How Eating The Right Foods Can Help Optimize Cognitive Health Over The Long-Term
The Genius Foods book can be your guide to doing just that.
With a wealth of up-to-date scientific evidence linking nutrition and cognitive health, it provides an in-depth look at the critical elements needed for mastering good dietary habits.
You’ll learn why incorporating healthy fats like olive oil into your diet is so important; how cholesterol isn’t necessarily bad but refined carbohydrates and sugars are; and what steps you can take now to put yourself on a path to protecting your long-term mental capacity.
In short, this book informs every reader about the power of food for thought when it comes to maintaining a healthy brain.
Healthy Eating Can Make Us Smarter, Happier, And More Productive
It’s a known fact that we can continue to improve our brains even when we’re older!
Research has proven that the process of neuroplasticity still occurs until death and that diet plays a vital role in keeping the brain healthy.
Optimizing your diet can significantly boost your brain’s performance at any stage in life.
Take for example, a Food and Mood Center study conducted by Deakin University which found that depression could be effectively managed through dietary changes; eliminating sugar, fried food, and processed meats from their diets, while adding more vegetables, nuts, lean red meat, whole grains and legumes was what had the greatest impact on participants’ depressive symptoms.
Neurobiologist Miia Kivipelto also showed this to be true when she conducted a study on 1,200 people deemed at risk of cognitive decline – those participating in both nutritional and exercise programmes with social support saw an increase in cognitive function of 25% as well as better decision-making and interpersonal skills than those who only had social support.
The bottom line? Healthy eating that is optimized for optimal brain health can make us smarter, happier, and more productive no matter what age we are.
The Dangers And Benefits Of Different Sources Of Fats For Brain Health
When it comes to the health of your brain, different types of fats and oils can have a huge impact.
Polyunsaturated fats can nourish your brain, but only in specific situations.
Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, are found in wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, eggs and grass-fed meats and have been found to support the functioning of brain cells as well as improve memory, mood and executive function.
Monounsaturated fats are also beneficial for the brain; they protect neurons and boost neurotransmission.
These are found in extra virgin olive oil, avocados and macadamias.
On the other hand, trans fats should be avoided at all costs; they’re typically found in pre-packaged processed foods like margarine and vegan cheese.
These stiffen neuronal membranes making it more difficult for them to transmit information (potentially leading to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s).
In conclusion; different fats can either nourish or degrade your brain health – so make sure to choose the right ones!
The Brain-Damaging Effects Of Sugar: Avoiding Fructose, Glucose And Ages For Better Cognitive Health
Sugar can be very damaging to your brain health.
It may be added to products in many different forms, so it is important to learn to spot it in all of its disguises.
Refined sugar is the most prominent form and can hide in seemingly harmless products such as juices, crackers, condiments, and soft drinks.
In addition to refined sugar, starches, sugars found naturally in wheat, corn, rice and potatoes can also contribute.
Corn syrup and lactose are two more commonly found sources of sugar.
Glucose especially needs looking out for since it’s known to stick to proteins that are necessary for proper functioning of organs and tissues- including the brain- via a process called glycation.
Research has shown that an adult with greater levels of Advanced Glycation End-products (AGE) – which results from glycation- have been observed with decreasing cognitive abilities, reduced neuroplasticity and problems with learning and memory recall.
Fructose is often labelled as a healthier alternative compared to other forms of sugar but research has shown it impairs mental processing in rats.
A study carried out on rats by UCLA showed that too much fructose had a negative impact on their mental capabilities with them having twice as long time navigating mazes compared to those who were fed water only.
Another study at Mayo Clinic linked high fruit consumption with metabolic disorders such as Type 2 diabetes along with cognitive impairments too meaning that it is best if you opt for fruits low in fructose contents like avocados or cacao instead of high fruit consumption like the ones mentioned earlier.
Adopt A Low-Carb Diet For Better Cognitive Health
It’s important to think about the long-term effects of what we consume as it has an impact on our cognitive health.
Specifically, eating carbohydrates has been linked to devastating brain health issues such as Alzheimer’s.
In fact, a study by the Medical University of South Carolina found that higher insulin levels are correlated with steady decreases in cognitive performance over a six year period, even among people without diabetes.
The Buck Institute for Research on Aging conducted a metabolic health program for those suffering from severe cognitive impairments and instructed them to eat a low grain diet.
After six months of this lifestyle change, they saw significant improvements in the participant’s memory and overall mental performance!
To protect yourself from future brain health problems, it is essential to cut down your carbohydrate intake and embrace a low-carb diet.
This way you can ensure that you are not pushing your insulin levels through the roof and risking an insulin resistance which can trigger all sorts of harmful consequences for your cognition and overall brain health.
Don’t Fear Cholesterol – Avoid Sugar And Carbs Instead To Keep Your Heart Healthy
Cholesterol plays an essential role in our brain’s health as it is found in 25% of the body’s total cholesterol.
A Framingham Heart Study from 2005 has even concluded that high cholesterol levels result in improved cognitive performance!
In addition, cholesterol-rich foods like eggs are incredibly nutritious and supply our bodies with important compounds like choline and acetylcholine, which support learning and memory.
However, when low-density lipoproteins (LDL), the molecules that transport cholesterol to different parts of the body become damaged due to dietary choices such high sugar intake, chronic stress and fiber deficiency, our livers have a harder time processing them.
What follows is that they attach onto artery walls – which can lead to heart disease.
Hence, while cholesterol is an essential nutrient for brain health, an excess of it can also cause problems if we don’t watch what we eat or if we live an unhealthy lifestyle.
Tap Into The Brain-Boosting Benefits Of Ketones Through Fasting And Eating The Right Foods
In the Genius Foods book, there is talk of a specific type of fuel that can be beneficial for the brain–ketones.
A great way to access this fuel is by fasting and modifying your diet.
During a fast or when eating a low-carb diet, your body uses fat reserves instead of relying on the typical glucose and carb sources for energy.
This process produces ketones as an alternate fuel source.
Ketones are particularly efficient and beneficial for overall brain health; in fact, a study published in 2016 found they produce hormones such as BDNF that support learning and mood balance.
To get more ketones, it is recommended to allocate 16 hours of the day to fasting, then allowing only 8 hours for eating.
Additionally, adding MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) like those found in coconut oil can help generate even more ketones during these 8-hour windows.
By including intermittent fasting into your lifestyle as well as foods containing MCTs during normal eating times, you will be able to maximize your body’s production of these clean fuels so that you reap all the benefits that come from them!
What You Eat Affects Your Brain: The Link Between Gut Health And Mental Well-Being
Your gut is more than just a digestive system.
It’s also home to a complex microbiome made up of trillions of single-celled bacterial organisms which play an important role in maintaining your health and wellbeing.
These organisms extract energy and synthesize vitamins, helping to keep your body running at its best.
But did you know that your gut’s microbiome also has direct communication with your brain? In order for your gut to work properly, it needs plenty of prebiotic fiber – a special form of carbohydrate that helps nurture the growth and activity of bacteria in the gut.
Eating plenty of foods containing prebiotics like avocados, sunchokes, leek, berries, coffee, unripe bananas, arugula and fennel can help give your gut the nourishment it needs.
Studies have found that regular consumption of these fibers can drastically reduce risk factors associated with conditions like hypertension, diabetes and dementia – showing how closely connected our mind and our gut really are!
Furthermore, when the microbiome isn’t healthy it can lead to autoimmunity – i.e., the immune system attacking itself – which increases one’s chances of developing dementia or other cognitive disorders.
Clearly this proves just how important it is to take care of one’s microbiome by eating prebiotic-rich food and taking regular probiotic supplements if needed.
Your brain will thank you for it!
Take Care Of Your Brain Neurotransmitters To Optimize Cognitive Performance
Achieving a balanced mood can be a daunting task.
However, it is possible to help your brain’s neurotransmitters reach their optimal performance levels by adopting a diet that meets their needs.
The most important neurotransmitters in the brain are acetylcholine, serotonin and norepinephrine.
Acetylcholine is responsible for learning and memory, so it’s important to cut out anticholinergic drugs and eat choline-rich foods–like egg yolks, beef liver, shrimp, broccoli and scallops–in order to make sure your body is taking in enough of this crucial nutrient.
Serotonin is your brain’s mood neurotransmitter, so natural sources such as vitamin D and omega-3s should be included in a healthy diet in order to ensure an optimal intake which can help keep you from becoming depressed due to low serotonin levels.
In addition to these nutrient-dense options there is also norepinephrine which helps with focus and has anti-inflammatory properties which can protect against the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Stressful stimuli should be avoided while exercising regularly as studies have proven that movement increases cognitive capacity significantly.
If following these dietary recommendations doesn’t work then don’t worry–there are professionals available who can help you find what will work best for you!
The Genius Plan: An Ultra-Low-Carb Diet With An Ultra-High Return
If you want to get the most out of your diet and eat your way to better health, then the Genius Plan is a great place to start.
This plan centers around eliminating brain-toxic foods like processed oils and grain products, as these can cause long-term inflammation in the brain which can lead to neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, depression, anxiety and reduced cognitive functioning.
Start by getting rid of refined and processed carbohydrates as well as wheat and gluten, concentrated/synthetic sweeteners, commercial cooking oils and juices.
From there fill up with brain-nutritious foods like omega-3 fats, grass-fed & free range beef, raw nuts/seeds and low fructose fruits.
The initial 14 day period should get you feeling sharper with increased stamina & energy levels.
When you move on to stage two it’s time to reintroduce specific carbs into your diet – but keep intake to 20-40 grams a day.
For those doing regular exercise increase this intake between 50 – 70 grams a day focusing on ripe bananas, sweet potatoes or white & brown rice after each session.
Quickly you’ll notice yourself feeling stronger while fat storage will be kept at bay!
In short, the Genius Foods Book is a great way to start experiencing the immense impact of diet on cognitive health and well-being today.
You’ll find a lot of actionable advice that can help you create positive dietary habits that will have lasting long-term benefits for your brain.
One key takeaway from the book is that sugar has an incredibly negative effect on both your mental health and physical functions, hence why avoiding it is so important.
However, if you absolutely need something sweet then reach for dark chocolate instead – fairtrade, organic with a cocoa content of at least 70%.
Not only does it taste delicious but it increases circulation to the brain and helps reverse cognitive aging too!