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brain health



Survival of the Fittest: The Most Active Women are More Likely to Survive Than the Least Physically Active

fit senior

While popular wisdom may hold laughter as the best medicine, science indicates exercise might actually be the way to go. A study from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) shows that moderate to high intensity activity is a key part of reducing the risk of premature death in older women.

Those who worked on the study, like Professor Debra Anderson of QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, say that health professionals should be prescribing exercise programs in addition to conventional treatments for both physical and mental health.

“Studies clearly show moderate to vigorous intensity activity can have mental and physical health benefits, particularly when part of broader positive health changes,” she said in a statement.


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Walking: The Best Way to Spark Your Creativity is Also Good for Your Health

brain health

Walking is one of the easiest options for shedding pounds, and it can improve your health in a number of other ways, too: Taking a stroll boosts your spirits, adds additional exercise to your life, and apparently, it can spark your creative side.

Multiple studies have proven that exercise helps memory and decisiveness, but the New York Times recently reported on a study from Stanford University that took things a step further: The researchers found that stepping away from your desk, even to walk around the office, can do wonders for your the creativity portion of your mind.
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Grain Brain Take 2: Another look at how wheat, carbs, and sugar affect your brain

This morning I read a nutrition article that was popping up all over my Facebook feed. The story, This is Your Brain on Gluten, which appeared in The Atlantic, covered the science behind a new book called Grain Brain. From the sound of things, the author of the article, James Hamblin, who is a medical doctor, had been hesitant to cover the book—he wasn’t sure what to make of the general hypothesis, which is that eating all grains ultimately causes mental deterioration such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. But because it’s been a best-seller since its release he finally gave it a read.

grains in handTo say Hamblin remained skeptical after reading the book—and speaking with the author of Brain Grain, David Perlmutter, MD, as well as a handful of other notable researchers and physicians, including David Katz, MD—would be an understatement. He pokes holes in some of the claims and reminds readers that much of the “science” that the diet is based on is either not widely accepted or is simply speculation—a connecting of dots that can’t actually be proven.

Hamblin’s overview of the book and the scientific basis for following or eschewing this type of diet seemed spot-on, but it also felt familiar. After a quick search on DietsInReview I realized why: Our resident dietitian Mary Hartley, RD, wrote a similarly cautionary article on Grain Brain back in October!


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Take Grain Brain’s Villainization of Carbs with a Grain of Salt

Grain Brain is the catchy title of a new self-help diet book on the New York Times Advice and How-to Best Sellers lists. The author, neurologist David Perlmutter, makes the case for a slow death to brain cells caused by wheat, “carbs,” and sugar. Those foods, he says, are behind most of the common but incurable neurologic diseases including Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism, anxiety, depression, and others. To prevent and treat those conditions, he recommends a diet of fish, seeds, nuts, and olive oil, sans the “carbs” from grains, milk, fruit, and sugary sweets. Grain Brain is in the same vein as Wheat Belly and other best-selling Paleo-type diet books.

grain brain

David Perlmutter and his co-author, writer Kristin Loberg, followed the diet book formula: reel in the lay audience with indisputable scientific facts and then lead them to ungrounded conclusions because they all sound good. With technical expertise, Dr. Perlmutter explains the workings of the brain and central nervous system. He is up on the hot nutrition topics and buzzwords of the day: inflammation, free radicals, bacteria in the gut, and metabolic fuels.

Sure, we agree that neurological diseases are scary and seem to be everywhere, but are gluten and carbohydrates the cause? Not so fast. David Perlmutter is often called “cutting edge,” which means research verification is needed.  
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ThinkFood Provides Recipes for Brain Health

Most fitness efforts are focused on what happens below the head. However, as important as it is to keep your body healthy and fit, your brain deserves some attention, too. The brain plays some role in every function of your day-to-day life, from sleeping to exercising to thinking and feeling. Like other body parts, it too loses agility as you age. To help slow this agility loss and keep the brain healthier, the AARP has released a new cookbook, ThinkFood: Recipes for Brain Fitness.

mixed nuts

The cookbook features a variety of recipes enhanced with ingredients science and research suggest help keep the brain healthy. “Too often, when we think about staying fit, we generally think from the neck down,” said Jodi Lipson, director of AARP’s Book Division in a release. “ThinkFood recognizes the importance of our brain and its need for care and maintenance. This book provides readers of all ages with fun and tasty ways to lead healthier lifestyles.” Recipes in the book are the creations of a partnership between 50 popular food bloggers and Posit Science. Posit Science is a leader in providing brain fitness exercises and education.


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