How Does the Brain Affect Our Lives? (Part 17)

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

by Maggie Dail, M.A., Learning Specialist

Step 3 – Diet and Nutrition (continued)

Now for Braverman’s 10 Rules for a Younger, Smarter You:

  1. Add spices to every meal (provides nutrients and antioxidants plus it allows your foods to metabolize better – He lists 24 herbs and spices from A(allspice) to T(turmeric). 1 teaspoon of dried herbs equals 3 teaspoons of fresh. P. 149-152.
  2. The right caffeine improves cognition –should be regular, but not excessive – daily in moderate doses; tea is better than coffee or caffeinated sodas; most research on Green Tea – “can increase metabolism, decrease appetite, and provide energy for exercise. It is also linked to preventing a host of diseases that are associated with cognitive decline, from heart disease to cancer to allergies and diabetes.” These teas have brain-enhancing properties: Chamomile, Lemon balm, passion flower and roobibos. P. 152-154
  3. Eat yogurt every day to enhance brain speed – Braverman recommends low over no fat and Greek version as they are less processed. Avoid flavored varieties because of sugar content. Can create a smoothie adding some fresh fruit. P. 154-155
  4. Lean Proteins create the most brain power – “The foods you eat influence levels of both glucose and insulin, and their levels affect your ability to think clearly.” p. 155-156

Top 5 Brain-Boosting Snacks:  (highlighted text box on p. 155)

  • 1 handful of raw, unsalted nuts
  • 1-2 hard boiled eggs
  • ½ hummus and raw carrots
  • 8 oz. of unflavored low-fat Greek Yoghurt with fresh fruit, ice, and whey protein
  1. Kick the sugar habit. – First – switch to sugar substitute; Then – reduce by half each time to remove from diet. P. 156-157
  2. Choose fiber-filled foods to cleanse your body – good sources: oats, beans, dried peas, fruits, vegetables and legumes. To promote regularity and soft stools: wheat bran, whole grain products and vegetables, especially leafy green. P. 157-158
  3. Drink Water – p. 158
  4. Eat colorful fruits and vegetable to slow cognitive decline: red, orange and yellow, green, blue, violet and purple. P. 158-159
  5. Choose High-Quality Produce – local and organic p. 159-160
  6. Include all three basic food groups (carbs, protein, and fats) at every meal. P. 160-161

Regional Specialties are also brain-boosting agents – Braverman continues this step with charts on dining in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and Europe. He continues with helpful points on what questions to ask when eating out. P. 161-167

Dr. Braverman provides charts of nutrients that make you smarter. He recommends a supplement called “Revertrol.” He calls it “Reverse it all.” P. 168-169

Choose Treats Wisely – but don’t overdo: blueberries, cranberry juice,  dark chocolate, grapes, hops, peanuts, pistachios, pomegranate juice, port and sherry, red grape juice, red wine, white grape juice, white wine. P. 169 – highlighted text box.

Braverman finishes his discussion of Step 3 by listing nutrients that lower stress, fight depression, encourage faster thinking, and boost attention. P. 170-174

He recommends the following supplements for “enhancing exercise performance:” Coenzyme 10, Creatine, Glocosmine and/ or chondroitin, Glutamine, L-carnitine and whey protein. P. 174-175

He also reminds us that “not all supplement brands are equal.”  He has his own brand: Total Health Nutrients available on www.pathmed.com p. 175

Next time we will learn about Step Four: Exercises That Boost Your Brain

 

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.”

A Book Review: Wheat Belly – Lose Weight, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, MD

In Part One, Dr. Davis gives us the shocking news (if we didn’t already know it), that Whole Wheat is unhealthy. In fact, the wheat we have today is nothing like the wheat of old – as recently as with our grandparents. He gives a thorough history of the grain of wheat. Gluten is the key ingredient, according to Davis, that makes wheat stick together and what makes problems for many. Other grains have gluten as well, but since Americans do not eat as large quantities of these other grains as we do wheat, Davis simplifies by saying, “wheat.”

Then, in Part Two, Davis presents all of the ways in which wheat destroys health. What we have today has been genetically changed into something that is actually addictive. Dr. Christine Zioudrou and her colleagues of the National Institutes of Health studied the effect of gluten on the brain. It penetrates the blood-brain barrier. Based on the effects to the brain, they called the polypeptides “exorphins” – short for exogenous morphine-like compounds. Also, wheat functions as an appetite stimulant. Wheat produces belly fat that looks like a pregnant belly. Further, wheat triggers the production of a cycle driven by insulin of satiety and hunger with emotional ups and downs. This visceral fat is very dangerous to our health. One outcome is diabetes.

Some suffer from celiac disease – the intestines react violently when wheat, even a tiny bit is consumed. While animal products including cheese upset the pH in the body by producing too much acid, wheat also disrupts the balance. Excess acid in the body produces joint pain and demineralizes the bones.             Other problems that wheat causes include cataracts, wrinkles, osteoporosis and dowager’s hump (bent posture) skin problems (acne, rash), and heart disease. Regarding the brain, wheat messes with cerebellar health. “Cerebellar ataxia is progressive, getting worse with each passing year until the sufferer is unable to comb his hair, brush his teeth, or go to the bathroom alone. Even the most basic self-care activities will be performed by someone else.” (p.167) Peripheral neuropathy has also been linked to gluten. MRIs have also shown brain damage in the cerebral cortex the center of memory and higher thinking. Dementia and temporal lobe seizures have been connected with wheat as well.

Finally, in Part Three, Davis guides his readers in how to “create a healthy, delicious, wheat-free life”. He lists foods that contain wheat and give recipes in the appendix. What is left in a wheat-free life? Vegetables, raw nuts, good oils (butter, olive oil, coconut and others), meat and eggs, some dairy and some fruit. By doing so, you will enjoy a healthy and slender life. Davis makes an excellent case.

In Part One, Dr. Davis gives us the shocking news (if we didn’t already know it), that Whole Wheat is unhealthy. In fact, the wheat we have today is nothing like the wheat of old – as recently as with our grandparents. He gives a thorough history of the grain of wheat. Gluten is the key ingredient, according to Davis, that makes wheat stick together and what makes problems for many. Other grains have gluten as well, but since Americans do not eat as large quantities of these other grains as we do wheat, Davis simplifies by saying, “wheat.”

Then, in Part Two, Davis presents all of the ways in which wheat destroys health. What we have today has been genetically changed into something that is actually addictive. Dr. Christine Zioudrou and her colleagues of the National Institutes of Health studied the effect of gluten on the brain. It penetrates the blood-brain barrier. Based on the effects to the brain, they called the polypeptides “exorphins” – short for exogenous morphine-like compounds. Also, wheat functions as an appetite stimulant. Wheat produces belly fat that looks like a pregnant belly. Further, wheat triggers the production of a cycle driven by insulin of satiety and hunger with emotional ups and downs. This visceral fat is very dangerous to our health. One outcome is diabetes.Some suffer from celiac disease – the intestines react violently when wheat, even a tiny bit is consumed. While animal products including cheese upset the pH in the body by producing too much acid, wheat also disrupts the balance. Excess acid in the body produces joint pain and demineralizes the bones.

Other problems that wheat causes include cataracts, wrinkles, osteoporosis and dowager’s hump (bent posture) skin problems (acne, rash), and heart disease. Regarding the brain, wheat messes with cerebellar health. “Cerebellar ataxia is progressive, getting worse with each passing year until the sufferer is unable to comb his hair, brush his teeth, or go to the bathroom alone. Even the most basic self-care activities will be performed by someone else.” (p.167) Peripheral neuropathy has also been linked to gluten. MRIs have also shown brain damage in the cerebral cortex the center of memory and higher thinking. Dementia and temporal lobe seizures have been connected with wheat as well.

Finally, in Part Three, Davis guides his readers in how to “create a healthy, delicious, wheat-free life”. He lists foods that contain wheat and give recipes in the appendix. What is left in a wheat-free life? Vegetables, raw nuts, good oils (butter, olive oil, coconut and others), meat and eggs, some dairy and some fruit. By doing so, you will enjoy a healthy and slender life. Davis makes an excellent case.