There’s a seemingly endless stream of advice on what to eat or NOT to eat to be healthy. Whose advice should we follow? And when it comes to brain health, what should we be eating? There are some interesting new perspectives on this. As usual, they’re controversial but well worth exploring.
The groundbreaking new book The Grain Brain by esteemed neuroscientist, Dr. David Perlmutter MD, has shattered some previous notions about what we’ve long perceived as ‘healthy’ foods. Whole grains, specifically, are just as bad for us as white bread. As we know, foods that are high in carbs cause our blood sugar to spike. This spike causes inflammation in the body. And inflammation is our enemy.
The bottom line is that carbohydrates cause this dangerous inflammation in the body. Inflammation in the body causes disease. Dr. Perlmutter’s solution: By not eating carbohydrates, we can protect our brains.
But what about the damage that’s already been done? Most of us have been eating whole grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other complex carbs our whole lives. According to Dr. Perlmutter, the damage can actually be reversed. Just like a New England Journal of Medicine study from earlier this year concluded: a smoker who decides to quit by age 40 reduces the risk of death associated with continued smoking by about 90%; there’s good news for our brains, too.
According to Perlmutter and Oz, we are in control of this damage. But how?
The brain has plasticity which means it can heal itself. This is a very good thing. In order to feed our brains, we must think of it first.
We say that the foods we consume nourish our bodies — and they do. But our first, most important, consideration really needs to be our brain. We need to be asking ‘Will this food benefit my brain? Will this food hurt my brain?’ If we pause and ask this about every item we put into our bodies, we will eat better. We will eat more consciously. And we will eat smarter.
According to Perlmutter’s assertion, the brain absolutely requires fats such as butter, olive oil and coconut butter. Not unlike the ketogenic or Atkins diets, Perlmutter bases his solution around what works to keep inflammation and, therefore, disease, at bay.
It’s no mistake that obesity and diabetes are at an all time high today. The foods we are consuming are causing us to be sick. Perlmutter’s answer: avoid carbs and eat healthy fats that return our brains and bodies to where they need to be.
What brain-healthy foods will you be eating today? Will you make sure to ask “Is this good for my brain?” before you eat it? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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