Highly recommend the book Bullet Proof by Dave Asprey - as I have been reading it and have MORE on the list! Here are a few things I have learned about brain health, gut health and nutrition thus far!
5 Things that Surprised me about Brain Health and Nutrition (so far)
1. All the fats - but it matters what KIND of fats! MCT and brain octane oil are BOTH awesome fats that help fight inflammation in the brain (and gut and your body in general) and even help produce better mitochondria for your brain cells. You can purchase them as supplements but with any supplements be cautious of your source to ensure you really are getting what you are setting out to receive. ALSO - too much of the oil can give you "disaster pants" (quote Dave Asprey haha) so it may take a while for your body to adjust to the amount!
2. Coffee! Coffee is good for your brain! (yay right?!) But it definitely matters WHERE your coffee comes from! Did you know that certain brains of coffee contain MOLD? And THAT is a trigger that CAUSES inflammation in your brain! (more on that in number four) Scary enough is that the US has NO STANDARDS for cofee so it lags behind other nations that have limits on mold and do thorough testing on the product! So make sure you are seeking out WHERE your coffee comes from. Some tips: Look for coffee that was produced from one place, avoid coffee blends, look for Central American grown coffee and coffee that was grown at higher elevations which makes the bean less susceptible to mold.
3. "Some foods cause inflammation by irritating the lining of the gut and triggering your immune system to attack healthy cells - when the mitochondria are inflamed, the electron transport chain becomes elongated, and it takes more time for electrons to move through the chain." (Head Strong - Dave Asprey) - so BASICALLY your brain becomes SLOWER, you have less brain energy to do what you normally are capable of doing. No, it isn't always CLEAR CUT as to which foods cause you personally inflammation but there are signs that you will notice after ingesting these foods: "easily irritated, increased heart rate, feeling "puffy", feeling like you are in a brain fog -Some of the most common foods for causing inflammation include: trans fats, dairy, gluten and vegetable oils.
4. Moldy foods! Did you know that certain foods contain MOLD - which REALLY causes damage to our brains. Some foods contain more than others and of course is related to the source of where the food was grown and how it is produced. Foods that are commonly effected include: cereal and grains, coffee, wine, beer, nuts, corn and chocolate.
5. So what about sugar intake? Dave Asprey suggests to STOP the use of all artificial sweeteners - this includes aspartame (commonly found in diet soda) A fun nerdy science fact I didn't know: "Aspartame is made up of two amino acids (aka building blocks of protein) - one of them being phenylalanine is chemically altered to form free methanol (aka wood alcohol.) Free methanol is NEUROTOXIC and is actually converted to formaldehyde in the liver! - which is literally poison... crazy right? (Head Strong, Dave Asprey)
Sugar itself too is considered to be neuro-toxic (highly damaging to your brain) especially at the levels we consume it here in the US. "It is part of nearly every major degenerative illness, including Alzheimer's disease - so much so that many doctors have begun referring to Alzheimer's disease as "type 3 diabetes." " (Head Strong, Dave Asprey) Countless studies have shown that an increase of sugar intake has led to decreased concentation and doing brain scans on the participants they literally SAW that the brain wasn't firing the way it should! Crazy right? So sugar consumption can LITERALLY prevent our brain cells from signaling to each other. Sugar has also been show to cause moodiness, anger, fogginess, forgetfulness and decrease our energy. Keep in mind that sugar includes the sugar that was found in fruit, high fructose corn syrup, agave and many others.
Does this mean I'm going crazy and giving up ALL sugar, alcohol, chocolate and coffee? No - but it DOES make me pay more attention and there are some things that I could change to help my own brain - who doesn't want a high performing brain? It continues to astound me how much our food and nutrition plays a factor in our health and absence of disease.
What are your thoughts on this?
Do you have any issues or history of brain disease in your family?
Do you or someone close to you have issues with gut health?
Have you looked into any of this too or read any of the books/podcasts/articles!
Can't wait to hear your thoughts -
Cookie and Treats Baker. R.N. Nutrition Nerd. Runner. <3 Coffee. Fitness. Foodie. In pursuit of finding my own kind of balance...
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