In this podcast (episode #369) and blog, I speak with bestselling author, journalist, podcast host and filmmaker Max Lugavere about his new book, preserving memory, eating to boost brain health, and so much more!
In his new book, Genius Kitchen, Max has over a hundred recipes inspired by traditions from around the globe, with bold flavors that favor simplicity and quality of ingredients over complexity and quantity. He lists the basic, healthy ingredients and tools that are essential for a well-stocked kitchen and pantry, and he offers techniques and best practices for healthy cooking and eating well on a budget, including science-backed tactics to optimize digestion, maximize nutrient extraction, and stop common digestive complaints.
Motivated by his mother’s battle with dementia, Max began researching how diet and nutrition impact memory and how what we eat is an important tool in the fight against cognitive decline.
Changes often begin in the brain decades before someone starts experiencing memory loss. This is something that younger people should begin talking about as soon as possible—especially before it is too late.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and 90% of what we know about Alzheimer’s has been discovered in only the past 15 years. This means that we are just beginning to understand cognitive decline and memory loss, and the knowledge and tools we do have are often limited. Yet we do know that there is a lot we can do now to shield our brains as they age, improve our odds, and minimize our risk for declining cognitive function over time.
Yes, genes load the gun, as they say. Genes can and do affect our mental and physical health. But our lifestyle habits, including how we manage our minds and what we eat, can pull the trigger, affecting how we age and our brain health as we age. Our genes are not our destiny.
Movement is another important lifestyle factor. As Max says, exercise is medicine for the brain—it is one of the most powerful stimuli to encourage the brain to make new cells. No matter what you do, when you are moving your body, you are burning energy and improving your health, from walking the dog and playing with your kids to high intensity resistance training. All movement is good movement!
Sleep is also an important lifestyle factor when it comes to preventing memory loss. Sleep cleanses the brain of things like beta amyloid, which can potentially increase your risk for cognitive decline.
What we eat is also important, as mentioned above. Our brain cannot make new cells out of nothing. What we eat provides our brain with raw materials like omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin E that help build new, healthy cells that maintain our brain health and help protect it from toxic stressors.
For more on memory, brain health and nutrition, listen to my podcast with Max (episode #369), and check out his incredible new book. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).
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1:25 Why Max loves his work
2:00, 22:00, 33:30 Max’s new book Genius Kitchen
2:45, 3:40 How Max’s own experiences inspire his work
13:30 What we can start doing today to reduce our risk for cognitive decline
15:00 Our genes are not our destiny
17:00 How our lifestyle habits affect our brain health
18:00 Food & the brain
19:02 How stress can affect brain health
23:25 Tips to shop & eat for brain health
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