Got Self-Care?

The Importance of Self-Care

When is the last time you took a moment purely for yourself?

Turns out, having some time for self-care is one of the best things that you can do for your health and happiness. Contrary to popular belief, self-care is not selfish. Self-care is actually essential for all of us in our healing journey.

The challenge is that all too often we prioritize other things above self-care (ie: doing the dishes, laundry, going to work, cleaning the house, paying the bills, watching tv, spending time with others, etc…).

The good news is that there are small and powerful ways that you can take care of yourself in a better way, starting today. Relax, put your feet up, and enjoy one of the videos below.

In honor of your best health, we are sharing 5 of our favorite TED Talks related to self-care.


  1. Why we all need to practice emotional first aid by Guy Winch


  2. The power of vulnerability by Brene Brown


  3. All it takes is 10 mindful minutes by Andy Puddicombe


  4. Want to be happy? Be grateful by David Steindl-Rast


  5. How to make stress your friend by Kelly McGonigal

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 4: The Ketogenic Diet

We’ve been discussing a number of ways that you can help support your best cognitive health the past few weeks. With proper brain function, you can be more equipped to live the happy and healthy life that you desire. In this series, we have discussed the importance of nutrition for your cognitive health as well as the impact that lifestyle has on your overall wellbeing. Furthermore, we have shared how to use the Kirtan Kriya meditation to improve brain performance as well.

Today we dive into the many benefits of the ketogenic diet on your brain health.

What Is The Ketogenic Diet?

Have you heard of the ketogenic diet? You may have heard of it as the “Keto Diet.” At its core, this is a low carb diet, but it is also so much more.

Instead of carbs, it is centered on high quality proteins and fats. When you eat less carbs, your body is better equipped to enter a state that is more naturally print to breakdown fats (from your food and your body) which then results in ketones as you enter a state known as “ketosis.”

Most people are in a state where their primary form of energy is from carbs (glucose). However, for those who are in a steady state of ketosis, that primary fuel source switches from glucose to ketones. In other words, when successfully following a keto diet, your brain and organs will use ketones as their primary energy source.

How Do I Know If I Am “In Ketosis”?

You can measure ketones in your blood and urine to ensure that your body is staying in ketosis on the ketogenic diet.

A Ketogenic Meal

On the traditional ketogenic plate, 10% of calories will come from healthy carbs (ie: leafy greens, nonstarchy vegetables, and limited amounts of legumes and berries). Then 20% of calories will come from high quality proteins (ie: omega-3-rich wild-caught fish and
grass-fed/grass finished animal protein. The last 70% or so of calories will come from high quality healthy fats (ie: avocado,
unsaturated and medium-chain triglyceride oils, nuts and seeds, and coconut). This 10/20/70 keto suggestion includes all your drinks, snacks, and meals for each day. You are unique, so your macronutrient distribution may vary based of your health, physical activity, and practitioner’s expertise.

It is essential to remember that calorie size isn’t the same thing as physical size. For example, even though healthy fats is about 70% of your total plate, that doesn’t mean you’ll have a salad that is 70% filled with nuts and seeds, with only a few sprigs of lettuce. It is based off the total calorie content. For a handy tool to figure out the calories behind the foods you eat, download the free app My Fitness Pal. You can even make goals based on your macronutrient content such as the Keto 10/20/70 suggestion- and My Fitness Pal will help you meet those goals too! Great, right?

Check out this image below to see how the Ketogenic Diet differs from the Standard American Diet (SAD).

(Property of Metagenics)

The Benefits:

There are many benefits to being on a ketogenic diet. The most common benefits include weight loss, an increase in brain
performance, balanced blood sugar, and improved cardiovascular health.

Mental focus is improved with the ketogenic diet because the brain uses ketones instead of glucose as a source of fuel. Studies show that this switch can actually help the brain to grow more nerve factors and synaptic connections between brain cells. The benefit for you? More alertness, a better focus, and better cognitive abilities. Balanced blood sugar is promoted through the intake of less carbohydrates because this supports insulin metabolism in the body. Furthermore, the absence of carbs from the diet helps the body to focus on breaking down proteins and fats. When on a reduced calorie ketogenic diet, one can experience weight loss and it can also help to reduce cravings and suppress appetite. While carbs may help to increase energy during a workout, they are not the best form of energy for a smooth clean burn that lasts all day. Alternatively, in ketosis, the brain has a consistent stream of ketones to supply the body with increased performance. Lastly, a ketogenic diet supports optimal metabolism and cardiovascular health because it is shown to help blood lipid and fatty acid metabolism.

How To Begin

To start, you want to focus on simply reducing your net carbs to less than 50 grams a day. Be mindful to explore the variety of carbs that come from leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, and limited amounts of legumes and berries. Using an app like My Fitness Pal will automatically calculate your daily carbs for you. This list here has a comprehensive amount of ideas to try when first starting the keto diet: Keto Food List.

Some of our favorite recipe blogs to get started with the Keto Diet:

  1. Keto In Pearls
  2. Ketogasm
  3. I Breathe I’m Hungry

Keto Adaptation

As you begin the keto diet, you may notice some changes in your body. Be aware that it may take the body about  2-4 weeks to switch from burning fat as fuel as opposed to carbohydrates. For some people, this can leave you with a feeling similar to the flu. Symptoms may include feeling achy, nauseous, a sense of withdrawal, or drowsy. If you experience this, don’t be alarmed. The switch from burning fat instead of glucose is a revolutionary transition for your body. This starts for some people a few days after being on a ketogenic diet and it typically ends one or two weeks later. Then you’ll start feeling all the positive effects of the new diet.

If you’re facing a challenging keto adaptation, try this tips: drink more water, increase consumption of electrolytes (be mindful to avoid those sweet “sports” drinks), eat more healthy fats, participate in more exercise, sleep more, try an exogenous salt supplement, and practice stress reduction/ mindfulness activities.

In Summary

There are so many benefits to being on a keto diet. Many people love it and feel that it has forever transformed their life for the better. Of course, it is important to note that everyone is different and that there is no one-size-that fits all. While some people may be the ideal candidate for a keto diet, others are not. Thus, it is important to work with a qualified healthcare practitioner who can assess your digestive health, blood sugar, brain health, and overall metabolic state to support you in your quest for a life of health and happiness.

We hope that this information is useful for you on your journey for the best cognitive health. If you’d like personal support in this process please click here to learn more about our Happy Health Brain Longevity Program. Also, be sure to check out our entire series on cognitive health by clicking the links below:

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 1: Nutrition

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 2:  Lifestyle Tips

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 3: Kirtan Kriya

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 4: The Ketogenic Diet

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 5: Is your blood sugar affecting your brain?

PS: You are invited to click here to sign up for our free 14 Days to Health Video Series and to join our Facebook group for personal support: The Happy Health Community. 

 

References:

  1. Freedman MR, King J. Kennedy E. Popular diets: a scientific review. Obes Res 2001; 9(supp 1):3S,11S,12S.
  2. Volek, JS, et al. Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body compositionin overweight men and women. Nutr Met. 2004 Nov;1:13.
  3. Meyer J. The Ketogenic Diet and Mental Performance.Available at: http://blog.prymd.com/the-ketogenic-diet-and-mental-performance. Accessed September 13, 2017.
  4. D’Anci KE, Watts KL, Kanarek RB, Taylor HA. Low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets. Effects on cognition and mood. Appetite. 2009Feb;52(1):96-103.
  5. Yancy Jr. WS, et al., A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes. Nutrition & Metabolism 2005; Dec 1; 2:34.
  6. Brinkworth GD, et al., Long-term effects of a very low-carbohydrate diet and a low-fat diet on mood and cognitive function.Archives Internal Medicine 2009; 169(20):1873-1880.
  7. Volek et al. Body composition and hormonal responses to a carbohydrate-restricted diet. Metabolism 2002;51(7):864-70.
  8. Yancy Jr WS, et al. A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-fat diet to treat obesity and hyperlipidemia: a randomized,controlled trial. Ann Intern Med 2004;140(10):769-77.
  9. Gibson AA, et al., Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2015; 16:64-76.
  10. Volek J.S., et al. Metabolic characteristics of keto-adapted ultra-endurance runners. Metabolism. 2016 Mar;65(3):100-10.
  11. Adam-Perrot A, et al. Low-carbohydrate diets: nutritional and physiological aspects. Obes Rev. 2006;7(1)49.58.
  12. Volek, JS., and Stephen D. Phinney. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living. Beyond Obesity LLC., 2011.
  13. Hudgins LC. Effect of high-carbohydrate feeding on triglyceride and saturated fatty acid synthesis. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 2000Dec;225(3):178-83.
  14. Hudgins LC, et al. Relationship between carbohydrate-induced hypertriglyceridemia and fatty acid synthesis in lean and obesesubjects. J Lipid Res. 2000 Apr;41(4):595-604.
  15. Keogh JB, et al. Effects of weight loss from a very-low-carbohydrate diet on endothelial function and markers of cardiovasculardisease risk in subjects with abdominal obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar; 87(3):567-76. correct
  16. Krebs NF, et al. Efficacy and safety of a high protein, low carbohydrate diet for weight loss in severely obese adolescents. J Pediatr. 2010 Aug;157(2):252-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.02.010. Epub 2010 Mar 20.

Adrenal Fatigue Webinar Recording

Do You Suffer From Chronic Exhaustion?

According to a poll conducted by YouGov, 6 out of 7 Americans report not feeling refreshed upon waking, regardless of the amount of sleep they had.
Out of the Americans who slept 7 to 8 hours a night, 45% expressed feeling tired or fatigued three times a week. 27% of them also shared they wake up tired at least 4 times a week.

54% of Americans that sleep six hours or less each night, also, wake up tired at least 4 times a week as well.

In short, most Americans are tired most of the week, every week!

A Glance At Adrenal Function

The adrenal glands are responsible for the production and secretion of many essential hormones within our bodies, such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones facilitate our collective stress response. This reaction is composed of slowing down certain functions, such as digestion, brain activity, and psychological reactions, in order to preserve energy for combating stress.
These hormones also aid in the increase of heart rate and blood pressure to equip the body to fight the apparent danger, which in our modern society is very little immediate “danger” at all.

When this stressed state becomes chronic, our adrenal glands have trouble catching up. This presents many of the common symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue, such as:

Persistent physical and mental fatigue
Difficulty handling stress
Food cravings
Weakened immunity
Depression and anxiety
Weight gain
And much, more more!

Does this sound like you?

During Don’t Let Adrenal Fatigue Impact Your Life, you will finally get the chance to take control of your health by improving your adrenal function, stress response, and more with the expertise of functional medicine!

This is guaranteed to be life-changing and we cannot wait to help people take control of the stress in their life so that the stress does not control them any longer.

 

 

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 3: Kirtan Kriya

Kirtan Kriya

Your cognitive health has a dramatic impact on your entire life. With proper brain function, you can be more equipped to live the happy and healthy life that you desire. In this series, we have discussed the importance of nutrition for your cognitive health as well as the impact that lifestyle has on your overall wellbeing.

Today we are jumping into one of our favorite topics that has wonderful benefits for your cognitive health, Kirtan Kriya, a singing meditation.  Rooted from the teachings of Kundalini Yoga.

What is Kirtan Kriya?

Kirtan Kriya (pronounced KEER-tun KREE-a) is a way of meditation from the Kundalini yoga tradition. In Sanskrit, kirtan is a song and kriya is used to express a certain set of movements. This technique has been used for thousands of years to help bring the mind, body, and emotions in balance. This helps to support the healing process and to promote cognitive health.

How does it work?

This is a meditation, but sometimes it is known as a singing exercise. You complete it by singing the sounds, Saa Taa Naa Maa. In addition, repetitive finger movements, or mudras, can be used in conjunction. This is not a religious practice, but it is beneficial for all types of people from all walks of life. Specifically, when practiced for just 12 minutes a day, it has been scientifically proven to decrease stress levels. Furthermore, this meditation actually promotes activity in areas of the brain that are essential for memory.

Is there any science to prove it?

Yes. Not only has it been practiced for thousands of years with profound benefits, but there are also multiple studies publishing the many benefits of Kirtan Kriya. For example, there was a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in April of 2016 stating that the Kirtan Kriya increased brain function. It went on to describe that cognitive health through the use of Kirtan Kriya increases brain connectivity (which improves memory) and it also decreases mood aberration.

“The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation believes that the various parts of Kirtan Kriya are each vital to the whole, and recommends practicing it in the traditional way to fully reap the benefits of the exercise. That said, other methods of reducing stress, like deep breathing, listening to music and other types of meditation may be beneficial to your health.”

How do you practice Kirtan Kriya?

  1. Repeat the Saa Taa Naa Maa sounds (or mantra) while sitting with your spine straight. 
  2. For 2 minutes, sing in your normal voice.
  3. For the next 2 minutes, sing in a whisper.
  4. For the next 4 minutes, say the sound silently to yourself.
  5. Then reverse the order, whispering for 2 minutes, and then out loud for 2 minutes, for a total of 12 minutes.
  6. To come out of the exercise, inhale very deeply, stretch your hands above your head, and then bring them down slowly in a sweeping motion as you exhale.

The mudras, or finger positions, are very important in this kriya (see illustration below).

  • On Saa, touch the index fingers of each hand to your thumbs.
  • On Taa, touch your middle fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Naa, touch your ring fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Maa, touch your little fingers to your thumbs.

Can I do it by myself at home?

Certainly! I designed this simple handout for you so you can start practicing at home today. Please click here to download your copy.  We recommend following along with this video here to use as a beautiful guide: Kirtan Kriya Video.  Here’s an explanation video.

In Summary

We hope you find this a powerful and enjoyable exercise and we hope that this information is useful for you on your journey for the best cognitive health. If you’d like personal support in this process please click here to learn more about our Happy Health Brain Longevity Program. Also, be sure to check out our entire series on cognitive health by clicking the links below:

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 1: Nutrition

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 2:  Lifestyle Tips

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 3: Kirtan Kriya

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 4: The Ketogenic Diet

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 5: Is your blood sugar affecting your brain?

PS: You are invited to click here to sign up for our free 14 Days to Health Video Series and to join our Facebook group for personal support: The Happy Health Community. 

 


Please view our resources listed below: 

Kirtan Kriya Yoga Singing Exercise

Journal Articles

Arizona Geriatrics Society Journal
Title: Kirtan Kriya Yoga Meditation: A New Dimension in Alzheimer’s Prevention
Khalsa, DS.
Arizona Geriatrics Society Journal. 2013; 18(2):12-16
Published October 2013

Complementary Therapies in Medicine
Title: A randomized controlled trial of two simple mind-body programs,
Kirtan Kriya meditation and music listening, for adults with subjective
cognitive decline: Feasibility and acceptability
Available online 5 March 2016
Kim E. Innes, Terry Kit Selfe, Dharma Singh Khalsa, Sahiti Kandati. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 26 (2016) 98–107
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2016.03.002

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/prime-your-gray-cells/201606/yoga-and-kirtan-kriya-meditation-bolster-brain-functioning

>> For more journal articles, please click here.

Functional Medicine Webinar Recording

Patient-centered care is what sets functional medicine above all else. This integrative, science-based healthcare approach has been noted as the wave of the future.

Our goal is to share with you an in-depth look into functional medicine, why it’s our preferred treatment method, and how it helps. The Way Of The Future “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 Functional medicine has been a long time coming!

While conventional medicine certainly has a place, functional medicine is better suited for chronic conditions and getting to the root of the cause, not just masking it. The National Institutes of Health defines conventional medicine as “A system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery.”

The key point is symptom treatment. Functional medicine approaches healthcare more holistically by examining every factor involved including, symptoms, genes, environment, and lifestyle to treat the causes of disease, not just the symptoms.

According to the Institute for Functional Medicine, functional medicine was developed based on the understanding of “the importance of an individualized approach to disease causes based on the evolving research in nutritional science, genomics, and epigenetics.”

 

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 2:  Lifestyle Tips

Last week we shared an article about how to boost your cognitive health using nutrition. Click here to read that post: Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 1: Nutrition

Whether you yourself are suffering, your loved one is struggling, or you are an advocate of healthy living- you will want to take note of the tips offered in this guide.

This guide is based on Dr. Bredesen’s #1 Bestseller, The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline,  His substantial work in the field of reversing cognitive decline is instrumental for anyone suffering from this themselves or supporting a loved one going through this process.  

Here are some great tips that would truly benefit all of us, especially those of you who are trying to find the right protocol to support your brain health.  1) Exercise 

5-6 times per week for 30-60 minutes, raising heart rate and including both cardiovascular and strength training exercises. Exercise increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has important anti-Alzheimer’s effects. It also helps to improve oxygenation, improve sleep, reduce overall stress, reduce fat and associated adipokines, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve overall brain and body physiology in numerous ways. Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent cognitive decline, and is an important part of the protocol to reverse cognitive decline.2) Sleep

Sleep has multiple mechanisms to reduce cognitive decline. For example, it induces melatonin, which reduces the amyloid-beta associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Also, it is critical to memory consolidation and it alters cellular anatomy to foster the removal of abnormal and toxic species from the brain. Thus, sleep has multiple mechanisms to support the reversal of cognitive decline.

Most people have a sleep debt, due to chronic lack of optimal sleep, both in quantity and quality. It is crucial to ensure that you do not have sleep apnea. If you do have sleep apnea, it is very important to treat it whether by CPAP, oral device, altering sleeping position, or other methods. Melatonin:

It can be helpful to use melatonin at bedtime. A physiological dose is 0.5mg, which can be taken by mouth or sublingually, depending on formulation. Some take higher doses, up to 20mg, and it is a relatively benign supplement, so you can adjust your dose.

If the dose is too high, you may notice that you awaken after about three hours of heavy sleep, and you may feel sluggish the next morning. If the dose is right, you should notice increased dreaming and awaken feeling refreshed. Melatonin has many effects, among them reducing amyloid-beta, reducing reactive oxygen species, and tumor suppression.

If you find that you are awakening in the middle of the night and ruminating, unable to return to sleep, you may find that Tryptophan (500mg) or 5-hydroxytryptophan (100 mg) helps to prevent this. Please discuss this with your practitioner, especially if you are on an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) for depression, or a related SNRI (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor).Helpful Sleep Tips:

In order to optimize cognition, try to get as close to 8 hours of sleep each night as possible. It is best to go to bed before midnight, although some people find that their circadian rhythms do not allow this. It is also best to make sure that the room is as dark as possible. Many people like to use an eye mask for this purpose or blackout curtains. In addition, have your bedroom be as quiet as possible and free of EMFs. I’ve found Airestech to be a reliable company with affordable options for EMF protection- use code onnalomd10 for 10% off! Lastly, wind down in the evening instead of exercising or working right up until bedtime. 3) Reduce Stress

Stress is one of the most important contributors to cognitive decline, and stress-related molecules such as cortisol and corticotropin releasing factor receptor 1 are mediators of neural cell death and cognitive decline. Therefore, an important part of the overall program is to reduce stress-related effects, and there are many ways to do this, so please choose the ones that you enjoy. Relaxation Ideas:

Some people choose meditation, and indeed meditation has a positive effect on cognition. Others love music, walks in the park, yoga, visiting museums, lovemaking, or many other things (or all of those things). The Neural Agility recording, designed for brain neurophysiology, is “meditation on steroids,” and many enjoy that. This should be done 5 times per week, in the evenings, for 30 minutes, relaxed and lying down with the lights down. Finding joy and relaxation in life is very important to reduce the brain-damaging stress that many of us feel in our busy lives.4) Mental Exercise

There are many ways to do mental exercises. Try Posit, Dakim, Lumosity, learn a new language, do Sudoku, or crossword puzzles, etc. The key is to do these in the presence of improved biochemistry. Do not do these exercises to the point of exhaustion. A typical session is 40-60 minutes for 4 or 5 times each week. If you are new to this habit, it is ok to start with shorter sessions and increase the duration with time. Remember, some mental exercise is better than none at all. Make it a priority to stay mentally active. In essence, you “use it or lose it.”5) Auditory Physiology

This is like “meditation on steroids.” Use with headphones and listen from your phone, iPod or computer in the evening. It is ideal to practice this 5 times per week, for 30 minutes each time. Rest as you lay down on your back in a dark room and relax. These specialized tones can affect the release of powerful brain chemicals that can regulate mood, improve sleep, and reduce aggression as well as depression. Listen here: http://www.fariastechnique.com/music-for-interhemispheric-synchronization  and Dr. Bredesen recommended this program : http://www.activemindsglobal.com/products/revita-mind/

6) Hygiene

Dr. Kenneth Seaton from Australia spent his career studying the relationship between hygiene, inflammation, and cognition. One of the measures he used to gauge inflammation was the albumin-to-globulin (A/G) ratio. Albumin is an important protein to remove amyloid, and to carry many other molecules (including drugs and hormones) in the blood. When inflammation occurs, from bacteria, fungi, viruses, harmful microbes or dietary inflammagens (like trans fats or simple carbohydrates) the globulin fraction (from which antibodies are derived) increases at the expense of the albumin fraction. This reduces the A/G ratio. This is associated with reduced cognition.

Hygiene, and the maintenance of intact barriers (gut lining, blood-brain barrier, oral, nasal, integumentary (skin, nails, hair), etc.), play a key role in optimizing the A/G ratio. Oral hygiene with an electric toothbrush, floss, and a water-pressure flosser are all important. Oral microbes have been identified repeatedly in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease. Some like to use nasal washes, as well. Evaluation for MARCoNS (multiple antibiotic resistant coagulase-negative Staphylococcus) is helpful, especially in anyone with type 3 (toxic) Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, ensuring good nail and skin hygiene can be helpful.

In Summary

Your Cognitive Health Is Worth The Investment. In essence physical and mental exercise, sleep, relaxation, auditory physiology, and hygiene are all important factors to consider when supporting your brain health. All six of these lifestyle tips will help to optimize your physical and mental wellbeing. We hope that this information is useful for you on your journey for the best cognitive health. If you’d like personal support in this process please click here to learn more about our Happy Health Brain Longevity Program. Also, be sure to check out our entire series on cognitive health by clicking the links below:

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 1: Nutrition

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 2:  Lifestyle Tips

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 3: Kirtan Kriya

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 4: The Ketogenic Diet

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 5: Is your blood sugar affecting your brain?

 

PS: You are invited to click here to sign up for our free 14 Days to Health Video Series and to join our Facebook group for personal support: The Happy Health Community. 


To learn more on this topic please reference our resources below:

Book: The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline by Dale Bredesen, MD

Website + Research: https://www.drbredesen.com/thebredesenprotocol

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 1: Nutrition

If you want to improve your brain health, at any age and in any condition, this article is a must-read for you.

This article is perfect for four types of people:

A) You are starting to notice the first signs of cognitive decline:

  • Confusion
  • Poor motor coordination
  • Loss of short-term or long-term memory
  • Identity confusion
  • Impaired judgment

B) You simply want the best brain health your whole life through.

C) You are supporting a loved one who has started to lose optimal brain function.

D) All of the above.

Whether you yourself are suffering, your loved one is struggling, or you are an advocate of healthy living- you will want to take note of the 16 tips offered here in this guide.

This guide is based on Dr. Bredesen’s #1 Bestseller, The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline. His substantial work in the field of reversing cognitive decline is instrumental for anyone suffering from this themselves or supporting a loved one going through this process.  

These tips would truly benefit all of us, especially those of you who are trying to find the right protocol to support your brain health.  Stay tuned next week too when we share part 2 of this special series!

1. Fast for at least 12 hours between the end of dinner and the beginning of breakfast.

This allows autophagy to occur, which helps your brain to destroy aggregated proteins and other unwanted accumulated molecules. It is best to break the fast with water with some lemon, as a detoxifying drink. Please note: It is best to work with your functional medicine doctor to ensure your blood sugar levels are in a safe proper range for fasting.

2. Fast for at least 3 hours prior to going to bed.

This helps to prevent insulin from inhibiting melatonin and growth hormone, and thus improves sleep and immune function. 

3. It is key to minimize simple carbohydrates

Such as sugar, sweet treats, bread (white and brown), white rice, white potatoes (OK to eat sweet potatoes and other colored potatoes in small quantities), soft drinks (both regular and diet, since diet alter microbiome), alcohol, candy, cakes, processed foods, and anything else with simple carbohydrates. The goal is to change from carbohydrate metabolism to lipid metabolism.

4. Make most of your diet from items that have a glycemic index lower than 35.

For a list of glycemic indices for food, see: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load-for-100-foods

5. Vegetables should be the largest part of the diet

Especially non-starchy ones. Include both uncooked (salads) and cooked. Include as many colors as possible.

6. Avoid fruit juices, but eat fruits 

The whole fruit includes the fiber or have smoothies with fruit, but do not make the smoothies too sweet —best with some vegetables.

7. Avoid gluten and dairy as much as possible.

It is recommended that you get Cyrex Arrays 2, 3, 4 and 20 to help guide you: Array 2 is to determine if you have leaky gut; Array 3 is to determine if you have gluten sensitivity; and Array 20 is to determine whether you have a leaky blood-brain barrier.

8. Reduce blood sugar

You can do this by including fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Try this recipe to make your own almond milk.

9. Reduce toxins

Try this by including cilantro, cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts).

10. Include good fats

Such as avocado, nuts, olive oil, seeds, etc.

11. Avoid processed foods and instead eat whole foods.

12. Meat is a condiment, not a main course.

If you eat it, fine, but don’t eat too much (2 or 3 ounces, 1-5 nights per week), and eat pastured chicken or grass-fed beef. Fish is fine if wild caught, best to avoid high-mercury fish such as tuna, swordfish, and shark (fish with large mouths and long lifespans are worst). “SMASH” fish are best (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring).

13. Emphasize foods with high nutrient density

Such as kale and romaine lettuce. Each day, try to eat at least 3 helpings of:

  • Dark leafy greens, such as kale, collards, spinach, or chard.
  • Colored vegetables or fruits, such as berries, carrots, or beets.
  • Sulfur-rich vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus.
  • Include aromatic herbs such as cilantro, parsley, basil, or mint.

14. Be aware of the “dirty dozen and clean 15” foods.

The Dirty Dozen are foods highest in pesticides, and therefore important to buy as organic: Click here to learn more: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php The Clean 15 are foods that are not sprayed as heavily, and therefore relatively safe to buy conventionally (non-organically): Click here to learn more: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/clean-fifteen.php  See: www.fullyraw.com/dirty-dozen-clean-15

15. For grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, it is helpful to remove the lectins and phytates

Do this by soaking prior to cooking. https://wholelifestylenutrition.com/health/is-soaking-grains-and-legumes-necessary-and-how-to-properly-soak-and-prepare-them/

16. Incorporate pro-biotics and pre-biotics

Do this after determining that you do not have a leaky gut (Cyrex 2). Pro-biotics help to optimize your microbiome, the bacterial population in your gut. Pro-biotic foods include fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, dairy- free yogurt, tempeh, miso, kefir, and coconut water. Pre-biotics help to support the bacteria of the microbiome. Pre-biotic foods include jicama, chicory, Jerusalem artichoke, and others. 

In Summary

There are so many benefits to having the proper nutrition. We hope that this information is useful for you on your journey for the best cognitive health. If you’d like personal support in this process please click here to learn more about our Happy Health Brain Longevity Program. Also, be sure to check out our entire series on cognitive health by clicking the links below:

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 1: Nutrition

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 2:  Lifestyle Tips

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 3: Kirtan Kriya

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 4: The Ketogenic Diet

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 5: Is your blood sugar affecting your brain?

 

PS: You are invited to click here to sign up for our free 14 Days to Health Video Series and to join our Facebook group for personal support: The Happy Health Community. 

 

Tune in next week when we share Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 2: Lifestyle

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RESOURCES:

Book: The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline

by Dale Bredesen, MD

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5 Best Tips for a Better Sleep

Here are some tips from Sleep specialist Dr. Mathew Walker, PhD in his book: Why We Sleep: Unlock the power of Sleep and Dreams. 

  1. Maintain regularity
    •  Wake up the same time and go to bed the same time, even on weekends. 
  2. Create darkness around our room
    • We are a darkness deprived society.  We need light and dark cycles to create healthy doses of melatonin – A hormone that helps us initiate sleep.  Dim the lights before bed, stay away from LED screens that emit blue light and fool your brain into thinking it’s daytime still.  Use nightshift on your phone, or blue light blocking glasses. Thick curtains.
  3. Keep it cool!  
    • We often sleep in a room too warm.  Keep a room temperature of 68 degrees fahrenheit,  our brain and body need our core body temp to drop down to initiate sleep.
  4. Avoid alcohol and caffeine – 
    • Alcohol is a class of drug that’s called a sedative, it knocks our brain out and does not bring us into a natural sleep.  It also is potent chemical for blocking dream sleep or REM sleep.  Caffeine is a stimulant as a class of drug, you might be able to fall asleep easily  when you drink it, but the depth of your sleep is not as deep as if you didn’t drink it,  so in the morning, you find your self not refreshed and you wake up needing more coffee.
  5. Do not stay in bed if you are awake 
    •  If you can’t call asleep after 20 minutes or wake up for more than 20 min during the middle of the night, then you might associate your bedroom with the behavior of not sleeping, instead, get up and move to another room, read a book.    An alternative is meditation, which has shown to calm down flight or fight response, and that can also help you fall asleep more easily.

 

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Today, I have a great yogic technique that I want to share with you. It’s breath work that yogis use to control their moods and energies.

When we are distressed, we take quick, shallow breaths.

When we are relaxed, we take deep, full breaths.

When we practice regulating our breathing patterns, we improve our mental and physical state.

This technique is called Alternate Nostril Breathing.

The nerves going out from the two brain hemispheres cross at the level of the eyebrows. The left hemisphere connects to the right side of the body and right nostril, and the right hemisphere to the left side of the body and left nostril.

Right nostril breathing (Coffee Replacer).
It activates qualities of left brain: the Sun energy—warming, projective, concentrative, alert, and action oriented.screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-9-08-51-pm

  1. Have the left hand in Gyan mudra (touch thumb with index finger) relax on lap
  2. Raise your right hand, use the index finger  to close your left nostril
  3. Slowly inhale through the right nostril
  4. Eyes can be closed or 1/10 open looking at tip of nose
  5. Long deep breaths for 3 minutes
  6. To end you take a deep breath in with both nostrils, hold the breath, for a count of 10, then release.

Left nostril breathing (Calm Inducer). 
It activates right brain qualities: the Moon energy, calmness, receptive, cooling. Best to use before bed or anxiety.screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-9-08-56-pm

  1. Use the thumb on your right hand to cover your right nostril
  2. Breathe slowly through your left nostril
  3. Eyes can be closed or 1/10 open looking at tip of nose
  4. Long deep breathing for 3 minutes

Try RIGHT in the morning, and LEFT one before bed, and enjoy the powerful effects of this breath.

Happy Breathing!!

12 things that you can do immediately to improve your body’s circadian clock

Alignment is the key to health.  One aspect of many people’s lives that is out of alignment is their sleep and wake patterns.  One of the greatest detriments to a person’s health is a poor rest and recovery routine.  This short video will go over some the of the things that you can do to optimize your natural clock.  By doing so, you will have deeper sleep, wake up more refreshed, have better mid-day energy, better mental clarity, and natural weight loss.

Here are 12 things that you can do immediately to improve your body’s circadian clock.

  1. Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day.  Ideally, asleep by 10 pm and up around 6 am.
  2. Use a salt lamp in your bedroom as a way to reset your circadian clock.  Turn it on in the morning and after the sun sets at night, candles are also an option.  Avoid full spectrum light after sunset.
  3. Be sure to get mid-day sunlight, this will help increase serotonin (happy) and melatonin (sleep).
  4.  Eliminate exposure to phones, tablets, computers, and television 2 hours before designated bedtime
  5. Sleep in completely dark room, you should not be able to see your hand in front of your face
  6. Avoid excessive fluid intake after 8 pm
  7. Avoid opening the mail or watching the news in the evening
  8. Avoid checking and responding to email in the evening
  9. Settle any conflicts before going to bed
  10. Use lavender essential oils to help promote calm
  11. Practice deep breathing exercises before bed to help you relax, click here for more info
  12. If you use a computer, download f.lux at https://justgetflux.com/ as a digital filter for your screen