Could a scientifically proven new approach to dieting boost brain power as well as weight loss?
20 January 2014
Think you know what healthy means? Think again. Dr David Perlmutter’s new book, Grain Brain (Hodder & Stoughton, £13.99) is about to make you re-think your lifestyle. It turns out that some of our staple foods are doing more harm than we realise – and not just to our waistlines.
Having studied brain disease for 35 years, Dr David Perlmutter is a world leader in cognitive nutrition. He wanted to write a book that would make people think about the effect food is having on their brains as well as their bodies. Grain Brain is the result.
The science behind the book speaks for itself. Elderly people with a high carb diet are more than three times as likely to develop cognitive impairments. With one hospital patient in every four currently suffering from dementia, Grain Brain offers a diet that can help relieve symptoms. And it’s not just unhealthy carbs, like white bread, cakes and biscuits that cause problems, but Dr Purlmetter says that even the healther carbs like whole grains can have a negative effect on your health.
As Dr Purlmetter explains, the heart is considered the centre of life, but without the brain it would not function. By shifting patterns with small changes to your lifestyle, you’ll begin to take control of your cognitive and bodily health. Dr Purlmetter argues that these simple changes will help improve memory, boost energy levels, and alleviate brain fog’ symptoms – not to mention aid weight loss.
In Grain Brain, Dr Perlmutter outlines the science behind his ideas, plus offers recipes and meal plans to keep your brain functioning at its best. But Dr Perlmutter’s meal plans will not only help you improve brain function now, but science suggests that you can also change your genetic destiny too – just by making the lifestyle changes set out in the book.
So, start by making one small change today.
Grain Brain by Dr David Perlmutter (Hodder & Stoughton, £13.99)
We’ve all heard about the effects gluten can have on the body – especially if you have a medically diagnosed intolerance or an auto-immune disease, but you’d probably never guess that the protein is also in your conditioner or your mascara.
Gluten acts like a glue by binding ingredients together – it’s what gives breads their chewiness. This means gluten products can be difficult for the body to break down because the protein lines the small intestine with the leftover residue. This reaction is what can create abdominal pains.
Dr Perlmutter says that by going completely gluten-free you’ll notice a difference not only in your energy levels but also your body’s overall health.
Want to give it a go? Dr Hauschka offers a number of certified gluten-free beauty products.
Glucose, fructose, sucrose, fruit sugar and high-fructose corn syrup – there are more sugar groups than you probably realise, and these are just a few.
To put how bad sugar is into context – fructose and glucose are often combined and although the fructose does little to our blood straight away, the glucose stimulates the insulin in the body and alerts the fat cells for storage.
Dr Perlmutter explains that over-consumption of sugar can lead to premature ageing too – so the simple solution suggested is to make sugar less available!
Fasting, we’re being told, is not only good for our brain, but also our overall health. Intermittent fasting for 24-72 hour periods is a manageable way of enhancing your body without putting it under too much strain.
Our body uses fat stores as an alternative source of calories during fasting. So to keep your energy levels up and prevent your body from taking from your muscle mass, Dr Perlmutter suggests using coconut oil as a supplement – it will stimulate the growth of new brain cells as well.
By increasing your Beta-HBA through the coconut oil, your brains functionality will be retained and your muscle mass preserved.
If you suffer from migraines, consider your BMI. If you are overweight, there’s a chance it’s effecting how often you get a migraine and how severe it is. Scientific studies have proven that excess belly fat may be causing a more intense migraine.
Deficiencies in vitamin D and zinc have been linked to depression, with vitamin D known as a key nutrient required for mood regulation. By ensuring you’re eating vitamin D and zinc-rich foods you’ll help create a healthy bodily balance.
To ensure the relief of symptoms of depression, Grain Brain also recommends going gluten-free. Sensitivity to gluten may be a casual factor in depression.
We all know that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but here’s something you probably didn’t know – it’s also good for your brain. Aerobics has been proven to help brain cell growth and help reverse a declining memory.
As Dr Perlmutter explains, when you exercise more blood flows to the brain and the nutrients in your blood is what helps cell growth. Brisk walking, swimming, cycling and hiking have all been proven to be the most beneficial exercises for your cognitive health.
For food plans and more, buy Grain Brain by Dr David Perlmutter (Hodder & Stoughton, £13.99)