Understanding the relationship between less healthful dietary and lifestyle choices and developing type-2 diabetes, a recent study linking the brain’s center for impulsive behavior and diabetes risk was really interesting.
The research was performed at the Massachusetts General Hospital and involved 232 non-diabetic subjects. These individuals underwent brain-imaging studies that measured the metabolic activity of their amygdalas, an area of the brain that is involved with fear, stress, and impulsivity.
By the Dr. Perlmutter Team
Americans eat a lot of meat. In 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture projected that the average person would consume over two hundred pounds of chicken, pork, and beef by year’s end. That’s more than half a pound daily per capita, every day of the year! While it is possible to consume an omnivorous diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle, we recommend viewing meat as a garnish or side dish rather than the focus of your meal. The perfect plate is full of colorful, above-ground leafy vegetables and healthy fats, and if you choose to eat meat, then a three-to-four ounce serving of meat. However, it’s very important to remember that not all meat is created equally.
One of the most important factors in determining the overall quality of meat—especially red meat—is the dietary patterns of the livestock that produced it. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense: the food an animal consumes is used by their body to grow and develop, and, ultimately, becomes the very food that we consume. Feeding cattle a nutrient-poor diet will, in turn, produce a nutrient-poor food source, compared to cattle fed a natural, nutritious diet.
As it turns out, the age-old adage “You are what you eat” applies to cattle, too! Continue reading
By: The Dr. Perlmutter Team
One of the most exciting developments in lifestyle science over the last decade has been the sharpening focus on the central role that our resident microbes (bacteria) play in regulating overall health. These microbes, together with their genetic material and metabolic byproducts make up what is collectively known as the microbiome. It is becoming readily apparent that the trillions of microbes living on and within us play a fundamental role in almost all of the systems of the body. Even as recently as 10-20 years ago, we did not understand the extent to which the gut microbiome can influence a person’s mood, regulate appetite, produce essential vitamins, regulate the immune system, and influence systemic inflammation.
There is even evidence to suggest that the microbiome affects us on such a fundamental level that it can regulate the expression of our DNA! Continue reading
Over the past 10 years, in the various books that I have written, there has been a persistent emphasis on the importance of DHA, an omega-3, in terms of brain health. DHA represents over 90% of all the omega-3, polyunsaturated fatty acids in the brain, and further, it’s 10 to 20% of all the brain’s fat. DHA is especially concentrated in the gray matter, and is also an important part of the cellular membrane of neurons. DHA also has an important role to play in the functioning and structure of mitochondria, the release of neurotransmitters, the expression of DNA, the creation of the myelin insulation around every neuron, the management of neuroinflammation, and even the growth and differentiation of brain cells.
DHA plays a particularly important role in the frontal lobes, allowing us to maintain executive function, pay attention to the various tasks in which we are engaged, and even plan for the future and solving problems. Continue reading
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
With all of the hype around fasting, you may believe it to be just another modern dietary fad, but the truth is that fasting is as old as our species. Until very recently, humans have always had periods of going without food. Fasting is baked into our evolution and our physiology and it can yield benefits to our brains and bodies, at a biochemical level, that we’re only just beginning to understand.
Many of us are blessed to live in a world with abundant food, but that wasn’t always the case. Throughout our evolutionary history, sometimes days, weeks, and months would pass during which food resources were scarce. These periods without food provided small hormetic stresses on our genome — meaning stresses that turn out to be beneficial to our bodies. In the absence of calories, life-sustaining, protective genes responsible for cellular repair and protection are activated, inflammation is reduced, and anti-oxidative defenses are increased.
This means that simply going without food for a while may have anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor benefits that are available to anyone, at any time.
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.