Cut this from your diet to keep a sharp mind
It turns out the key to keeping your brain firing on all cylinders as you get older may have been in your kitchen all along. But this time I’m not talking about a superfood you should be putting ON the menu. Rather, it’s a food you should steer clear of instead.
This should be easy, though–these are foods you should already have banned from your fridge.
New research from the Mayo Clinic finds that eating a lot of carbohydrates and sugar puts you at higher risk for mild cognitive impairment as you age. That translates to problems with memory, thinking, and judgment. Mild cognitive impairment is also considered an early sign of Alzheimer’s.
The study involved 940 people between the ages of 70 and 89. All of these folks were clear of cognitive problems at the beginning of the study. Within four years, though, 200 of them were starting to show signs of mild cognitive impairment.
The study participants who ate the most carbs were about twice as likely to have mild cognitive impairment compared to those who were relatively carb-free. The highest sugar intake was associated with being 1.5 times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment.
But, it’s when fat, protein, sugar, and carbs were considered together, that things got really scary. Then, the people with the highest carb intake were 3.6 times more likely to develop cognitive impairment.
The scientists think that the raised risk that comes from carbs and sugar could be because carbohydrates affect glucose and insulin metabolism. They point out that sugars provide fuel for the brain–so you shouldn’t cut them out completely. But too much sugar can actually keep the brain from using that fuel properly. It’s basically the same effect you see with type 2 diabetes.
But be sure that when you start cutting those carbs and sugars that you’re replacing them with good fats and healthy proteins. People with the highest intake of fat were 42 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than people who ate the least. And those in the group with the highest intake of protein were 21 percent less likely.
Dr. Wright also warns that he has seen some patients develop depression when first making the switch to a low-carb diet. This is because carbs allow the amino acid L-tryptophan to penetrate your brain. And L-tryptophan, of course, is the amino acid that triggers the “feel good” hormone serotonin.
Dr. Wright offers this advice:
“The solution can be as simple as taking supplemental tryptophan so there’s more of it to penetrate the brain. I typically recommend either 1,500 milligrams twice daily or, if that causes drowsiness (which is rare, but possible), all 3,000 milligrams can be taken at bedtime.”
“Just make sure not to take it when you’re eating protein. It’s best to take tryptophan with whatever small amount of carbohydrates you do eat. Over-the-counter L-tryptophan can be found in a few natural food stores and compounding pharmacies. If you have trouble finding the over-the-counter version, a physician skilled in natural medicine should be able to help you obtain a prescription for it.”
Cutting carbs to keep your brain sharp is just one way to fight the ravages of time. The tireless researchers at our affiliate publisher Health Sciences Institute have come up with 17–yes, 17–other ways you can defeat aging. Click here to learn more
“High-Carb Diet in Old Age Linked to Mental Decline,” Medline Plus (www.nlm.nih.gov)