Eating For Your Best Brain Health
by Pamela Costello MD PC
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” Thomas Edison, 1902
While the biochemical and cellular mechanisms of neuroinflammatory disease have been well identified, the underlying causes and subsequent treatment options have been severely lacking. A critical mechanism of intervention in neurologic disease exists in addressing heavy metal toxicity, as well as a wide array of other environmental toxins, including those found in our food and water.
Such neuroimmune toxins contribute in a critical, yet largely unrecognized manner, to inflammation and subsequent degeneration of the nervous system. When diet is considered as part of a comprehensive, integrative neuroimmunological approach, you can transcend a diagnosis of neurological dysfunction, and your nervous system can thrive as a result.
As both adult and pediatric neurologic diagnoses reach epidemic proportions, it has become increasingly important to recognize the deeper causal issues at hand. Neuroinfl ammatory disorders (ranging from brain fog to dementias) contribute to everything from diﬃculties with balance to movement disorders, ringing in the
ears and hearing loss, acute and chronic pain syndromes, lack of energy due to lethargy, depression and anxiety, tingling or numbness of the skin to advanced neuropathy or MS, or delayed development to full spectrum Autism in children. All reflect potentially reversible states of neurologic illness. As the majority of our
immune system resides in our guts, and our immune system is responsible for protecting our nervous systems, examining what we ingest is therefore a necessary component of manifesting neuroimmunological health.
RELEVANT DIETARY CONSIDERATIONS INCLUDE:
1. Organic diet: Eating organic food is critical in the fight to avoid our brain’s exposure to the highly neurotoxic GMO’s, pesticides, hormone and antibiotic-laden foods.
2. Whole foods: Avoid processed foods full of neurotoxins and depleted of nutrition.
3. Eat a balanced diet with adequate nutrition for the brain: Choosing safe, healthy, bioavailable sources, with the proper macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates)
and micronutrients (essential vitamins and minerals), is necessary for the brain to survive and thrive in our increasingly toxic world.
4. Gluten and wheat-free alternative grain sources: The adverse effects of gluten and wheat on the brain are well established, so choosing good, alternative grain sources
is imperative for good brain health.
5. Dairy: (Animal milk) products stress the gut and immune systems and contribute to neuroinflammatory illness. Finding animal-free (vegan) sources of milk
products is necessary for a healthy functioning brain.
6. Good, clean water source: Used for drinking and cooking. Consuming it free of heavy metals and other environmental toxins is vital.
7. Avoid radiated food: Microwaves are close in neurotoxicity to X-ray radiation and should not be kept in your home nor used to prepare your food. Convection or toaster ovens offer a convenient and much safer, manner of preparing food.
8. Omega-3 rich oils: Good quality organic coconut oil and healthy sources of wild caught salmon provide critical nutrients for your brain health. Brain tissue is partially composed of omega-3 fatty acids, so including adequate sources of these in your diet allows the brain to repair itself, to reduce brain and body inflammation, and is a necessary part of normal brain development in children. Note: Seafood sourced from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is toxic with mercury as well as radiation from nuclear leaks (Fukushima power plant). Farm-raised seafood is full of infectious and environmental toxins, necessitating a search for healthier sources of seafood, such as wild caught Alaskan Salmon.
9. Sugars and glycemic index: High glycemic foods, including all processed sugars and ‘natural’ forms such as Agave syrup, Sucanat, and Turbinado, act to directly cause inflammation. Processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup, as well as processed grains, whose simple carbohydrate rapidly content converts to sugar, are well-documented sources of inflammation and lead to degenerative disease states. High glycemic index foods cause immune imbalances and adverse inflammatory reactions that directly affect the brain.
10. Alkaline pH: A diet comprised of whole, organic foods, with a majority of alkaline foods, promotes a healing environment for the cells and the brain. The average American diet is extremely imbalanced and contains significantly more acidic foods than alkaline foods. An acidic environment creates inflammation and disease states, where an alkaline one promotes healing. An acidic diet places constant stress on the body and the immune system. To bring the blood pH back into balance and stay in better balance, eating an alkaline diet is key. This does not mean we should eliminate acidic foods from our diet altogether; it simply means we need to shift from the typically acidic diet to a more alkaline diet. A good ratio is maintaining 70-80% of our diet from more alkaline foods, and 20-30% more acidic foods.
Optimal brain and body health comes from optimal nutrition, including a balanced diet of organic whole foods. Furthermore, it is imperative not to attempt to nourish
your body with supplements to compensate for eating a nutrient-poor processed diet. An awareness of the dietary toxins to avoid and which sources of nutrition support
good brain health provides a safe road to recovery and maximal brain health.
For a comprehensive dietary analysis to support your best brain health, call (505) 503-8325 in Albuquerque for an appointment with Dr. Costello. www.drpamelacostello.com