In this section you will learn more about the importance of good nutrition and diet for the brain, as well as a bit more on exercise, which helps the body to better assimilate and circulate these nutrients to the brain. (Diet and physical activity must go together, as neither is near as effective without the other. That’s why it was decided to put these together in the first video lesson on this topic below.)
The only caveat to this video is that although Dr. Morris is one of the top researchers in the world on diet and brain health, her information on cholesterol is “old school.” We now know as Nick notes that fats including cholesterol are essential to brain health. Brain cells are partially made of cholesterol. Essential hormones needed by the brain are made from cholesterol, and at least two major studies have shown that older individuals with higher total cholesterol (especially HDL) generally performed better on memory tests (and lived longer) than those with lower cholesterol levels.
Moreover, cholesterol lowering drugs like statins have been shown to result in serious memory problems for many of those who use them. (See your Clinical Guide on this topic) Yes cholesterol helps to make up the amyloid plaque associated with Alzheimer’s, but we now know the basic purpose of that plaque is for protection. So new research is now showing that cholesterol and most fats, except fried fats and hydrogenated oils, are actually good for the brain. (See chapter 4 on fats)
The first video below is from the documentary on the Truth About Memory Loss, and provides a good introduction to this important topic. The other videos provide additional details on what a healthy diet consists of.
The following videos go into greater depth on what constitutes a brain healthy diet. This along with chapters 4 in your Clinical Guide and User’s Guide, provide good insights and a sound basis for a brain healthy diet plan, with lots of good alternatives. See “Best Foods For The Brain” at the end of chapter 4 in the User’s Guide.
There will of course be some repetition here, but remember “Repetition is the mother of memory!”: ) And hearing similar information from different sources greatly reinforces concept understanding and recall. You want to know much more about this important topic than those you share this with, as this is likely the topic of greatest controversy. There will be lots of questions you will want to have answers for and this, with your Clinical & User Guides provides much of the latest greatest info to draw from.
Overcoming Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
A lot of good research shows that individuals who develop diabetes, insulin resistance or pre-diabetes, are at a much greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia. For a good introduction to this topic you may want to read the article on my website titled: Are Alzheimer’s and Diabetes the Same Disease? (click the back arrow <- to the left of your browser window to return to this page.)
At least you should view the HBO video on the research of Dr. Suzanne Craft. If you arrow down to the second row her’s is the third one over. You may want to watch some of the other interesting videos there as well related to Alzheimer’s. (Click the back arrow to return)
But most importantly we would like you to read Dr. Marlene Merritt’s pdf booklet Titled: Smart Blood Sugar (Once you click on this and the links below, if they do not open in your pdf reader they may appear at the bottom of your screen. You will need to click that link again to open it in your pdf reader.)
Read also this short article on How To Read A Food Label For application of these principles see also the 99 Foods for Diabetics and the 7 Day Meal Plan
Other Eating plans (for non-diabetics):
By the way, if you are sharing this information with others be sure and watch the last video here on advances in food coaching.
Eating for brain health:
The New Best diet:
Does DHA Make You Smart & Sugar Make You Stupid?
Let’s review some new research on DHA. DHA, docosahexanoic acid, is a PUFA, an Omega-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). It is an essential acid, or in other words, we cannot manufacture that in our own bodies. We have to consume it. We get it from animal sources, or we can consume ALA, alpha linolenic acid. ALA is a short-chain PUFA that our bodies can convert into DHA and EPA, eicosapenanoic acid. They are anti-inflammatory, in that they quench the inflammation that can cause heart disease, asthma, arthritis, strokes, all of the inflammations that end with “itis” like dermatitis. Many psychiatrists are looking at depression as an inflammatory disease.
Most people don’t know anything about DHA, but it is vital for a high functioning brain. And we aren’t getting much of it at all. That is because over the past fifty years, the content of our food has dramatically changed. ALA is present in green vegetation, and throughout most of human existence, we ate animals that had eaten grass and browse (shrubs). Milk, meat, cheese, and eggs were all rich in DHA and EPA because they came from animals fed on grass. Those animals did a good job of changing ALA into DHA and EPA, and we were more healthy because of it.
But in the 1970s we began to eat animals that were fed not on grass and greens but rather on corn and soy. Those are high in Omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory. Our body needs inflammation so as to deal with injuries and infection. But because we feed our food animals such huge amounts of grains and soy, we consume huge doses of Omega-6 and little Omega-3. We are in a continual state of inflammation. Wikipedia on inflammation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflammation.
So I encourage people to shift their diets much more toward healthy sources of Omega-3s, including fatty ocean fish, the best being Alaska salmon, since it is against the law in Alaska to farm-raise salmon. Mackerel, sardines, tuna, all fish that are darker in color are good Omega-3 sources. Of course, if you eat grass-fed beef, if you can find a local source of “pastured”chicken (not organic, which are simply chickens fed organic corn), your diet will be much healthier.
A new study from UCLA shows that high-fructose corn syrup (the sweetener that is widely used in all manufactured foods) makes us stupid. A high sugar diet (table sugar is about 40% fructose, and high fructose corn syrup is about 55% fructose) slows down the brain and hampers learning and memory. Fructose is in baby food, applesauce, ketchup and other condiments, soft drinks . . . in fact, if you buy a manufactured food, it is everywhere. Now we know why we keep eating it. It is everywhere. We eat it. Our brains don’t work as well. We are made more dumb, so we don’t notice how bad it is for us.
“Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,” said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a professor of integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. “Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information. But adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage.”
So if you want to eat sugary foods, at least eat some salmon to go with it. But even with the omega-3, you are doing some damage. The better path is to avoid all sweets. All those years ago my mother told me that sugar was bad for me. As it happens, she was right.
If you want to read the study’s press release, here is it: http://bit.ly/Ja70nT
So shift your eating to locally produced pastured chickens and grass-fed beef, local vegetables, and whole grains. In the words of the great poet/singer/songwriter, Joni Mitchell, “And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”
The Skinny on Fats, Homocysteine and Pitfalls of The Vegetarian & Vegan Diet
You may have noticed controversy regarding fats, oils and the vegetarian diet. In this insightful video Dr. Greger, a leading nutritionist and research reviewer, covers these very important topics. His voice is a bit shrill, but his insights here are lifesaving and brain saving. Keep in mind as you listen that around 40% of the fats in your brain are Omega 3’s, anything bad for the heart or vascular system will be bad for the brain, and homocysteine is a major contributor to Alzheimer’s. So learning to control this is of paramount importance. Also while he categorizes coconut oil here, as a bad fat, that’s from the old fat paradigm. The latest research, as noted in Dr. Merritt’s book above, suggests it can be very good for the brain, for most people. Too much red meat, on the other hand, has been associated with higher rates of Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, due to the higher iron content, which oxidizes more easily in the body.
If an ad pops up here just click skip. Now go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP_LIY8cjf4
And see what you can learn. It could add years and save lives.
Home made yogurt:
Advances in food coaching: