Listen to Rethinking Health Matters tomorrow or at your convenience download the show from our archives.
My guest tomorrow is Dr. David Perlmutter, who will talk to me about his latest book–Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers–and why Americans need to be better informed about managing their risk of Alzheimer’s. According to Lancet Neurology, a well-respected medical journal on brain research, this disease, which affects 5.6 million Americans, is preventable with lifestyle choices–engaging in aerobic exercise, eating plenty of health fats, and reducing carbohydrates.
Grain Brain is a very timely wake-up call about increasingly challenging our human physiology with ingredients for which we are not genetically prepared—for example, the 133 pounds of wheat that the average American consumes each year. There is little doubt that one of the largest and most wide-reaching events in the ultimate decline of brain health in modern society has been the introduction of wheat into the human diet. Today’s modernized and hybridized wheat shares almost no genetic, structural, or chemical likeness to the wild einkorn variety, which our ancestors consumed very little of.
The function of the brain, which is 60 to 70 percent fat and maintained by the fats you consume, depends on its environment. Grain Brain recommends a diet that’s aggressively low in carbohydrates (60 grams per day) and bountiful in supportive brain fats. These include extra-virgin olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, ghee, almond milk, avocados, olives, nuts, nut butters, cheese and seeds such as flaxseed, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and chia. It is also rich in above-ground vegetables such as kale, broccoli spinach, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and salad greens, while relatively low in below-ground vegetables like beets, carrots and potatoes, which are higher in carbohydrates. It also calls for reduced fruit consumption.