Is There a Link between Food and Brain Health?
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Nutrition trend expert and author of “Genius Foods,” Max Lugavere joins The Doctors to discuss how food can play both a positive and negative role in regards to brain health. Max has conducted extensive research after he was personally motivated by his mother’s dementia diagnosis. At only 58-years-old, Max’s mother was diagnosed with a strange form of dementia that he says feels like having Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease at the same time.
Max has written both a book and filmed a documentary on the topic of how diet influences brain health. He shares that one of the most shocking discoveries he's made in his research is the connection between Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes. According to statistics, two-thirds of U.S. adults are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. If you have type 2 diabetes your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease increases anywhere from two to four-fold.
Max says even if you don’t have type 2 diabetes, like his mother, you are still at risk. If you have type 2 diabetes that doesn’t mean you are definitely going to develop Alzheimer’s disease and you can develop Alzheimer’s without having type 2 diabetes. Max says chronically elevated insulin is something that precedes type 2 diabetes by decades and 40% of Alzheimer’s cases may be a result of it. ER physician Dr. Travis Stork points out that a lot of what we eat drives those insulin levels. While there’s no pill to treat dementia, there are some foods that may stave off dementia or help decrease the rate at which it progresses.
Max says we should be “eating a diet that gives the brain the nutrients it needs so it can at least have a fighting chance against the insults thrown at it by the modern world.”
The top three food’s Max recommends eating for brain health are:
1. Dark Leafy Greens
Research out of Rush University found that people who ate a bowl of these every day had brains that on scans looked up to 11 years younger.
2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This is a staple of the Mediterranean diet which has been associated with bigger and healthier brains.
3. Egg Yolk
Max calls this nature’s multivitamin. It contains everything nature has deemed important for the brain.
Max shares his simple recipe for "cheesy no cheese eggs" and sautéed greens.
These are the toxic foods Max says to avoid:
1. Refined Processed Foods.
The vast majority of bread today causes insulin levels in the body to elevate because the wheat has been pulverized down to a dust.
2. Industrial Grain and Seed Oils. The best oil according to Max is extra virgin olive oil, and these highly-refined oils like corn and soybean are the worst.
As a guiding principle, Max says, “Nature doesn’t create unhealthy fats, humans do.”
Get Max's recipes here.