food sources that reduce inflammation are green tea, green tea extract, and resveratrol, cocoa, and dark chocolate, to name a few. Consider adding these food sources to your diet.
On the flip side, there are foods that increase inflammation in the body which should be avoided. Grilled meats, such as hamburgers, chicken, and other grilled meats can raise the amount of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in the blood. Higher AGEs have been detected in the blood of those with the AD. Other foods to avoid are those with omega-6 fatty acids as found in corn, sunflower, safflower and soybean oils, and many fried foods. These have been linked to increased inflammation in the blood.
Overall the best defense to fighting inflammation is a good diet. The Mediterranean diet which naturally includes plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetable and whole grains, among other goodies like red wine has been observed as the best diet for improving one’s overall health. What we eat matters at all stages of life, so as the New Year begins, now is the perfect time to improve your health with better food choices so you can have a great quality of life for years to come.
With the New Year comes some food for thought..and health!
Our gut microflora (microbiome) holds trillions of microorganisms that regulate our immunity, endocrine system, digestion, and metabolism.
Recent discoveries link our gut microbiome with mood, cardiovascular health and the ability to fight disease. It appears that restoring optimum gut-flora balance may promote long-term health.
The most important gut microbiome is in the bifidobacteria group. Bacteria in this association appear to fight allergies, high cholesterol levels, respiratory diseases, diabetes, stress, and anxiety among other benefits. Unfortunately, as we age our bifidobacteria decline. Children have the highest levels, but over time – age, poor diet, and antibiotic use reduce our levels. According to the research, we start life with about 60% of healthy bifidobacteria, and by adulthood, we decline to 30%-40%, which falls to about 10% in late middle age to a low of 5% in old age.
It’s important as we age to provide bifidobacteria with the right food sources to grown and flourish in our guts. The number one source for this healthy bacteria is prebiotic soluble fiber. It’s worth noting that all prebiotics are fiber, but not all fiber is prebiotic. To be classified as a prebiotic food fiber must, 1) resist gastric acidity, enzymatic hydrolysis, and upper gastrointestinal tract absorption, 2) be fermented by intestinal flora, 3) stimulate growth and/or activity of beneficial bacteria.
There are several prebiotics that aid in shifting the microbial in our gut, but one stands out from the crowd, xylooligosaccharides (XOS). XOS are found in Bamboo shoots, Chicory Root, Jerusalem artichoke, Dandelion Greens, Garlic, Leeks, Onions, Asparagus, Wheat Bran, Banana, and honey, among other fruits, vegetables, and additional sources. There are also supplements of XOS, but be careful to check the brand to ensure quality and consistency. Several brands can be researched on consumerlab.com to verify excellence.
As you review your New Year resolutions for positive healthy habits, pay close attention to your inner body and the relationship your gut has with your overall health. What you put in and on your body matters. Consider adding XOS to your diet in a form that makes sense to you. Improve your microbiome with a diet high in prebiotic soluble fiber, and you may find that your health, mood, and ability to fight disease will improve.
What we eat every day is a main source of health, and our natural disease killer.
The best way known to prevent Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases is to have a healthy lifestyle. It includes great nutrition (with nutrient-dense foods- high in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, low in sugar and toxins); regular aerobic exercise (especially when you enjoy it); good sleep (in a routine and truly restful); and being happy (doing what you love, building healthy relationships, and managing stress).
It is essential to be aware that lifestyle is constant, habitual, and built throughout our lives. Thus, start with one of its areas and improve – you will definitely see results with consistency.
On this post the main goal is to share information about how to use food in our favor. As the father of medicine Hippocrates said once: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Today, learn about some foods that are great for the body and for the mind. These are exceptional foods, great for Alzheimer’s disease prevention but also for overall health.
The Brain Foods
The anthocyanins and flavonoids found in blueberries are polyphenols that act as powerful, natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, so they help protect the entire body from free radicals and inflammation. Studies have shown that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to much younger rats. It is not fully understood how these plant nutrients affect the brain, but it is likely that the polyphenols improve nerve connections and stimulate cell repair. Make sure you implement your diet with some blueberries.
2. Wild Salmon
This and other deep water fish (mackerel, sardines) are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are an essential part of brain structure and function. This fatty acid can lower blood levels of beta-amyloid, a protein related to Alzheimer’s. A Columbia University study found that the more Omega-3 fatty acids a person eats, the lower their blood beta-amyloid levels. The recommended is about 8oz per week.
3. Nuts and Seeds
There are so many different options of flavors,presentation and ways to use these amazing foods that no one can get bored! Walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, flax seed, as well as nut butters (without sugar) and tahini. Almonds and Hazelnuts are two of the most concentrated sources of vitamin E available, and vitamin E intake is generally associated with less age-related cognitive decline. Walnuts are the top nut for brain health. They have a significantly high concentration of DHA, a type of Omega-3, which has been shown to protect brain health in newborns, improve cognitive performance in adults, and prevent or ameliorate age-related cognitive decline. DHA is also related to neurogenesis, the regeneration of neurons.
Healthy unsaturated fats in avocados help keep your brain cell membranes flexible, according to Kansas State University. A study published in the October 2012 issue of the “Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology” found that monounsaturated fatty acids helped protect nerve cells in the brain known as astrocytes, which provide support to information-carrying nerves. Its monounsaturated fats also help in lowering the blood pressure, associated with brain health. Enjoy it in your guacamole, a green avocado smoothie or as a side.
5. Spinach, Kale, and other Leafy Greens
Full of antioxidants and fibers. The antioxidants protect your cells against free radical damage, either the naturally produced in our bodies or the one obtained from external stresses. Fibers are essential for the gut microbiome health (known to influence in all processes of the body), and they help in maintaining blood sugar levels, strongly related to brain diseases. There are many creative ways of including these great vegetables in your diet, and they do taste delicious!
6. Cocoa or Dark Chocolate
Research already shows that the cocoa in dark chocolate, which contains flavonoids (a plant compound that helps with the body’s circulation), can help combat heart disease. Also, flavonoids may help slow down the effects of dementia. Its is known to have powerful antioxidant properties, and it stimulates the production of endorphins, which helps improve mood. Always prefer chocolate 70% or more in cocoa. Enjoy with moderation for anything that has sugar or just freely enjoy it in unsweetened recipes!
Implementing good foods not just as part of a diet, but as part of a routine and leisure is the key to the healthy lifestyle we all look for. Start with small steps and build the best version of yourself!
May is the official month of the Mediterranean Diet. Many studies have found that the diet based on the lifestyle of Mediterranean people in the 1960s is efficient in reducing the risk of heart diseases, slowing aging and improving overall health. Its main focus is a natural, balanced diet which will prevent or even cure physiological problems and provide whole-range health.
“At the present time, the U.S. health system almost entirely ignores nutrition in favor of pharmacology and is hugely expensive and ineffective compared with the systems in other countries,” wrote Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard School of Public Health. “Integration of the Mediterranean diet and related dietary patterns into medical practice, hospitals, schools and other institutions has the potential to improve well-being.”
If compared to other healthy diets, the Mediterranean appears to be the most effective. It was determined according to researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who surveyed the eating habits of more than 4,600 women of the long-running Nurses’ Health Study. This and other studies have proven the Mediterranean diet to be a much better option than the standard low-fat diet, especially when comparing disease prevention and longevity. The diet has also shown to be successful in preventing major cardiovascular diseases, as well as protecting memory and thinking skills.
Studies and Conclusions
It happened for 5 years, with 7447 individuals who were at a high risk of cardiovascular disease and would follow either: a Mediterranean Diet with added extra virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean Diet with added nuts, or a low-fat control group diet.
A Mediterranean diet with either olive oil or nuts may reduce the combined risk of stroke, heart attack and death from cardiovascular disease
A Mediterranean diet may help to reverse the metabolic syndrome.
The Mediterranean diet caused reductions in oxidized LDL cholesterol (which causes inflammation and diseases), along with improvements in several other heart disease risk factors.
A Mediterranean diet without calorie restriction appears to be effective in preventing the development of type 2 diabetes.
Compared to a low-fat control group, a Mediterranean diet can have beneficial effects on various risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Consuming nuts was associated with a significantly reduced risk of death over a period of 5 years.
Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet
The New England Journal of Medicine, 2008.
It involved 322 obese individuals who were randomly assigned to a calorie restricted low-fat diet, a calorie restricted Mediterranean diet, or an unrestricted low-carb diet.
The low-fat group lost 2.9 kg (6.4 lbs), the low-carb group lost 4.7 kg (10.3 lbs) and the Mediterranean diet group lost 4.4 kg (9.7 lbs). Diabetic participants had improved blood glucose and insulin levels on the Mediterranean diet, compared to the low-fat diet.
A Mediterranean diet may be more effective for weight loss and improving symptoms of diabetes, when compared to a low-fat diet.
There is already information about diets which use concepts from both Mediterranean and Low-Carb points of view to try achieving even better results.
Mediterranean diet may be best for memory and cognitive skills
The study was of 17,478 Caucasian and African-American subjects and lasted 4 years.
It found that adults who closely followed a Mediterranean diet were 19 percent less likely to develop memory and cognitive problems later in life. Subjects with diabetes had no cognitive improvements from the diet — about 17 percent of the subjects enrolled on the study had diabetes, and those who already had cognitive problems would probably not benefit from jumping on the diet.
However, there are many studies that a low-carbohydrate diet would reduce brain damage and even cure mental diseases, thus the connection of both would be an interesting idea.
The basic principle of the Mediterranean diet is to use a wide range of fruits and vegetables, which gives the body maximum access to sources of vitamins, minerals and other trace nutrients. There are individual foods within the Mediterranean Diet which are particularly beneficial to health, such as olive oil, garlic and some fruits and vegetables but overall it is the combination of foods within a healthy lifestyle which is linked to improved health.
The Mediterranean Diet is not about quick fix superfoods. Nor is it a strict list of what you should not eat. Rather, the Mediterranean Diet is a formula for healthy day-to-day eating over the long term. The major foundation of it is: eat NOTHING PROCESSED!
Some other guidelines are:
Maximize your intake of vegetables, peas and beans (legumes), fruits and wholegrain cereals.
Limit your red meat intake – fish and poultry are healthier substitutes.
Where possible, use mono-unsaturated olive oil or rapeseed oil.
Limit/Eliminate your intake of highly processed foods and ready meals, which may be high in salt and saturated fat.
Do not add salt to your food at the table – there is already plenty in the food.
Snack on fruit, dried fruit and unsalted nuts rather than cakes, crisps and biscuits.
Drink (red) wine during meals but no more than two small glasses per day.
Water is the best ‘non-alcoholic beverage’ (as opposed to sugary drinks), although health benefits have also been claimed for various teas and coffee.
The most interesting aspects of the Mediterranean Diet – actually a lifestyle – is that it highly recommends people to be active (at least 30 minutes a day) and, most importantly, to truly enjoy their meals. It means to take the time to socialize with others and have a good digestion.
In a nutshell, the Mediterranean Diet provides your body with the essential nutrients it needs for a full-potential, enjoyable, and lifelong health. It is achieved by focusing on right-from-the-source foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and good fats. Thus, by increasing the consumption of good nutrients and antioxidants, and decreasing the toxins, it is obvious that there are going to be many health benefits. The active and social lifestyle is also very important for hormonal balance and the body’s homeostasis.
Start this month well by giving the Mediterranean lifestyle a try, and enjoy its benefits!
The Neurologist and New York Times Best Selling Author, Dr. David Perlmutter presents his 35-year long research findings about how to prevent major diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, depression and cancer, generally a result of wrong widespread concepts.
He explains how basic lifestyle changes play a major role in adapting the human body to its natural health and potential. Learn how a low-carb, high-fat diet coupled with aerobic exercise and hormone balance can give you optimum health and longevity.
Below is part of the article The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan With Dr. David Perlmutter posted by Lauren Bryant at the Wellness Force website (wellnessforce.com), accessed in May 1, 2017.
“Our dietary choices play a major role in determining whether we are going to live into our 80s and 90s and even beyond with a good, functioning brain, or like 50% of people who live to be age 85, we will experience brain decline in the form of Alzheimer’s which is a preventable disease.”- Dr. David Perlmutter
When we think about brain health, we don’t think that our gut has anything to do with it. However, the fact is that the gut and free radicals have everything to do with how our brains function as we grow older.
Neurologist and New York Times Best Selling Author, Dr. David Perlmutter has witnessed the damaging effects that a poor diet can have on our brains. Today is perfect timing with the launch of his new book, The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan, as he shares why we are vulnerable to develop brain degenerative disease and how we can take matters into our own hands in order to live long, healthy lives with a bright mind that is free of illness.
MAKE THE CHOICE TO HAVE A HEALTHY BRAIN
Even if a relative of yours was diagnosed with a brain degenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s, you have the amazing opportunity to make lifestyle choices to ensure your brain’s health.
Factors such as sleep, nutrition, stress levels, free radicals and exercise can impact your health, but you can also take advantage of them to improve your wellness and lower the chances of brain decline.
CONNECTING WELLNESS AND GUT HEALTH
“It’s a bit humbling to recognize that mood is regulated by our gut. Not only through the process of controlling inflammation, which is a cornerstone player in depression, but that around 90% of our levels of dopamine and serotonin are not manufactured in the brain. They’re mostly manufactured in the gut.” – Dr. David Perlmutter
Approximately 90% of the human body’s total serotonin is located in the GI tract, where it is used to regulate intestinal movements.
If the gut is leaky and we lack serotonin, it can be linked to feelings of depression. In a study with probiotic yogurt, researchers found a dramatic change in brain function and mood in the test subjects that ate the yogurt compared to those who did not.
BUILD A HEALTHY GUT
At this moment, there is a diverse community of healthy, gut bacteria living inside of us. If any harm comes our gut’s way, it can increase the chances of having a leaky gut. This leaky gut can lead to inflammation and degenerative diseases including:
The right way to eat food, is to focus on following a diet that helps reduce the chance of a leaky gut and inflammation from happening inside the body.
DO YOU HAVE A LEAKY GUT?
In today’s world, we should assume that it is likely that we all have somewhat of a leaky gut. We would have to take a test or participate in a study to know for sure by having an LPS level done in a lab.
To help heal your gut, remove any offensive agents that may be harming it such as any overuse of:
Over production of free radicals
Drinking chlorinated water
Artificial sugars and sweeteners
Acid blocking drugs
Proton pump inhibitors
Non-steroid and anti-inflammatory drugs
To heal our gut, we need to stimulate and increase the diversity of the organisms that live inside of the gut by exercising and eating foods that are rich in pre-biotic fiber that helps nurture our gut bacteria:
Mexican yam/ jicamo
THE TRUTH ABOUT SUGAR AND GLUTEN
“Inflammation caused by sugar consumption can lead to diabetes and quadruples your chances for Alzheimer’s Disease.” – Dr. David Perlmutter
For decades, we’ve been told that gluten and sugar is good for our health and that fat is bad. However, recent research has shown that this is the exact opposite.
Healthy fat is good for both the body and brain function, but gluten and sugar (including artificial sugar and sweeteners) can cause our insulin levels to spike which leads to inflammation in the body.
In fact, according to Dr. Perlmutter, artificial sweeteners were created to help people control the amount of sugars in their diet, but still be able to taste something sweet. Unfortunately, artificial sugars and sweeteners can dramatically increase a person’s risk for obesity and diabetes.
Take your health into your own hands by making good choices and eating foods that minimize free radicals. Eat healthy and avoid any sugary drinks, high gluten foods, and anything labeled “sugar free” or “contains artificial sugars.”
THE BEST SOURCES OF HEALTHY FAT
There’s a lot of taboo hanging around the words, “fat” and “fatty food.” However, healthy sources of fat are great for our bodies and important for our brain’s health.
According to Dr. Perlmutter, the brain is already made up of a lot of saturated fat and even human breast milk is 50% saturated fat. If you want to ensure that you follow a healthy diet, use the Ketogenic and Mediterranean diets as a good model to follow.
Olive oil particularly is good source of polyphenols that act as antioxidants and nurture the gut bacteria. This source of healthy fat provides both mono and unsaturated fats for our brain cell building blacks.
When you follow a Ketogenic or Mediterranean based diet, but add extra amounts of olive or cocnut oil, your cognitive function can improve dramatically.
A DIET TO HELP PREVENT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
To better understand your body and gene makeup, there are numerous services available from companies that offer biometrics tests including:
The sooner you better understand your genes and if there is a chance for you to have an inflammatory disease, the sooner you can take action to fight against it.
Depending on our dietary fat composition, there is a risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, but it can be handled by following a diet that includes food that is high in healthy fats.
As mentioned before, we should be eating more nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado. Monosaturated fats such as almond oil, almond butter/nut butter, an oleic acid in sunflower oil can help prevent degenerative brain disease.
However, we should avoid canola oil, vegetable oil, corn oil and other modified oils in our diets. These are the unhealthy oils that can lead to excess free radicals, and harm our body and brain function.
BUILD A HEALTHY BRAIN WITH AEROBICS
If you want to build a healthy brain, change your diet, but also increase the amount of aerobic exercise. Working out helps to turn on BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which serves as a growth hormone for the brain and helps increase the number of memory cells throughout our lifetime.
People who exercise regularly can reduce their chances for Alzheimer’s Disease by 50%!
One of the best things you can do to help your brain stay healthy is to include aerobic exercise for 20 minutes every day.
6 KEY FACTORS FOR A WHOLE LIFE PLAN
According to Dr. Perlmutter, there are 6 key factors and goals that take place in creating a whole life plan for a healthy brain and gut:
Reducing and controlling inflammation
Turning the body into a fat burning machine
Balancing levels of bacteria
Balancing hormones and increasing leptin sensitivity
Taking care of our genes
Balancing our life
ABOUT DR. DAVID PERLMUTTER
Dr. Perlmuter is a Neurologist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition who received his M.D. degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine where he was awarded the Leonard G. Rowntree Research Award.
He is the author of: The Better Brain Book and the #1 New York Times Bestseller, Grain Brain, and Brain Maker, also a New York Times best seller. He is recognized internationally as a leader in the field of nutritional influences in neurological disorders.
Over the past 35 years, Dr. Perlmutter has been interviewed on many nationally syndicated radio and television programs including 20/20, Larry King Live, CNN, Fox News, Fox and Friends, The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Like with Kelly and Michael, Montel Across America and The CBS Early Show.
The cornerstone of Dr. Perlmutter’s unique approach to neurological disorders is founded in the principles of preventive medicine. He has brought to the public awareness a rich understanding that challenging brain problems including Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, depression, and ADHD may very well be prevented with lifestyle changes including a gluten free, low carbohydrate, higher fat diet coupled with aerobic exercise.
This powerful and loved fatty acid is found in flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, fatty fish, seafood, and spinach. When Omega-3 was given to 360 heart attack survivors for six months in a trial by the journal Circulation, it helped improving function and lessening scarring of the heart. The patients who had higher levels of omega-3 had a significant reduction in inflammation, and heart fibrosis – stiffening of the heart muscle that leads to many cardiac diseases, as heart failure and becomes more common with aging. Omega-3 has a role in the prevention of cardiac remodeling which can occur after a heart attack and is associated with heart failure.
Omega-3 is also efficient in lowering elevated triglyceride levels, acting as an antidepressant, and protecting against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Who is up for some salmon with spinach?
Heart and overall health is very dependent on other important factors than only healthy eating and exercise. Check them out!
“Reducing sleep by just two or three hours per night can have dramatic health consequences, as cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. A recent study found that even little-reduced sleep (six to seven hours per night) was associated with a greatly increased risk of coronary artery calcification, a cause of future heart attack and death due to heart disease.”
Senior man sleeping in bed.
When you sleep, your body performs functions as the repair of muscles, memory consolidation, and the release of important hormones for your normal body functioning. Sleeping contributes to a healthy immune system, and can also help maintain your weight by regulating the levels of hormones that produce the feelings of hunger and fullness. Quality sleep is essential for the healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels, which helps to prevent heart diseases.
Stress Free Zone
Chronic stress can suppress immune, digestive, sleep, reproductive, and cardiovascular systems. Over time, continued strain on your body from routine stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses. The way you deal with the stress that comes into your life is extremely significant to your health as a whole. Practicing physical exercise, meditation, relaxation activities, and other gentle exercises may help reducing stress. Try to recognize stress signs that affect you and work on them. No stress!
It not only contributes to the hardening of your arteries and increases your blood pressure and heart rate, but it also leads to numerous diseases and early death. Ask your doctor for help to quit smoking. Be smoke and disease free!
Ultimately, heart awareness is all about nourishing yourself with the right nutrients, enjoying life actively, and getting good quality rest after all. This way each day you will grow older, healthier and happier.