Possibly the most important section of the blog- in this Food section you will find information on how to properly fuel the brain. There is no denying the correlation between proper diet and dementia and Alzheimer’s prevention, proper prenatal care, and improving overall brain health.
Over the past several decades efforts have been made to try to convince us that, as it pertains to sugar, fructose is our best choice. One of the reasons often cited for this messaging was the misguided notion that somehow choosing fructose would help reduce risk for diabetes because “fructose doesn’t elevate insulin.” More on that idea later, so for now let’s focus on the relationship between fructose consumption and risk for type 2 diabetes. Continue reading
Lately, in an apparent attempt to push back from the negativity surrounding high fructose corn syrup, there seems to be an increase in the number of articles published touting the advantages of fructose as a “safer sugar.” The main point that is so often emphasized is that unlike glucose, fructose does not seem to increase insulin. Increasing insulin, which is how our bodies cope with increased glucose levels, may, when it’s constantly challenged, lead to a state in which we tend to lose our sensitivity to insulin. This means that with time, on a diet that constantly raises our glucose levels, insulin becomes less effective. Losing insulin sensitivity or becoming “insulin resistant” is not only associated with elevated blood sugar and subsequent diabetes, but also a fairly extensive list of chronic degenerative conditions that we want to do our best to avoid like coronary artery disease and Alzheimer’s. Continue reading
What an exciting and important presentation we have for you today. For many years we have been providing information focused on the pivotal role of nutritional choices as they relate to the brain, mostly in the context of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Today, we’re going to explore how our nutritional choices actually impact us from a mood perspective with our very special guest, Dr. Uma Naidoo. Let me tell you a bit more about her.
Michelin-starred chef David Bouley described Dr. Uma Naidoo as the world’s first “triple threat” in the food as medicine space: She is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, professional chef who graduated with her culinary schools’ most coveted award, and a nutrition specialist. Her niche work is in Nutritional Psychiatry and she is regarded both nationally and internationally as a medical pioneer in this field.
In her role as a Clinical Scientist, Dr. Naidoo founded and directs the first hospital-based clinical service in Nutritional Psychiatry in the USA. She is the Director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) & Director of Nutritional Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital Academy while serving on the faculty at Harvard Medical School.
I have to shake my head when I still see “egg white omelet” on the breakfast menu at restaurants. Gone are the days when I would ask the waiter or manager why this was offered. Over time I realized that it wasn’t their fault. They were simply parroting the standard dogma that eggs were bad for your heart – especially the yolks with their high levels of “artery-clogging cholesterol” and all.
For decades, we were instructed that dietary fat was virtually kryptonite. And of all the dietary fats we might consume, cholesterol was by far the biggest threat. Continue reading
One very popular variation of outright fasting is what is called time-restricted feeding (TRF). In both humans and laboratory animals, TRF refers the consumption of food only during a specific period of time each 24 hours. We know that this is certainly in contrast to the common way that people eat, meaning at least three meals a day with lots of snacks before, between, and after meals.
As it turns out, there appears to be quite a few health advantages to restricting the period of time that we eat during the day. Research has revealed, for example, how TRF positively affects a variety of cardiometabolic risk factors including blood sugar, and even the expression of our genes. Continue reading
Who can forget the message of Mary Poppins telling us that “…a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Yes, we humans certainly like our sugar. To be sure, added sugar certainly increases our desire to consume a lot more than the “medicine” described in the song. It’s concerning to consider that of the 1.2 million food products sold in America’s grocery stores, approximately 68% have added sweeteners. This represents an active attempt to hack into our primitive desire for sweet and to alter our food choices moving forward. Continue reading
One of the central themes in Brain Wash is regaining the ability to make good choices. Not a day goes by that we don’t see or hear about another new book telling us how a specific diet, or other lifestyle change, will likely bring about health. As you might expect, I know many of these authors (and I’ve been honored to host many on The Empowering Neurologist) and, these days, almost all of these books are absolutely providing terrific information. Where the disconnect happens is between information and action, meaning it’s all well and good to read these books, but thereafter, choices have to be made to implement the material that has been learned.
The leading causes of death and disability worldwide are chronic degenerative conditions. These familiar diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and type II diabetes are increasing globally, at a dramatic rate, in every region, and in all socioeconomic classes. To be clear, chronic degenerative conditions exceed deaths caused by famine, war, and even infectious diseases. Importantly, this was not always the case.
What has changed? Certainly, it hasn’t been our genetics. Our DNA has changed very little in the past hundred thousand years. And yet, we are suddenly experiencing a virtual explosion in the prevalence of these conditions.
To understand why do these conditions are now so widespread, we have to ask if there’s any shared mechanism that underlies chronic degenerative diseases as a group. Indeed there is. In a word, it’s inflammation. All of these conditions represent a consequence of increased levels of inflammation within the body, and higher levels of inflammation can damage heart arteries, the brain, the joints, and even disrupt the function of the immune system allowing cancer to manifest.
So, if inflammation is at the root of what our now the most pervasive diseases on our planet, it really makes sense to explore how our modern world is amping up inflammation as this should clearly provide us some action points to live a healthier and longer life. Continue reading
The plant-based diet is gaining more and more attention these days, and with good reason. It’s clear that less reliance on animal derived food will have a positive environmental impact. In addition, there is compelling evidence that favoring a more plant-based diet may well provide significant health benefits.
Today, we’re releasing the third and final video in our Unhack Your Brain miniseries.