Growing Our Brains
So when I was in medical school I was taught that when you lose a brain cell it is gone forever. But, in 1998 we learned that this was not the case. The brain does indeed regenerate under the right conditions, a process coined neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is a process determined by our genes. A specific gene codes for the production of a protein, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which plays a key role in creating new neurons (nerve cells). We now know that people who have low levels of this protein have a higher likelihood of developing dementia and a host of other neurologic conditions. Below is my best interpretation of the data behind protecting our brains and promoting brain growth.
The first thing that we need to understand is that our brains are 60% fat. Lowering the fat content in our diet significantly increases our chances of developing dementia and many other neurologic diseases. Our diet needs to include lots of good fats. Examples include wild caught fish, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, nuts, cage free eggs….. including the yolk, real butter, ghee, and even grass fed meat. Avoid the Trans fats which include all processed foods and bad oils (vegetable oils, seed oils, and canola oil to name a few).
Other neurogenesis promoting dietary considerations include blueberries, green tea, hemp, and red wine in moderation. Similarly, the wrong foods can work against you. Avoiding refined sugars, grains, and processed foods is paramount.