brain health

I’ve been listening virtually to The Gluten Summit and there have been some fantastic presentations, so I thought I’d share some of the wisdom from these great researchers and speakers.

The info below comes from a speaker know as Dr Daniel Amen. He is Director of Medicine for Amen Clinics, a Physician and board ceritifed psychiatirst, and 5 times New York Bestseller. He is an expert in brain imaging and has been studying people’s brains for 25 years.

1. The brain is constantly changing

The brain changes throughout our life, known as neuro plasticity. It’s not a dead thing, obviously, but being molded by the things we eat, do, and think. The brain always has capacity to make new neurons, new connections and is trainable both good and bad, and the best part of it all is we can slow down aging in the brain.

We don’t often think about our brain because we can’t see it, yet it goes about it’s work every single day, influencing our capacity to make decisions, to feel good, to go about absolutely EVERYTHING we do.

2. Our lifestyle can hurt our brain

We’re probably all aware of this to some extent  and one of the biggest contributors to poor brain health is the Standard American or Australian Diet (SAD), full of processed foods, bad fats, excessive sugar and salt.

Other things that can hurt our brain:

  • drugs
  • alcohol
  • environmental toxins
  • toxic cleaning products
  • pollution
  • diabetes
  • hypertension
  • hormones
  • negative thinking patterns

3. As you put on weight your brain shrinks

Overweight or obesity has a major impact on the brain. Amazingly as your weight goes up the physical size and function of your brain goes down!

4. You need fat for your brain to function

Wonder why we have so many problems with brain / mental health these days? Because a low fat diet is bad for our brain. 60% of the solid weight of your brain is fat. We need to eat healthy fats and avoid trans fats and cheap oils that boost Omega 6 fatty acids that cause inflammation.

“Find the healthiest person you can, and spend as much time as you can around him or her as possible” ~Dr Amen.

5. Gluten and dairy free diets often help the brain

Some people have lower blood flow to the brain when they eat gluten. The 3 things we feed ourselves for breakfast that may be bad for our brain are sugar, gluten filled cereal and dairy/milk. This is really not a great way to set ourselves up for a day of good thinking and this is what we give our kids to go to school?!

Dr Amen recommends all austisitc kids and ADHD kids eat a gluten free and dairy free diet. Also any patients with GI symptoms or brain fog. You can improve your brain health by simply cutting out any food allergies that can affect the brain, wheat being one of the most common causes.

A few of the brain conditions he mentioned could be helped by cutting out gluten include aspergers, migraine headaches, ADHD, and mood disorders.

6. What we eat directly affects the brain

Did you know the brain uses 25% of the calories you consume. I didn’t. That is an amazing amount of energy used for brain function, so any foods you eat, including all the toxic junk, directly affects your brain health.

7. How to eat for brain health

Dr Amen recommendeds a diet for brain health looks something like this:

  • 70% plant based
  • 30% protein
  • And include healthy forms of fat – coconut oil, butter, olive oil etc.

A healthy diet improves brain function and increases energy, stablises mood, and decreases brain fog and anxiety.

“Why do we celebrate with toxins rather than celebrate with things that are really great for us?” Dr Amen.

What a great quote and some great info there from Dr Amen.

Hope you learned something too

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