How Does the Brain Affect Our Lives? (Part 16)

A Book Review: Younger Brains, Sharper Brains by Eric R. Braverman, M.D.

by Maggie Dail, M.A., Learning Specialist

Step Three: Diet and Nutrition for a Younger, Smarter You

Currently, studies explore the link between dementia to obesity. Leptin (from Greek leptos = thin) is a hormone whose receptors are in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that works with the endocrine system to regulate hunger and metabolism. “As you age, your body can become resistant to the leptin message…”P. 136, 137

Nutrients that positively affect Leptin (highlighted text box p. 139)

  • Acetyl-L-carnitine
  • Carnitine (easily found in a powder)
  • Conjugated linoleic acid
  • Integra-Lean irvingia
  • Melatonin
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Resveratrol
  • Vitamin D

Braverman references his earlier book, The Younger (Thinner) You Diet as a plan to lose weight correctly, slowly and permanently. It encourages nutrient dense foods, especially a proper leptin level. He encourages eating as much as you can of these things: (p. 140)

  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Coconut oil
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Leafy greens
  • Lean meats
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Olive Oil
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Poultry
  • Salmon and other fatty fish
  • Spinach
  • Unsalted almonds

White foods (breads, pasta, rice, pastries and potatoes) are simple carbohydrates that metabolize quickly into sugars and then into fat. Complex carbohydrates are much better since they take longer to metabolize. “And, more important, they (complex) supply the body and brain with glutamine, the amino acid that is the precursor to GABA.” Inositol is also great. P. 141

Foods high in both glutamine and inositol are the best choices: p. 142

  • Bananas
  • Beef liver and other organ meets
  • Broccoli
  • Brown rice
  • Citrus fruits
  • Halibut
  • Lentils
  • Spinach
  • Tree nuts
  • Whole grain products

Braverman gives a list of foods with tryptophan to choose when you are blue (avacodo, chicken, chocolate, cottage cheese, duck, egg, pork, turkey and wheat germ). P. 142, 143

For better memory (acetylcholine):  almonds, beef, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cabbage, egg, fish, hazelnuts, beef and chicken liver, peanuts and peanut butter, tofu, wheat germ.  P. 143-144

Choosing Healthy Fats – “Diets that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol are significantly linked to an increase of dementia, while diets high in healthier fat choices, such as omega-3 fatty acids and olive oil, are linked to a significantly reduced risk of dementia.” P. 144-145

He also includes lists of: best dairy products, foods that help you focus and foods to avoid in order to focus. P 146-148

Next time we continue to look at this step and learn Braverman’s “10 Rules For a Younger, Smart You.”

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