How You Can Take Better Care of Your Brain Without Going to the Doctor

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

In Daniel G. Amen, M.D., new book, Feel Better Fast and Make It Last, he outlines the steps you can take to get yourself feeling right quickly. The first step is all about the brain. In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Amen and his wife Tana give you helpful tips to take better care of your brain.


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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. Here, we teach you how to win the fight for your brain, to defeat anxiety, depression, memory loss, ADHD, and addictions.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we've transformed lives for three decades using brain SPECT imaging to better target treatment and natural ways to heal the brain. For more information, visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutriceutical products to support the health of your brain and body. For more information, visit Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome back. We're continuing our series on "Feel Better Fast and Make it Last." We're having so much fun. We just talked about how Tana is the whole brain experience for me and-
Tana Amen: Not sure that that's always a good thing, but I keep you on your toes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Tana Amen: Just remember that the next time I scare you when pit bulls come around.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Oh, my goodness. You are a whole brain experience.
Tana Amen: I will just never forget. We left the parking lot, and you're like, "Oh, my God. I have PTSD," and I'm like, "I know, me too. Wasn't that terrible?" You looked at me, you go, "No, because of you." I was like, "Me? What did I do? I'm not the one who attacked us."
Dr. Daniel Amen: It was your reaction, screaming to a [crosstalk 00:01:42]-
Tana Amen: Right. I'm mama bear.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Right. You didn't know if he had a gun, yeah, a knife-
Tana Amen: At the moment it didn't matter. It was just reaction. Actually, it probably wasn't that smart. I actually said to him, "I think you better, because ... "
Dr. Daniel Amen: Brain XL is the formula that Feel Better Fast is based on, and the "B" in Brain is actually brained, that if you wanna feel better fast, you have to take care of the physical functioning of your brain. Those of you that listen to The Brain Warrior's Way, that is not a surprise. But how can you do that, in fact, to feel better fast? And I horrified myself a number of years ago when I figured out brain health is really three things: brain envy, you've got to care about it, avoid anything that hurts your brain, do things that help it, and ...
So how do you know what to do and what to avoid? And when I wrote Memory Rescue, we came up with this great mnemonic that I just wanna refresh your memory with. It's BRIGHT MINDS. So if you wanna know what to avoid and what to do, if you wanna keep your brain healthy or rescue it if it's headed to the dark place, you have to prevent or treat the 11 major risk factors that steal your mind. And in Feel Better Fast and Make it Last, I go through a summary of those. If you really wanna know all the science behind each of them, get my book, Memory Rescue. But since we live in a CliffsNotes society ... I don't know if you read them when you were in high school and college. I certainly did. It's like, "Just tell me the meat of Macbeth." [inaudible 00:03:35].
Tana Amen: That's so funny.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So this is like the CliffsNotes of brain health. The "B" in BRIGHT MINDS is for blood flow. Low blood flow is the number one brain imaging predictor of Alzheimer's Disease. Anything that decreases blood flow prematurely, ages your brain. So yes, if you get a scan, you know if you have low blood flow, but hypertension, any form of heart disease, erectile dysfunction, not exercising, those are all symptoms that you may have low blood flow to your brain if you have brain fog. To increase blood flow, exercise. That's why exercise is so important. I've become obsessed with my Fitbit, and when we were in Europe recently, Chloe was so excited that she'd get 25000 steps a day, a little worn out, but so excited.
Tana Amen: Yup.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Exercise is just so important. Supplements, like Ginkgo, then [inaudible 00:04:40] increase blood flow, and food, like beets, cayenne pepper, oregano ... Oh, my goodness, the lamb chops in Greece ...
Tana Amen: Oh, they were so good.
Dr. Daniel Amen: They were so good. And what did they do? How did they make them so good?
Tana Amen: It was like three things. Well, they marinated them overnight, but they used oregano, salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. It was amazing. And it's the first time I've ever heard you say they were as good or better than mine, ever, in a restaurant.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And your lamb chops-
Tana Amen: Mine have rosemary, thyme, and sage.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Are amazing.
Tana Amen: But those were amazing, and they were so simple.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So simple.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So good. The "R" in BRIGHT MINDS is retirement and aging. When you stop learning, your brain starts dying. So make new learning part of your everyday life. The "I" is inflammation. How do you know if you have inflammation in your body?
Tana Amen: Oh-
Dr. Daniel Amen: C-reactive protein, that's a blood test.
Tana Amen: Yeah, so when we were in Europe ... So you know, people always, including me occasionally, get this thought like, "Oh, I'm sober all the time. It's okay if I relax a little." Right? So we were in Europe, and of course I wanted to try the famous Angelina's hot chocolate, and I had a couple croissants. And so all of a sudden I'm waking up, and I'm like, "Oh, my God. My hands hurt so bad. What did I do to my hands?" I thought I hurt my hand, couldn't open and close my hands. And we're walking, and on the last day, I thought I sprained my ankle. My ankle swelled up so badly. It was the inflammation.
So you think you can get away with a little, but in my case ... Some people can get away with more than others. I can't get away with very much at all just because I'm prone to it with my health history. That's inflammation. So some of us need a C-reactive protein test. Some of us just know. If you're actually paying attention when your pain increases ... I had brain fog from hell, I like felt hungover, and just that you can't clear the cobwebs. That's inflammation starting. So ...
Dr. Daniel Amen: So inflammation can be pain, can be brain fog. Inflammation's associated with depression and dementia.
Tana Amen: Good news is it goes away fast.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And so a blood test-
Tana Amen: If you do the right thing.
Dr. Daniel Amen: C-reactive protein. Another one, your Omega 3 Index. Low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, rampant in our society. One study, 97% of people have low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, so it's so important. So anti-inflammatory, Omega 3's, Omega 3 Power, BrainMD, our company, highly purified, highly concentrated, can really help normalize your Omega 3 Index. We certainly see that among our patients. Also, probiotics, getting your gut right, really helps tamp down inflammation in the body.
Tana Amen: Yeah, so just a little side note, when I was feeling the pain, and my ankle swelled up, and my hand, I couldn't get my ring on. It was terr- ... And this was only just like a few days of this, and it wasn't eating ... I was still like 85/15, or 80/20. I was still eating mostly ... Compared to what most people ate, I was eating still really good. So I just increased my fish oil, and I went 100%, I mean 100% clean, just ate heavily plant-based, little bit of very clean protein, and did green drinks, and a lot of water. Three days. Three days, inflammation gone, hands stopped hurting, ankle was fine, I didn't sprain it, so you can reverse it pretty quickly. That's feeling better fast by doing the right things, right?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Because you love yourself.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And you love your husband, because when you're in pain, I'm in pain too.
Tana Amen: Well, and the thought that came to my mind was we're having this great vacation, and here's what helps me, and some people need something to help them. What came to my mind, it's about loving myself, but it was also, "Look. I get to go on these great vacations with my daughter and my husband. I'm not willing to feel like an old mom." We did this for my 50th birthday, and I generally feel much younger than my age. So I'm like, "I don't really feel my age. I've never really felt my age." And all of a sudden, I felt my age. And I'm like, "Whoa, that was fast." I'm not willing to do that if i can do something to prevent it."
Now things happen and some of us can't, but I can. That was completely self-induced, self-inflicted. And I'm like, "I'm not willing to age myself prematurely, and take that time away from my family, and not go do fun things, and not go hiking, and not be the cool, fun, mom when I can be." Right? If something were to happen and i couldn't, that's very different than me self-inducing it, self-inflicting it. That's not okay. That just wasn't okay with me. So ...
Dr. Daniel Amen: So let's go through two more of the risk factors, and then we'll complete it in the next podcast. So for inflammation, Omega 3 fatty acids, curcumin ...
Tana Amen: I put that in too.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We also-
Tana Amen: I forgot about that one.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Make Brain Curcumins. It helps me so much, because I know I'm inflamed when my knees hurt.
Tana Amen: And even doctors will recommend that. My chiropractor recommends it. It's a great anti-inflammatory. I put that in my supplements too.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So ... But I take two Omega 3 Power, three Brain Curcumins-
Tana Amen: I take four.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Every day.
Tana Amen: And I take three of those.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And my knees don't hurt.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And I walked ... I mean, some days we walked 11 miles.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And some of it was actually up hill-
Tana Amen: We walked almost 100 miles in 10 days-
Dr. Daniel Amen: When we went to [crosstalk 00:10:17].
Tana Amen: Because we had travel days in there.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah, it was really awesome. So anti-inflammatory, probiotics, Omega 3's, Brain Curcumins, and eating right just as you had mentioned. The "G" in BRIGHT MINDS is genetics. Know what runs in your families. And genes are not a death sentence, they should be a wake up call to get healthy. And the genetic risks for Alzheimer's Disease, for example, many scientists think it's too much of beta amyloid protein in the brain. Well, they've actually found that curcumins, vitamin D, blueberries, green tea, decrease the beta amyloid low in the brain. And so many of my colleagues, "What's the med? What's the med? Let's do all these medication trials." And I'm like, "Well, why don't you do natural things to help the brain?" Well, I'm not at risk for Alzheimer's Disease in my family history, but I am at risk for heart disease.
Tana Amen: Yes, I'm at risk for so many things.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And so doing the right thing can help decrease your risk.
Tana Amen: You know, it's funny that you say that because I'm not at risk for Alzheimer's Disease, but we've got cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease ... Like-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Depression.
Tana Amen: You name it. Depression, and those things are the risk factors for Alzheimer's Disease, right? So for so long I thought, you know, "This isn't fair that genetically I'm just ... It just sucks." Right? I've had cancer three times. I was really sick as a kid, and I have ... Like I said, I go off track a little bit and it just really affects me. But you know, then I start thinking, "What did I used to tell my daughter when she was little? Fair is a place where they sell bad food and they have farm animals." Right? Near us, it's a city called Pomona. It's a place with bad food and farm animals.
Right? So it has nothing to do with life. Life is not fair. Stuff happens to people. It happens to babies. It's not fair. It's about what you do to take control and make it better. So get over the fact that it's not fair. You take two fish oil. I have to take four. That's what makes me feel better. Right? So, so what? Just do it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And the most important strategy for the "G" in BRIGHT MINDS, genetics, is if you have stuff in your family, you need to be serious-
Tana Amen: More serious.
Dr. Daniel Amen: About doing the right things. So often, I've heard it said, "Oh, obesity runs in my family. That's why I'm fat."
Tana Amen: That's an excuse.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, obesity runs in my family, but I'm not fat. Why? Because I don't give in to the behaviors making it likely to be so.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And so the "H" in BRIGHT MINDS is head trauma. You wanna keep your brain healthy or rescue it if it's headed to the dark place, you have to prevent that, or if you've had it ... I was just on Dr. Phil yesterday, talking about fixing Gary Busey's brain. You know, we've done a podcast, Week with Gary, is traumatic brain injury ruins people's lives. And so doing whatever you can to avoid it, including when I was driving in Greece being super careful in those little, tiny cars.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And wear your seatbelt, be thoughtful.
Tana Amen: Yeah, it's funny. You start thinking differently. When you were renting a car, you even called me. You said, "They have this little car. They have ... " I'm like, "Do they have an SUV?" It's weird. You start thinking differently because when you know what we know, yeah, we wanna be environmentally cautious, but we also wanna be cautious of our own bodies and our brains, and being in small cars scares me.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Safe cars are really important. Okay, stay with us. We're gonna finish BRIGHT MINDS to help you feel better fast. If you go to, you can pre-order the book. And if you pre-order the book, we will give you immediately the introduction and chapter one of the book. You'll be able to download that. We'll also give you a quick start guide to go, "What are the CliffsNotes to Feel Better Fast? How can I get through Feel Better Fast fast?" We'll also give you Feel Better Fast audios, hypnosis audios, I Do for You, and we'll give you Tana's brand new cookbook. We'll give you a digital copy of the 10 Day Brain Boost. Stay with us.
Thank you for listening to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. Go to iTunes and leave a review, and you'll automatically be entered into a drawing to get a free signed copy of The Brain Warrior's Way and The Brain Warrior's Way Cookbook we give away every month.