By: The Dr. Perlmutter Team
As I’ve stated before, one of the most fascinating things about the human brain is that neuroplasticity, the process by which the brain undergoes changes in response to internal and external stimuli, affords us a great deal of control in determining the overall health of our brain. While there are many lifestyle changes one can make to improve overall brain health, studies have shown that dietary factors can have a significant impact. Choosing which foods you use to fuel your body goes far beyond counting calories; the macronutrients—fats, proteins, and carbohydrates—you emphasize in shaping your diet can have major repercussions for brain health. There is evidence to suggest that individuals who consume a diet high in carbohydrates have an 89% increased risk of developing dementia, while people who consume a diet high in healthy fats actually reduce their risk by 44%. Ensuring that the foods you consume are high in antioxidants, rich in healthy fats, low in carbohydrates, and powerfully anti-inflammatory can go a long way towards optimizing brain health and boosting memory and cognition.
Foods to Improve Brain Health and Memory
Generally speaking, I recommend a diet that is higher in fat and fiber, low in carbs, and rich in gut-healthy probiotics. To that end, please read on for some suggestions on specific foods around which to build a brain-boosting diet!
While we can use food to nurture and protect our bodies and our brains, supplements play an important role in preventing inflammation and helping us achieve total health. In both Grain Brain and Brain Maker, in addition to laying out the lifestyle plan you should follow to avoid brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, I mention some of the most important supplements you can take for your health.
However, I’m often asked what my own daily routine is. Well, today I’m here to tell you.
As many of my readers are aware, for the past several years I have been deeply involved in studying a fascinating area of biochemistry that plays a pivotal role in all degenerative conditions that we as humans want to avoid.
The Nrf2 pathway has been referred to as the “master regulator of antioxidant, detoxification and cell defense gene expression…” and It is for these reasons that so much research has been carried out trying to explore how activating this life-sustaining pathway may have critically important applications for our health and longevity.
The Nrf2 pathway has been especially studied in various brain degenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, as well as autism, to name a few. Indeed, as I recently described, the research from Harvard demonstrated significant improvement in autistic children treated with sulforaphane, an extract of broccoli, which is known to activate the Nrf2 pathway.
As researchers from the University of Colorado publishing in the journal Clinical Pharmacology: Advances and Applications have described, activation of the Nrf2 pathway may find clinical application in a variety of other conditions including atherosclerosis, HIV/AIDS, inflammatory bowel disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, and even cancer. The authors concluded: Continue reading
A brain-healthy, Alzheimer’s-fighting diet has properties that extend far beyond just decreasing your daily carb load. To truly provide your body with brain-boosting nutrients and vitamins that help stave off brain disease and other illnesses, you should consider a regular regimen of supplements. These seven supplements will go a long way towards helping you with prevention: Continue reading
I’m an RN. I ordered Grain Brain after seeing you on FOX & Friends.
My husband had ignored my suggestions that he lose weight for years. The last week of November and first week of December 2013 he was going to have cataract surgery. I suggested he try the low-carb, gluten-free diet because his blood sugar a year before had been pre-diabetic. He was concerned about the chance of infection and loss of sight so he agreed.
During the week before Thanksgiving and the week after, he lost 10 pounds! His 2-hour post-prandial blood sugar was 98.
Being a coffee drinker, and at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, as are we all, I was heartened by this study appearing in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The researchers followed 1,409 individuals, aged 65-79, for an average of 21 years. The study also looked at each individual’s dietary habits.
At the end of the study, 48 of the subjects had developed Alzheimer’s disease. And it was shown that the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease was reduced by an astounding 65% in those who drank 3-5 cups of coffee daily. The authors went so far as to suggest that “this finding might open possibilities for prevention of dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease.”
I’m certain there will be a lot of questions from our readers about the effects of tea, other caffeinated beverages, and whether or not decaffeinated coffee would be of benefit. These ideas were not specifically explored in this study. I will say that coffee, like turmeric, resveratrol, and green tea extract, is a powerful upregulator of Nrf2 activity and as such activates gene pathways to both reduce inflammation as well as antioxidant protection. These are important factors in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.