Tag Archives: Dr. Ruth Buczynski

That gets your attention, doesn't it? And it's true, according to psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen, author of Unchain Your Brain: 10 Steps to Breaking the Addictions that Steal Your Life and The Amen Solution: The Secret to Being Thinner, Smarter, and Happier.  Amen shared this and other facts about the brain-body connection in a recent interview with psychologist Dr. Ruth Buczynski, President of the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM). Dr. Amen cited clinical research that linked being overweight or obese to decreased brain function, particularly in the area of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex.  This area is associated with reasoning, decision making, and impulse control.  In at least nine studies  using brain imaging technology, increased body weight was uniformly associated with decreased functioning in the prefrontal cortex.  In addition, people who were overweight or obese had brains that functioned at a level more typical of people who were several years older.  So their brains were smaller and "older" than the brains of healthy weight individuals. To help his clients have healthier brains, Dr. Amen recommends a diet that is comprised of lean protein, healthy carbohydrates (i.e.,  those that come from vegetables, fruits, and other fiber-rich foods), and healthy fats (such as olive oil, fish oil, nuts and seeds).   Sugar is a toxic enemy to brain health, unless it occurs in whole foods that are rich in fiber.  Even fruit juice is bad news, since it is stripped of its whole food, fibrous source.   His reasons for excluding sugar?  One, it is more addictive than cocaine.  Don't believe it?  Studies have shown that rats given the choice between cocaine and sugar choose the sugar.  Two, sugar robbed of its original fiber source  becomes a toxin, causing inflammation and erratic firing of brain cells. He also advocates the use of brain healthy supplements such as turmeric (found in curry), saffron, cinnamon, high dose fish oil, ginko, huperzine, and multivitamins.  (Note: to be on the safe side, check with your doctor or pharmacist to make certain that these supplements do not counteract any other medication or supplement you currently take).  And exercise is a very important component of brain health. Amen's "brain rehabilitation" programs have even been successful in restoring brain function in retired football players who suffered brain damage due to football-related head injuries.  The implications for improved functioning after head trauma are heartening, given the prevalence of sports-related and other forms of brain injury. So what can you do?  Exercise, eat a healthy diet, eliminate things that you know are bad for you (sugar, too much alcohol, processed food).  Make sure to include the healthy fats in your diet.  Challenge your brain by doing things that require you to think and problem solve.  Wear a helmet when you bike, skate, or board. Take care of your brain by taking care of your body.  In my next blogpost, I will talk about two other factors that impact brain health:  stress and sleep, so be sure to check it out!

As Your Weight Goes Up, Your Brain Function Goes Down

That gets your attention, doesn’t it? And it’s true, according to psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen, author of Unchain Your Brain: 10 Steps to Breaking the Addictions that Steal Your Life ..read more

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