Category: Nutrition

Possibly the most important section of the blog- in this Nutrition section you will find information on how to properly fuel the brain. There is no denying the correlation between proper diet and dementia and alzheimers prevention, proper prenatal care, and improving overall brain health.

Some posts to get you started:
Exposing the Secret of Healthy Fats
The Facts on Fasting

Dr. David Perlmutter and Dr. David Ludwig

Today on The Empowering Neurologist,  I interview Dr. David Ludwig. Dr. Ludwig is a practicing endocrinologist and researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and Professor of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Ludwig has published over 150 scientific articles, and presently serves as Contributing Writer for JAMA.

He is founding director of the Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) program at Children’s Hospital, one of the country’s oldest and largest multidisciplinary clinics for the care of overweight children. OWL serves as a home for research into innovative approaches to treat childhood obesity.

Dr. Ludwig also directs the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center. His research focuses on the effects of diet on hormones, metabolism and body weight. He developed a novel “low glycemic load” diet (i.e., one that decreases the surge in blood sugar after meals) for the treatment of obesity-related diseases.

Described as an “obesity warrior” by Time magazine, Dr. Ludwig has been featured in the New York Times and on NPR, ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN, among others.

Today’s interview focuses on his new book, Always Hungry?.

From Amazon:

ALWAYS HUNGRY? turns dieting on its head with a three-phase program that ignores calories and targets fat cells directly. The recipes and meal plan include luscious high fat foods (like nuts and nut butters, full fat dairy, avocados, and dark chocolate), savory proteins, and natural carbohydrates. The result? Fat cells release their excess calories and you lose weight-and inches-without battling cravings and constant hunger. This is dieting without deprivation.

Forget calories. Forget cravings. Forget dieting. ALWAYS HUNGRY? reveals a liberating new way to tame hunger and lose weight . . . for good.

The book really does deliver in terms of both providing the science in an understandable way, as well as giving the reader a user-friendly, actionable plan. I’m really glad I was given the opportunity to read the manuscript for this important work.

3 Ways to Choose Health in 2016

My Top 3 Health Recommendations for 2016

As you’re planning your New Year’s Resolutions, consider my list of suggestions for 2016:

  • Exercise – Yes, you’ve heard it so many times before, but our understanding of what exercise does to enhance health is undergoing a revolution. While its been recognized for decades that aerobic exercise in particular is associated with risk reduction for various inflammatory and degenerative conditions, including type 2 diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, chronic back pain and even low libido, the breakthrough has been the discovery that aerobic exercise actually changes the expression of our DNA! These changes in gene expression turn on pathways that increase our body’s production of antioxidants while reducing inflammatory mediators and amping up detoxification pathways. Yes, it’s easier to take a pill or even a nutritional supplement, but the science supporting what and how exercise does its magic is really compelling. So moving forward, I’d like you to consider 20 minutes of aerobics, every day. Continue reading
Makes_You_Happy

What Do You Like?

Always good to take a moment to think about the things you like. My list, clearly not in any particular order:

  • Acts of compassion.
  • Dedication to a cause.
  • Love for my family and friends.
  • Love of my family and friends.
  • Sautéed onions.
  • Socks right out of the dryer.
  • Selflessness.
  • Learning.
  • Coffee.
  • Connecting seemingly disparate conceptual dots.
  • The counsel of wise elders.
  • Making complex issues more approachable.
  • The positive outcomes of my work.
  • The mystery of it all.
Chestnut Flour – A Gluten-Free Alternative

Flour made from chestnuts has become a popular choice for those who have decided to go gluten-free. In this video, we take a look at chestnut flour right from its source and explore the various nutritional considerations for it as a food choice.

One of the main advantages of chestnut flour, aside from the lack of gluten, is that it is a really good source of resistant starch, a form of prebiotic fiber that serves to nurture probiotic bacteria, allowing them to increase their production of health enhancing short chain fatty acids like butyrate. In addition, like olive oil, chestnut flour contains meaningful levels of mono unsaturated fatty acids which represents another plus.

As mentioned in the video, chestnut flour does contain sugar, so restraint is recommended.

Coffee

Coffee – A Healthy Choice

It has been estimated that around 60% of Americans over the age of 18 report that they are “regular” coffee drinkers. No doubt what most motivates this consumption is the familiar and dependable lift that coffee provides.

What may be less familiar to us consumers of this popular beverage is the ever-widening base of information that reveals some significant health benefits associated with this drink.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, coffee consumption has been associated with a reduced risk for the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). T2D is characterized by elevation of blood sugar and that can have implications for any and all parts of the body. From my perspective as a neurologist, T2D is thought to actually double a person’s risk for the development of Alzheimer’s disease (more on that in a moment).

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Multiple Sclerosis – Prebiotic Foods May Make a Huge Difference

Multiple sclerosis (MS) has been diagnosed in more than 400,000 Americans, with about 200 new cases identified each week.

The overwhelming approach in addressing MS is centered on drugs designed to alter the course of the disease once it has manifested. Fortunately, leading edge researchers around the globe are exploring other approaches, including modifiable lifestyle factors, that may be leveraged in a situation like MS, in which the immune system has became out of balance.

In this video blog, I review a study published by German researchers in which they manipulated the fatty acid availability in laboratory animals while they assessed various markers of immune regulation.

What these researchers discovered is that when short chain fatty acids were enhanced in the laboratory animal model of human MS, the immune markers that are typically out of balance were brought under control. When long chain fatty acids were accentuated, the immune markers worsened.

We make short chain fatty acids when our gut bacteria are provided fuel in the form of prebiotic fiber. So the take home message is that this research would indicate that it may be reasonable for MS patients to consider increasing their consumption of prebiotic foods as a method of achieving immune balance.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha Improves Athletic Performance

Ashwagandha is an important herb in traditional Indian medicine because of its wide-ranging health benefits. As it turns out, there’s a lot of mainstream science surrounding this ancient herb that validates its potential in terms of benefit.

One recent study was designed to determine if providing Ashwagandha could have an effect on the aerobic capacity in elite athletes. The study involved dividing 40 athletes into experimental and placebo groups. The experimental group took 500 mg capsules of Ashwagandha twice daily for eight weeks, while the placebo group took capsules of starch.

The researchers performed baseline studies of the cyclists and measured their aerobic capacity in a variety of ways with some fairly sophisticated equipment. After eight weeks they repeated the evaluation and compared the two groups.

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It’s Never Nice To Fool Mother Nature

By now, pretty much everyone is dialed in to the message that sugar threatens health. No doubt, this is a powerful and motivating bit of information for people to adopt dietary strategies that limit sugar exposure. Unfortunately, because of this information, we are seeing a surge in the consumption of artificially sweetened foods and beverages.

In this video, I explore the fallacy and misconception of the health benefits related to non-caloric artificial sweeteners. I explored the research that actually demonstrates a dramatic increase in risk for weight gain as well as type 2 diabetes in those individuals who favor the consumption of these foods and beverages. Continue reading

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Kale – What You Probably Didn’t Know

As many of you will note, I have blogged quite a few times about the health virtues of kale. This is truly one on the healthiest food choices you can bring to your table.

Kale, a member of the cabbage family, is power packed with vitamins A, K, C, with meaningful amounts of B vitamins as well as trace minerals. It’s low in carbs and calories.

But there another attribute that I think is important to share in our discussion of kale. Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and cauliflower, kale is a cruciferous vegetable. That means that the flowers of these vegetables take the form of a cross. More importantly, it means that like other cruciferous vegetables, kale is rich in a chemical called sulforaphane, and this may be one of kale’s most important health attributes.

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Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It – A Conversation with Gary Taubes

In this week’s video, I had the pleasure of interviewing medical researcher and journalist Gary Taubes. Notably, Gary wrote both “Why We Get Fat” and “Good Calories/Bad Calories”, and is a pioneer of the idea that it isn’t fat that makes us fat, but simple sugars and carbohydrates. Join us for an in-depth discussion on nutrition, obesity, health, and more.