Brain Health

  1. Quit these 2 habits to save your memory

    It keeps your bones healthy... your muscles, nerves, and blood vessels humming along… and your heart beating.

    I'm talking about calcium.

    This essential mineral is a cornerstone of good health -- but there are places you don't want to have too much calcium.

    You may already know about calcium deposits in your arteries… but did you know that it can also happen in your BRAIN?

    And an excess of calcium in your delicate brain cells can up your risk of Parkinson's and even Alzheimer's disease .

    Fortunately, according to a new study, you can protect your gray matter from calcium buildup by cutting back on two things: sugar and cigarettes.

    According to Dutch researchers, brain scans showed that diabetics and smokers were 50 percent more likely to have calcium buildup in their brains than non-diabetics and non-smokers.

    Even worse, that buildup occurred specifically in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that's typically damaged in those with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia!

    Now, when the researchers gave the participants cognitive tests, they didn't find any evidence that these calcium deposits had impacted the participants' cognitive function.

    But the hippocampus has many layers, so it's possible that the calcification hadn't yet reached the layers involved in short- and long-term memory. In fact, the study found that each added year of age was associated with a 5 percent greater risk of these calcium deposits -- so it could be that smoking and diabetes are like ticking time bombs.

    Plus, that's not all you have to worry about with smoking and diabetes, which also both raise your risk of cardiovascular disease... kidney disease... and even leg circulation issues that result in amputation .

    So, if you want to protect your health -- from your gray matter all the way down to your toes -- snuff out those cigarettes and cut out the sugar.

    Here’s how:
    1. To kick the smoking habit, your best bet is to go "cold turkey" and talk to a holistic doc who can recommend natural methods (like acupuncture) to curb those cravings.
    2. Switching to the Paleo (a.k.a. "caveman") diet has been proven to put diabetes in reverse. And the fresh meats, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, fruits, and vegetables you'll be eating are so satisfying that your sugar cravings may even disappear!

    Finally, don’t take this to mean that you shouldn’t take calcium supplements – because you still need calcium, you just need it in the right places in your body and in the right way. You can optimize how calcium can work for you by getting enough of two essential vitamins.

    Vitamin D3 helps your body absorb calcium, and vitamin K2 helps sweep excess calcium out of arteries and tissues where you don’t need it and sends it off to where you DO need it: your bones.

  2. Is this ‘silent killer’ stalking your BRAIN?

    You may FEEL perfectly healthy. But if your BP is soaring, it could be wreaking havoc on your body in ways you’ll never even notice (at least, not until it’s too late).

    That’s why they call hypertension the "silent killer," because it can quietly damage blood vessels throughout your body -- without any obvious symptoms.

    Typically, the top concern with BP on the higher end is that it ups your risk of a heart attack that strikes without warning. But according to a new study, all that pressure in your "pipes" can ALSO pave the way to brain changes that are linked to dementia.

    And it can happen YEARS before you have any symptoms.

    The study involved about 140 patients aged 40 to 65, none of whom had been diagnosed with dementia. In participants with hypertension -- a systolic ("top") number greater than 140 mmHG -- MRIs revealed early evidence of the very same neurological damage that we see in dementia.

    More specifically, the hypertensive folks showed microscopic damage in their brains' white matter -- which refers to the millions of bundles of nerve fibers in your brain that help neurons in different areas communicate with one another.

    Those with hypertension also scored worse on tests of memory and executive function when compared to participants whose “top number” was below 140 mmHG.

    Now, a diagnosis of hypertension is somewhat of a moving target -- because the "goal posts" for what's considered dangerously high BP keep shifting.

    But a new study published in the European Heart Journal shows that higher-than-normal blood pressure in midlife boosts your risk of dementia even if it's BELOW the threshold of an "official" hypertension diagnosis.

    In that study, when researchers measured the blood pressure of over 8,500 participants four times over the course of four decades, they found that those whose systolic BP was greater than 130 mmHg at age 50 had a 45 percent HIGHER risk of developing dementia than those whose systolic BP was lower at the same age.

    Now, take that with a grain of salt. If you’re over 50… or even over 65… your blood pressure can naturally go up over time. And that’s usually not a cause for concern.

    Plus, we don’t know how the BP was being measured each of those four times in that second study… and really, it was only four times. And we don’t know whether the participants’ BP was actually spiking higher than that at any point between measurements.

    A better way is to measure it consistently at home, where you’re comfortable, instead of in a doctor’s office – an environment that often causes artificially high BP readings, a phenomenon known as “white coat syndrome.”

    If you choose to rely only on what your doc finds, ask him or his staff to take your BP a second time. As I recently shared with you, that second reading is often lower and more accurate.
    And if it turns out that your BP is consistently (and dangerously) high, bring it down to a more reasonable level by making some simple lifestyle changes like losing weight, moving around a bit more, and supplementing your diet with tart cherry juice and cinnamon.

  3. Heal your gut to save your brain

    Your belly aches... you're doubled over with cramps... and you're dashing to the toilet yet again. When you've got inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) -- whether it's ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease -- the "inferno" raging in your gut makes life downright miserable. And unfortunately, those "flames" aren't confined to the space below your navel. We know that inflammation in your...
  4. Use your legs… or lose your brain!

    When I tell patients to "exercise," it tends to make them run... straight for the door! And believe me, I understand why. When you're on the older side, all of that huffing, puffing, and sweating can feel like a real chore. But exercising doesn’t have to mean joining a gym or even “working out.” Because according to a new study...
  5. The two summer foods that boost your brain

    When you were a kid, the arrival of summer meant that you could take a break from the books and swap all of that brainy stuff for some fun in the sun. And it felt oh so good! But as we age... and those "brain burps" start adding up... it can feel like your brain has taken a permanent "summer...
  6. The ancient Chinese secret that can sharpen your brain

    It scrambles your memory… leaves you dazed and confused… and can even alter your personality. No, it’s not one of those “funny cigarettes” that your friends tried to get you to smoke in the ’60s. I’m talking about the changes that occur in your brain as you age. But according to a new study, it’s not a life sentence –...
  7. Stop your train of thought from getting derailed!

    It’s the No. 1 epidemic facing seniors in America: brain fog. And in my own clinic here in the Boston area, it’s the top complaint I hear among 60- and 70-year-olds. But they’re far from alone. I’ll be honest -- as a 60-something myself, I’ve experienced my fair share of “senior moments.” But when you start forgetting the names of...
  8. Dodge dementia with THIS gadget

    As we age, our hearing just isn't what it used to be. HALF of folks over 65 have some degree of hearing loss -- and we know that there's much more at stake than just your ability to enjoy a TV program or some small talk. That's because when your hearing fades, key regions of your brain aren't as stimulated...
  9. This spiny flower may save your precious memories

    You find yourself turning the house over looking for your glasses... blanking on the word you want mid-sentence... even walking into rooms unsure of why you went in there. We've all been there. Those "senior moments" of forgetfulness can make life feel like a comedy of errors, but if your senior moments keep stacking up, it may be time to...
  10. For a happy brain and a healthy body, get 70% of THIS

    Whether you're a mom, a grandmom, or just celebrating the women who brought you into this world… I hope that you have a very happy Mother's Day this coming weekend. No matter what you call her -- “Mom,” “Mother,” “Ma,” or “Mama” -- she wants the best for you, no doubt about that. So, when it comes to a gift...

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