It’s not always easy to find a nutrition book that’s easy to read and backed by credible research. But Sygo does just that. In Unmasking Superfoods, Sygo separates the truth from the hype behind some of today’s superfoods such as acai, noni, quinoa and the increasingly popular coconut oil.
She also gives a shout out to kiwi, pistachios and mussels, calling them underappreciated superfoods. In another chapter of the book, Sygo offers a sound perspective on beef, eggs, potatoes and other foods which she feels have been given a bad rap.
For each superfood, you’ll learn about the backstory, the nutrition, the science and finally the bottom line. Unmasking Superfoods is a mini nutrition encyclopedia for consumers and health professionals alike. It’s a keeper on our bookshelf.
Perlmutter, a neurologist in Naples, Florida claims that inflammation is the cause of many neurogenerative diseases and disorders such as dementia, diabetes, depression, ADHD, irritable bowel, and Alzheimer’s. The solution according to Perlmutter is to eliminate gluten, follow a low-carb diet and feed your brain a diet that’s high in fat. Fat, he claims will provide the nourishment that the brain needs. The diet involves restricting carbohydrates to 30 to 40 grams a day, followed by a maintenance phase of 60 grams of carbs.
Unfortunately, we find this advice to be unsubstantiated at this time. Much of the evidence cited in the book is anecdotal and based on testimonials as well as the author’s own experience with his patients. The overpromise of health benefits from his diet plan raises another red flag. Plus, science tells us that carbs (more specifically glucose, and not fat) are the preferred fuel for our brain.
The author’s recommendation to increase our intake of fat to 80% of our daily calories warrants discussion. It’s a far cry from Health Canada’s fat recommendations of 20-35% of our daily calories. While it’s true that we could all stand to increase our consumption of healthy monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fats from foods such as fish, avocados and olive oil, it’s not advisable at this point to increase our intake of saturated fats because of their negative effect on heart health. What we also know is that swapping saturated fat for polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats is beneficial to our heart health.
Perlmutter does make some recommendations with which we whole-heartedly agree. For one thing, he recommends that we exercise more and more regularly (he recommends at least 30 minutes, five times a week). Secondly, he advises that we work on getting restful, routine sleep seven days a week. The bottom line though is that Grain Brain is a low-carb diet. Instead of cutting out carbs, our advice is to choose smart carbs like whole grains, vegetables and fruit as part of a balanced diet.
Greenwood, a senior scientist at Baycrest Centre Foundation, has been studying the link between diet and dementia for years. As Greenwood describes it, the brain “has a wonderful capacity to refresh, to renew and to repair itself and to create new brain cells and new connections throughout a person’s life.” The goal of this book is to inspire healthy lifestyle and eating habits to promote successful aging and prevent the degeneration of one’s cognitive function.
To eat your way towards a healthy brain, Greenwood recommends choosing a balanced, high quality diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables (for polyphenols), whole grains and cereals (for fibre), nuts (for monounsaturated fats), spices (such as turmeric and black pepper for anti-inflammatory antioxidants) and fish (for omega-3 fats). Vitamin E, folate and vitamin B12 are important too. These foods and nutrients support the body and brain in many ways:
strengthens our blood vessels, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach every cell in our body;
nourishes the parts of our brain that are actively involved in speech, learning and reasoning;
protects our body and brain against inflammation; and
promotes the growth of new brain cells and neural connections.
MINDfull is an easy-to-read cookbook that will appeal to anyone who wants to optimize their brain health. Each chapter of the book features practical nutrition information, tips and science-based references. With over 100 brain-boosting recipes like Sweet Potato Waffles, Indian-Spiced Chickpeas, and Malaysian Fish Cakes, you’re sure to find a few new favourites.