Some of you may be eating to maximize athletic performance, meet dietary restrictions, or lose weight, but are you eating for your brain? And what the heck should you eat for your brain?
With so much information out there on diet, it’s hard to know where to turn. An international leader in the functional medicine movement and author of best-selling books on diet and physical health, today’s guest Mark Hyman has years of invaluable food knowledge and grassroots consulting experience working to combat diet-related illnesses.
The food we eat matters. What we eat can affect our health, our thinking, our lifespan and determine how we live. One-third of our brain is predetermined by genetics and biology, but the other two-thirds of it are in your control — and the best way to start building a stronger, more agile brain is to start paying attention to the food you eat.
In today’s conversation, we tackle some key factors that might be preventing you from optimizing the potential of your brain, practical tips for boosting the nutritional value of your everyday diet, some great examples of a typical eating day, hacks for eating out, and valuable warnings on toxic foods. We’ll share the top three foods you should eat and the top three you should avoid removing the limits that might be holding your brain back.
FACTORS PREVENTING OPTIMAL HEALTH
- Larger waist size correlated with poorer memory and brain function
- Sugar and starch are toxins to the brain, cause inflammation
- Low-fat foods are unhealthy too — we need the good fats
- Everything is harder when your body isn’t healthy!
DR MARK HYMAN’S TYPICAL EATING DAY
- Typical foods: plenty of vegetables, coffee, nut butter, flax crackers, eggs
- Alkalizer: vegetable shake. Vegetables in a blender with avocado, olive oil
- Plenty of vegetable, protein, and fats, focus on cutting carbs
- Occasionally engages in intermittent fasting
- In the US we eat dessert for breakfast e.g bagels, muffins
FOOD QUALITY MATTERS!
- Aim for real food— that means whole foods with a minimal ingredients list
- Cut out processed food and foods with chemical additives
- If you can afford it, buy local foods, shop at local markets, organic
- Walmart + Costco + Thrive markets are now some the biggest organic suppliers
EATING OUT TIPS
- When traveling, keep a day’s worth of food in a bag (e.g. jerky, nut butter, protein and fat snacks)
- Take responsibility for picking the restaurant (e.g. Perennial, climate change restaurant in San Francisco) — if limited options, Asian restaurants will often have vegetables
- Biggest mistake eating out: too much gluten and alcohol. Skip bread at the start of meal & drink alcohol halfway through a meal for optimal metabolism
- Gluten sensitivity affects 20% of the population
- Why? Changes in our wheat production processes — high in glyphosate & neurotoxins
- If you can find organic, local, heirloom flours not so bad
- Gut damage from low fiber, high sugar diets, damaged gut flora, leaky gut
- Gluten has been linked to schizophrenia, depression, a range of other illnesses
- You can try a trial elimination of gluten to detox & reset, and observe the effect on your eating, thinking and focus
- Gut-brain connection is important — lots of data now emerging
TOP 3 BRAIN FOODS TO EAT:
- Good fats: e.g. avocados, seeds, coconut oil, flax
- Plant-rich colorful foods
- Fiber: plant foods, helps microbiome
TOP 3 BRAIN FOODS TO AVOID:
- Refined sugars & starches
- Trans fat
- Food additives: e.g. aspartame, MSG
*** Please note, this episode is educational only and is not intended to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.