"The brain we develop reflects the life we lead." ~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama
I attended the annual conference of The Institute for Functional Medicine at the beginning of June, and what I learned blew my mind! Many well-known doctors and researchers presented their studies on brain health, including the link between environment factors, diet, and lifestyle choices that can positively or negatively affect our brains.
There was a ton of great information on how to keep and, even improve the brain that you have, so I will be sharing all the latest studies on neuroplasticity and brain health in a series of free webinars.
(We'll be sending out a special link to sign-up at the beginning of July.)
Meanwhile, here are 5 tips that you can implement right away to help prevent cognitive decline. No matter how young you are, my advice is to start now.
Karen with Dr. David Perlmutter at the Institute of Functional Medicine's annual conference
5 Tips to Prevent Cognitive Decline:
1. Eat fermented foods - As you can see from the sub-title of Dr. Perlmutter's book,
Brain Maker, (see above image), gut microbes have a direct link to your brain. so, eating sauerkraut, and other lacto-fermented foods, such as yogurt, will ensure that you have a healthy microbiome to power your brain.
"The microbiome affects our mood, libido, metablism, immunity, and even our preception of the world and the clarity of our thoughts." ~ from Brain Maker, p. 9
2. Cardio workout - You don't have to do crazy extreme sports. Simply anything that helps to bring oxygen to your lungs and brain. Jogging (moderate pace), cycling, or using an elliptical are excellent choices. The key is to engage an activity that increases oxygen to your lungs and circulation to your brain.
3. Eat butter - Really! There's something called brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a protein in our brain that initiates growth of neurons. Butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that helps to promote production of BDNF is found in butter.
And by the way, our gut can also make butyrate with a high fiber diet and good gut microbes. So, eating sauerkraut and other lacto-fermented vegetables on a regular basis helps to increase butyrate as well.
(Organic or raw butters from grass-fed cows are your best choices.)
4. Maintain blood sugar balance - Spikes in blood sugar negatively affects our brains because it leads to depletion of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, GABA, and dopamine, which are critical to brain function.
5. Choose organic foods - Yes, it does matter and it makes a difference.
According to Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, founder of Bastyr University and author of The Toxin Solution, 60% of the toxins which invade our bodies come from food sources. Research show that an overload of toxins in the body can cross the blood brain barrier and initiate inflammation in the brain, which can lead to dementia, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's disease.
Want to learn more about BDNF, neurotransmitters, and more steps to keep your brain in shape and even improve it's function? Please look out for our webinar announcement in July.
Here's to fermentation and your brain!