“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

Brain Health through Optimal Nutrition

Your diet affects not only your weight, energy level, and self-confidence, but also how optimal your brain functions. Recent research has investigated the link between the enteric nervous system (ENS) in the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system (CNS). Dr. David Perlmutter, a board-certified neurologist and pioneer in the field of gut-brain-health, talks about how grain, carbohydrates, and sugar can cause anxiety, depression, ADHD, chronic headaches, and epilepsy. The food we eat can heal or damage our brain, and dramatically increase or decrease inflammation, which has shown to be a key player in brain health.

Wheat Free, Gluten-Free, or the Ketogenic Diet?

We encourage our clients, regardless if you have been diagnosed with a “sensitivity or intolerance,” to eliminate wheat from your diet. Wheat is the dominant source of gluten protein in the American diet and has undergone drastic changes in genetic code, gluten content, and digestibility. If you feel like you can’t let go of grain all together, try using some of the ancient grains: millet, buckwheat, einkorn, spelt, rye, bulgur, barley, or kamut. Those wonderful alternatives have not been hybridized, cross-bred, or introgressed and our human body has a much time digesting ancient grains.

Gluten free is a term most of us have heard, some of us might be familiar with what kind of education and commitment it takes to eliminate all gluten from our diet. Gluten seems to be in everything, from the obvious pizza and cookie to ketchup and beer. Celiac disease is an immuno-mediated small bowel disease characterized by chronic inflammation. A number of research studies have been describing an association between gluten-sensitivity and epilepsy and/or other neurological complications. Individuals diagnosed with celiac disease seem to be prone to epileptiform activities on electroencephalography. Symptoms might often improve by adopting a gluten-free diet.

The ketogenic diet, developed by Dr. R.M. Wilber in 1921, is very low in carbohydrates, adequate in protein, and high in fat. It mimics aspects of starvation by forcing the body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates. The diet produces so-called ketones in the body, organic compounds that form when the body uses fat, instead of glucose, as a source of energy. Research has shown that elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood reduces the frequency of epileptic seizures. This is why the ketogenic diet has been known to eliminate seizures in nearly 50% of children and significantly improve seizure frequency in up to 75%. An increasing number of adults with epilepsy are following the ketogenic diet and similar positive results (seizure reduction, less severe or shorter seizures, quicker recovery) are being reported.

If you would like to learn more about how you can use the food you are eating to increase brain health, contact us at 303.258.1116.