It is certainly clear that our most pervasive chronic conditions share a common feature in terms of their underlying cause. Whether we are talking about coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, or even Alzheimer’s disease, what current medical literature reveals is the powerful role that inflammation plays in these and other common conditions.
Ultimately, the main issue with higher levels of inflammation that manifests as damage to tissue is the fact that when inflammation has been turned on, it increases the production of damaging free radicals, a situation we call oxidative stress. When oxidative stress is running rampant, damage occurs to our proteins, and fat, and even our DNA. Continue reading
By: The Dr. Perlmutter Team
What does it mean to have a healthy brain?
It means having a brain that is readily capable of performing all of its vital functions. This includes basic functions, like regulating the involuntary functions of the autonomic nervous system, and higher-level functions, such as facilitating cognition and decision-making, and coordinating fine and gross motor skills. While the brain is necessarily an incredibly complex organ, the process of neuroplasticity, which describes the brain’s ability to undergo physical and chemical changes in response to stimuli, affords us a significant degree of control over the health of our brain. In other words, the lifestyle choices we make today have a very real impact on our brain’s current and future health; whether that impact is positive or negative depends on how we live our lives.
As stated above, neuroplasticity can work for or against you. While the natural process of aging more or less handles the “working against you” side of that equation, it is completely within our abilities to harness the power of neuroplasticity to maintain or improve overall brain health. Taking an active role in improving the health of the brain can help fortify the body from some of the most debilitating chronic illnesses we face — the likes of Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis. Fortunately, science has shined a light on numerous factors that have the potential to mitigate the effects of aging and improve overall brain health. To that end, I wanted to highlight six of the most effective ways you can maximize your brain’s potential.
It has been estimated that around 60% of Americans over the age of 18 report that they are “regular” coffee drinkers. No doubt what most motivates this consumption is the familiar and dependable lift that coffee provides.
What may be less familiar to us consumers of this popular beverage is the ever-widening base of information that reveals some significant health benefits associated with this drink.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, coffee consumption has been associated with a reduced risk for the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). T2D is characterized by elevation of blood sugar and that can have implications for any and all parts of the body. From my perspective as a neurologist, T2D is thought to actually double a person’s risk for the development of Alzheimer’s disease (more on that in a moment).
Dandelion greens are a member of one of the largest planet families, one that also includes daisies, sunflowers, and thistles. The health benefits of this plant have been documented as far back as the 10th and 11th centuries. Even today there are folk medicine claims about dandelion in terms of its ability to aid indigestion, purify the blood, and even help prevent gallstones. But dandelion greens are actually a really helpful food to add to your diet for a number of reasons. First, they are low in calories. One cup of chopped dandelion greens has only 25 calories. Additionally, they’re loaded with antioxidants including vitamin C and vitamin A (beta-carotene).
Animal studies have demonstrated significant improvement in various parameters of blood lipids, and even atherosclerosis, as a consequence of receiving dandelion greens in their diet. Dandelion greens are also rich in minerals. Perhaps, most importantly, they are a very rich source of prebiotic fiber. It is, for me, this last characteristic, being high in prebiotic fiber, that makes dandelion greens such a compelling food. Continue reading
By: Austin Perlmutter, MD, Medical Student, Miller School of Medicine
When it comes to healthy vegetables, kale may be among the best. Packing a powerful punch of antioxidants, nutrients and excellent digestive support, its role in optimal wellness is tough to dispute. For anyone still undecided, here are the top 4 reasons to make kale a part of your life.
- Kale is jam-packed with vitamins. Eating one cup of chopped kale gets you over 200% of your daily value of vitamin A, 134% of your daily value for vitamin C, and almost 700% of your daily value for vitamin K! In addition, kale contains important minerals like manganese, potassium and copper. Continue reading
These days we commonly hear that it’s good to have a diet that’s “rich in antioxidants.” And beyond antioxidant rich foods, antioxidant supplements are among the most popular products in the health arena.
Antioxidants, work “anti” or “against,” oxidation. Oxidation, caused by chemicals known as free radicals, is basically the same thing as rusting. Put a piece of iron out in the weather and it rusts. That’s just what happens when free radicals attack our tissues.
And when this process gets out of control in the body, our various tissues, including our fat, proteins, and DNA, become damaged by the action of these free radicals like the piece of iron left out in the weather. Fortunately, our antioxidant defenses derived from our foods, supplements, and produced within our bodies help protect us against the effects of these free radicals.