Nationally recognized doctor, author shares food for thought

By Anna Yee

May 2, 2013 Updated May 2, 2013 at 7:30 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- You may have tuned into Dr. Neal Barnard's weight loss advice on the Dr. Oz show.

Now the best-selling author is sharing a new plan, not on how to shape up your body, but your mind.

His latest book, "Power Foods for the Brain" lays out a 3-step method to essentially prevent Alzheimer's.

"So many people think memory problems or Alzheimer's disease as things that are inevitable. They're not. There's a huge amount that we can do, and food is key to that," said (Dr. Barnard, also a clinical researcher.

Dr. Barnard says to first cut out saturated fat, by cutting out dairy products and meats.

"When you look at that white marbling in the meat, we used to think that's good," said Dr. Barnard, "well now we know that's the saturated fat that can be harmful to the brain."

He says those bad fats cause plaque to build in the brain that can lead to memory loss.

The next step would be to add in the good stuff into your diet, lots of fruits, lots of vegetables.

"Green leafy vegetables give you B vitamins that protect the brain," said Dr. Barnard. "All of this foliage brings you folate. Folate is a B vitamin that protects the brain."

Vitamin B is also found in beans and chickpeas, and a handful of nuts and seeds are rich in Vitamin E, which Dr. Barnard says is also shown to help prevent Alzheimer's.

Need something a little sweeter? Try blueberries, grapes, or sweet potatoes.

"In Okinawa, Japan, people live to be 100," said Dr. Barnard. "Their dietary staple is this sweet potato. That bright orange color is beta-carotene. That protects the brain."

Dr. Barnard says avoid cast iron and aluminum cookware, since excess iron, aluminum, and copper can impair cognition.

He also recommends keeping your brain active.

Dr. Barnard says keeping these tips in mind at the grocery store and beyond will fuel your brain power for a healthier and more memorable lifestyle.

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Dr. Barnard will speak at Illinois Central College, Performing Arts Center at 1 College Dr in East Peoria, on Thursday May 2, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The public must pre-register.

For more information on Dr. Barnard and his book, "Power Foods for the Brain, visit his website, www.nealbarnard.org.

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