Brain Food

Brain Food

The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power

Book - 2018
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"How to eat for maximum brain power and health from an expert in both neuroscience and nutrition. Like our bodies, our brains have very specific food requirements. And in this eye-opening book from an author who is both a neuroscientist and a certified integrative nutritionist, we learn what should be on our menu. Dr. Lisa Mosconi, whose research spans an extraordinary range of specialties including brain science, the microbiome, and nutritional genomics, notes that the dietary needs of the brain are substantially different from those of the other organs, yet few of us have any idea what they might be. Her innovative approach to cognitive health incorporates concepts that most doctors have yet to learn. Busting through advice based on pseudoscience, Dr. Mosconi provides recommendations for a complete food plan, while calling out noteworthy surprises, including why that paleo diet you are following may not be ideal, why avoiding gluten may be a terrible mistake, and how simply getting enough water can dramatically improve alertness. Including comprehensive lists of what to eat and what to avoid, a detailed quiz that will tell you where you are on the brain health spectrum, and 24 mouth-watering brain-boosting recipes that grow out of Dr. Mosconi's own childhood in Italy, Brain Food gives us the ultimate plan for a healthy brain. Brain Food will appeal to anyone looking to improve memory, prevent cognitive decline, eliminate brain fog, lift depression, or just sharpen their edge"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House,, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780399573996
Characteristics: xiii, 351 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Jun 04, 2018

Excellent book with the latest science on the subject.

There are many books about nutrition and cognitive functions. The authors ground their nutrition protocol on what humans ate during the paleolithic era. Often these authors contradict each other. For some, we were mainly hunters and ate mostly meat. For others, we were gatherers and ate plants. Others advance our digestive system can’t tolerate grains because it was a modern invention of the first agricultural revolution (about 10,000 years ago).

However, anthropology suggests that paleolithic diets were dependent of where people lived. Close to shores, they ate fish; within the forest they ate plants; in areas with herbivores they ate meat.

Her foundation is based on two facts. The first is her studying of the “Blue Zones” or the areas associated with the highest proportion of centenarians. And, her second one is her experience as a neuroscientist. She has seen thousands of brain MRIs while knowing what diet her patients ate. She uncovered a link between brain health and diet. The ones who ate a Mediterranean diet had far healthier brains than the ones on an American diet. 2 out of the 5 Blue Zones eat a Mediterranean diet. And, the others have major overlaps with a Mediterranean diet including complex carbohydrates, starches (sweet potatoes), nuts, fish, and not much meat and animal protein.

Mosconi states that based on one’s diet, she has a good idea of what your brain looks like. She has seen a correlation between people’s diet and their brain’s MRI.

Other authors have advanced that the brain needs saturated fat and cholesterol to function properly. Not so, Mosconi indicates that the fats we eat (saturated fat from animal) and cholesterol can’t even cross the blood-brain barrier. The brain needs a completely different type of fat: essential Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs). They include Omega-3s and Omega-6s fatty acids. Good sources of Omega-3s include fish, oils, eggs.

Also, brain cholesterol is very different from the cholesterol we eat. High cholesterol level (> 240 mg/dl) leads to 3 x the risk of cognitive issues and dementia later in life.

The low-carb & high-fat diet (includes keto-diet) are not good for you because the brain needs glucose for fuel. It can burn fat. But, the brain’s preferred energy source is glucose. The key is to provide the brain with glucose without raising glucose/serum blood level. You do that by avoiding sugar and eating complex carbohydrates (fresh produce) that convert into glucose.

A healthy diet includes prebiotics food (good for microbiome). They include onions, asparagus, artichokes, garlic, bananas. These foods are rich in carbohydrates called oligosaccharides. The latter lower cholesterol, prevent cancer, and detoxify your body.
Probiotics (foods that include live good bacteria) are also key. They include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.

Regular meats are really bad. They are loaded with antibiotics.

So far there is no evidence that eating grains is associated with any cognitive decline.

Mosconi imparts info regarding food codes. 4 means not-organic. 8 means GMO. 9 means organic.

Exercise is important. Vigorous exercise reduces AD risk by 43%. Daily activities like walking, gardening, can reduce your risk of AD by 35%.

There are three mechanisms that clean up the brain: 1) deep sleep that activates the cleaning glymphatic system; 2) aerobic exercises that boosts enzymatic activity that dissolves AD plaques; and 3) Intermittent fasting (12 hrs ) that cleans up amyloid in the brain.


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