Food For Thought: Save Your Brain With Food

Hello again: Here are two links to papers that reveal that food is essential for brain health, maintenance and the prevention of brain-based disorders. Indeed, the authors state: “Brain diseases, especially during aging, can be due to dietary deficiencies.” This is way too simple and often goes right over our heads. One reason is that it is the long-term consumption of these poor dietary habits that leads to brain malfunction. This means, that the negative effects are unseen until the damage is done many years later. To avoid this catastrophe, it is important to understand that brain health is dependent upon high quality, non-processed, organic foods with as great a variety as possible. Part one: Micronutrients Read more

Save The Ticks!!

Hello everyone: This is basically a public service announcement, as this super nice weather brings us outdoors and into contact with all kinds of bugs, and the ones we most need to be alert to are ticks. If you are ever bitten by a tick, it is important that you save the tick (alive or dead) in a small plastic bag or other sealed container that they cannot escape if still alive. There are several reasons that it is super important to save them: 1.       For identification of the type of tick and if there is any risk of infection. Some sites will test for up to 25 possible tick-born infections, but it depends on the type of tick for which infections they will test for. 2.       To send them in for analysis, i.e., to see if they are carrying infection(s) of any kind so that you know if you need to take quick medical measures with appropriate prescription anti-biotics and other ... Read more

Gratitude and Love: Secrets to a Healthy Life

Hello everyone: On this Memorial Day, we choose to acknowledge and honor our Veterans and to thank them for their sacrifices to ensure our freedom and safety. In addition to being the right thing to do, it also promotes general health in our population. It turns out that gratitude can be cultivated and it will help to undo the negative effects of stress and loneliness. Please recall from earlier articles that both stress and loneliness are direct causes of inflammation, and that inflammation will cause, aggravate or perpetuate virtually all illness. So, by cultivating gratitude, we can feel better mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Whether it is a prayer of gratitude, or a gratitude journal, or finding a way to be thankful and grateful to someone every day, or to offer a smile to strangers or anyone…virtually any act of gratitude will help us cultivate an aspect of our ... Read more

Exercise and Brain Health: How Much Is Enough?

Hello everyone: Here is some great news about exercise and brain volume. Please recall that any loss of brain volume is NOT a good thing, as it is associated with brain fog, progressing to cognitive impairment progressing to dementia. So some smart folks decided to figure it out for us: Importance: Dementia risk may be attenuated by physical activity (PA); however, the specific activity levels optimal for dementia prevention are unclear. Moreover, most older adults are unable to meet the nationally recommended PA guidelines, set at 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous PA per week. Conclusions and Relevance: Every additional hour of ... Read more

Preventing Brain Atrophy In Alzheimer’s: It can be done!!

Hello everyone: This is a pretty astounding paper that reveals how certain B vitamins slowed brain shrinkage and cognitive decline, plus they went even further with great results: “Is it possible to prevent atrophy of key brain regions related to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease (AD)? One approach is to modify nongenetic risk factors, for instance by lowering elevated plasma homocysteine using B vitamins. In an initial, randomized controlled study on elderly subjects with increased dementia risk (mild cognitive impairment according to 2004 Petersen criteria), we showed that high-dose B-vitamin treatment (folic acid 0.8 mg, vitamin B6 20 mg, vitamin B12 0.5 mg) slowed shrinkage of the whole brain volume over 2 y.” If that was not enough, look what else they did!! “Here, we go further by demonstrating that ... Read more

Food IS Medicine

Hello again everyone: What I tell patients every day is that food choices have everything to do with health, and they either get it but do not know what food choices to make or they just don’t fully believe it. Well…believe it! There is just too much good science now to doubt it. Here is what the opening paragraph from a Harvard monograph has to say: “For critically and chronically ill people, food is medicine. With adequate amounts of nutritious food, people who are sick have a better response to medication, maintain and gain strength, and have improved chances of recovery. Ultimately, access to healthy food leads to improved health outcomes and lower health care costs…Food is increasingly recognized as a core component of preventive and ameliorative health care.” There are now ... Read more

Sleepy After You Eat? Could Be Insulin Resistance

Hello again: It is estimated that 2/3 of Americans have some level of insulin resistance, and 90% of those with the condition do not know they have it. When we repetitively over-eat and/or eat the wrong kind of foods that supply too large of a carbohydrate load, we are demanding our bodies to make insulin. Insulin is needed to pull blood sugar out of the blood and into the tissue. When we over-consume foods that turn into sugar, we can over-tax the insulin system which can lead to either insulin resistance (too much insulin) or partial to complete burn-out of our insulin producing cells (not enough insulin any more). This cycle of events leads to increased abdominal fat, sugar and/or carb cravings, hormonal changes (low testosterone and increased estrogen), inflammation, water retention, memory loss, brain shrinkage and more. An important point is that insulin resistance that is left ... Read more

Food in Health and Disease: Know Your Risks

Hello again everyone: As you know, chronic disease is the major cause of suffering in our country, and worldwide as well. However, knowing what the science shows us has not changed dietary patterns. This is incredibly unfortunate as it turns out that what we eat is now known to DEFINITELY be associated with the onset, aggravation and perpetuation of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular health (heart attacks, stents, stroke), diabetes, dementia, cancer, autoimmune diseases, etc., etc. Check out this recent article where they research the fact that “suboptimal diet is an important preventable risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCD’s)”. "This study shows that poor diet is the leading risk factor for deaths in the majority of the countries of the world," said study author ... Read more

Processed Foods and Anti-Nutritional Results: Say What?

Hello again: Here is an important concept that is easy to grasp, but no one talks about it, and that is that processed foods actually have ‘anti-nutritional’ values. The concept is this: Processed foods contain anti-nutrients, which are things like chemicals and foods stripped of nutrients and nutritionally associated compounds (such as phytonutrients, bioflavonoids, polyphenols etc. that are essential to our natural and optimal biochemistry). In order for our bodily systems to metabolize these foods and artificial compounds and chemicals, we require the nutrients that should have come with the foods in the first place, as well as extra nutrients to get rid of the toxic chemicals. Without those nutrients, we actually have to rob our own store of nutrients, so we are in essence creating nutritional deficits…that is…nutrient insufficiencies and/or deficiencies. Thus, eating poorly ... Read more

Food and Brain Health: Keep Sharp With Healthy Eating

Hello again everyone: As you know, I have repeatedly focused on inflammation and how it ruins our health. Here is a link that is worth reviewing so that you can see that this idea is totally backed by science, and while it is not a standard part of medical care…it should be!! “The importance of chronic low-grade inflammation in the pathology of numerous age-related chronic conditions is now clear. An unresolved inflammatory response is likely to be involved from the early stages of disease development.” Bottom Line: This is a great paper, and I want to focus on just a few concepts that they delineate. They basically cover cardiometabolic diseases, gut and systemic inflammatory contributions, and neurological/brain inflammation, the contribution of dietary fats and carbohydrates and plant biochemicals to inflammation, and ... Read more