"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 has 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.
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, 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.
"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
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.
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.
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.
There's a higher chance that you have a leaky gut if you have an inflammatory condition such as:
What can you do to heal your leaky gut?
To help heal your gut, remove any offensive agents that may be harming it such as any overuse of:
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:
"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. Eat healthy and avoid any sugary drinks, high gluten foods, and anything labeled "sugar free" or "contains artificial sugars."
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.
The best sources of healthy fats include:
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.
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 harm our body and brain function.
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.
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:
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.
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