Episode #19: A plant-based approach to Alzheimer’s and Brain Health with Neal Barnard, MD

Feb 5, 2018

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We are honored to have, Dr Neal Barnard a noted physician, advocate for nutritional science, as well as president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine on the show.

In this Episode You Will Learn:

Dr Barnard explains how and why he started the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). PCRM is an advocacy group for information about good medicine, nutrition, and animal rights.

Dr Barnard shares his own experience with Alzheimer’s with his father.

Dr Barnard and other experts wrote dietary guidelines to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Here are the guidelines:

  1. Minimize your intake of saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fat is found primarily in dairy products, meats, and certain oils (coconut and palm oils). Trans fats are found in many snack pastries and fried foods and are listed on labels as “partially hydrogenated oils.”
  2. Eat plant-based foods. Vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), fruits, and whole grains should replace meats and dairy products as primary staples of the diet.
  3. Consume 15 milligrams of vitamin E, from foods, each day. Vitamin E should come from foods, rather than supplements. Healthful food sources of vitamin E include seeds, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains. Note: The RDA for vitamin E is 15 milligrams per day.
  4. Take a B12 supplement. A reliable source of B12, such as fortified foods or a supplement providing at least the recommended daily allowance (2.4 micrograms per day for adults), should be part of your daily diet. Note: Have your blood levels of vitamin B12 checked regularly as many factors, including age, impaired absorption.
  5. Avoid vitamins with iron and copper. If using multivitamins, choose those without iron and copper, and consume iron supplements only when directed by your physician.
  6. Choose aluminum-free products.While aluminum’s role in Alzheimer’s disease remains a matter of investigation, those who desire to minimize their exposure can avoid the use of cookware, antacids, baking powder, or other products that contain aluminum.
  7. Exercise for 120 minutes each week. Include aerobic exercise in your routine, equivalent to 40 minutes of brisk walking, three times per week.

We discuss what Dr Barnard has seen around memory loss and early intervention and prevention of Alzheimers’.

Dr Barnard discusses his views on the fallacies of the Paleo and Ketogenic diets and contrasts this to a low fat, plant based diet.

Dr Barnard explains gluten sensitivity and what a plant-based aficionado should do about bean and legume sensitivity. He notes
that 146 grams of protein are contained with 2000 calories of broccoli – so plants may be an additional and surprising

Extensive discussion around the potential health harms about cheese and dairy and I ask Dr Barnard to talk about his findings from his book, “The Cheese Trap: How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy” Interesting connections with dairy and inflammation and behavior. I discuss my own stories of “dairy addiction” and behavior changes in one of our children.

Finally, Dr Barnard discusses some of his advocacy work and political activism around nutrition, food science, and transparency in the food industry and biggest fights going on in Washington. He articulates the conflict within the USDA itself with its dual mandate to represent the health of the American public as well as American industry.

Resources Mentioned:

Find Dr Barnard on his website:
see the Kickstart Program to start a vegan program to see if it’s right for you.
Link to Dr Barnards guidelines on foods to eat to prevent Alzheimer’s

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