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Founder, Perlmutter Health Center
Has over 30 years of research in clinical neuroscience
Scientific writings have been in The Journal of the American Medical Assoc., Journal of Neurosurgery
Adjunct instructor, Institute for Functional Medicine, Gig Harbor, WA
M.D., University of Miami
Dr. Perlmutter has spent more than two decades treating people with moderate and severe brain function loss due to advanced disease. According to Dr. Perlmutter, the key is to find out what triggers brain degeneration and stop it. He does this through a comprehensive "brain audit" followed by a change in lifestyle and dietary habits. The brain audit helps assess the status of your brain and reveal things about your lifestyle and daily routine that may be putting the health of your brain at risk. Dr. Perlmutter says that by the age of 85, 50 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's. "Alzheimer's is preventable," says Dr. Perlmutter. "And it's proven that medicines used for Alzheimer's patients don't work." The answer he believes is through prevention. "I've waited a long time to get this message out," he says.
Better Brain Through Nutrition
Dr. Perlmutter says the most important thing to keep the brain functioning at its peak is through nutrition. "It's as simple as that," says Dr. Perlmutter. "Nutrition is THE most important tool for staying mentally and physically fit but is the most underutilized tool." The most important nutrient for the brain is fat because the brain is made of fat. "The problem is that if we feed it unhealthy fats, we wind up with an unhealthy brain. Monounsaturated fats like olive oil are naturally high in antioxidants and when incorporated in the brain, are less vulnerable to damage done by free radicals. The best fat for the brain is omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in cold water, fatty fish, deep green leafy vegetables, and some grains and seeds. Other sources of essential fatty acids are omega 6 fatty acids found in cooking oils, nuts, seeds, and cereals.
From the perspective of a neurologist, the standard American diet is a nightmare. It is loaded with poor-quality fat that makes brain cells sluggish but is scarce in healthy fat that keeps brain cells flexible and "smart." The highly processed, nutrient deficient foods we eat are laden with sugar and chemical additives that practically invite free radicals to invade our brains. Dr. Perlmutter says simple changes in our diets can protect our bodies and brains against aging, debility, and disease. Get the fattening, starchy junk foods off our plates (white bread, rice, chips, white pasta, and sweetened cereals). Replace them with real food such as unprocessed, whole grains and fruits and vegetables. Eliminate the unnecessary sugary sodas and snack foods. Buy organic produce and meat that are free of chemical pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. All of these changes can add up to significant health benefits.
For those who have been diagnosed with a neurological problem, Dr. Perlmutter says there is hope for them, too. In his book, Dr. Perlmutter discusses specific brain disorders and what he recommends for his patients to do about them. "We can reduce the severity of their symptoms and enhance brain function," says Dr. Perlmutter. For example, in stroke victims, although he cannot undo all the damage, some patients are returning to a more normal life. Patients afflicted with Parkinson's disease vastly improve. For Alzheimer's victims, he says there is compelling evidence that free radicals play a major role in triggering the growth of plaque. His dietary and supplement program helps keep patients functioning well and buys them time.
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