According to a recent Harris Interactive study, there is something that people fear more than cancer and even death: Dementia.
The inability to recall fond memories, use reasoning and logic, or even recognize the faces of the people you love is a fate that most of us would do anything to avoid.
Yet, for more than five million Americans and their families, this is a reality of day to day life. And unfortunately, dementia and Alzheimer's are on the rise.
Between 2000 and 2010, deaths from Alzheimer's disease increased 68 percent! And according to the Alzheimer's Association, an average of one American is diagnosed with the disease every minute of every day.
But there is good news...
Alzheimer's is not a genetic disease. It is a degenerative condition that is not a normal part of healthy aging. It can definitely be prevented and in some cases the symptoms can even be reversed.The answer to protecting your mind and your memories lies in your diet...
How Gluten and Grain-Based Foods are Harming Your Brain
You may already know that foods which contain gluten and grains can have harmful effects on your digestive system and immune function. But you may not know that these so-called "healthy" staples can also affect your brain.
According to an editorial in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, your brain may suffer from the effects of gluten - even in the absence of any noticeable gastrointestinal problems.
This means you could feel fine after indulging in pizza, pasta, cereal or bread - while gluten is silently taking its toll on your brain.
Researchers have conclusively shown that the brain and the gut are intricately linked to one another. This is why the digestive system is often called "the second brain".
And the important thing to remember is that...
What Happens In The Gut... Doesn't Stay In The Gut!
During digestion, gluten is broken into small proteins (called exorphins) that cross the blood-brain barrier. These proteins bind to morphine receptors, producing the feel-good sensation we associate with comfort foods. But that's not all...
They also cause an onslaught of inflammation throughout the body.
Inflammation in the brain can present itself as foggy thinking, difficulty communicating and finding the right words, headaches, depression and other mental maladies. Over time, this same inflammation can cause permanent damage to the brain, contributing to dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
In fact, according to research cited in The Gluten Syndrome: A Neurological Disease, it is the central nervous system - not the gut - that is the primary site of gluten damage. This is because of the unique and destructive way that it interferes with the body's neural networks.
Protect Your Brain with a Paleo Diet
The average person today consumes a towering 133 pounds of wheat per year. Yet, despite its prevalence in our modern diet, this is a food that is largely foreign to our ancestral genetics. It is not just a coincidence that the rates of dementia and Alzheimer's have continued to climb.
If you wish to reduce the brain inflammation associated with chronic disease and cognitive decline, I urge you to follow a grain-free diet which emulates that of your ancestors.
In future articles, I'll tell you about several other foods you should avoid to protect your brain, as well as the delicious foods, spices, herbs and surprising "supernutrients" that can provide significant protection for your brain.
To Making (and Keeping!) Precious Memories,
P.S. The best way to start your day is with protein and healthy fats... pastured bacon, organic eggs, avocado, coconut oil... These are the foods that fuel your brain and body best and keep you feeling full for hours.
But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a side of biscuits... waffles... pancakes... as long as they're made with "intelligent ingredients." And our sister company, Wellness Bakeries, has made it downright simple with their new all-purpose breakfast blend, Miracle Mix.