The Better Brain Solution with Dr. Steven Masley

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

In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen are joined by Dr. Steven Masley, author of The Better Brain Solution, for an in-depth discussion on nutrition, recipes, and cooking strategies that can have an enormous impact on the health of your brain and body.


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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.

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 nutraceutical products to support the health of your brain and body. For more information, visit Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way podcast.

Daniel Amen: Welcome. We have a very special guest today, Dr. Steven Masley, who is a physician, chef, nutritionist, and a best selling author, and public television personality, who has just recorded his third national public television special, the better brain solution. He has a book coming out with that same title. We're really excited to talk to Steven, and about how to make health delicious.

Tana Amen: Yes. Welcome.

Daniel Amen: I love this combination of chef and-

Tana Amen: I know.

Daniel Amen: ... Physician, and nutritionist. Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way podcast.

Tana Amen: It's like the best of both of us. That's fantastic.

Steven Masley: I'm delighted to be here with both of you.

Daniel Amen: How did you get excited about putting these three specialties together? You're like Tana and I mixed into one, although not quite as cute as Tana.

Steven Masley: Agreed.

Tana Amen: That's a matter of opinion.

Steven Masley: I started, maybe as a regular physician. My challenge was, I really wanted to keep people out of the hospital and prevent problems. That was my goal from the beginning, and I was one of the first physicians in the country to do group visits.

Tana Amen: Wow.

Steven Masley: Where I would see 20 people at a time for diabetes, or heart disease, depression. What I learned from them was, they didn't just need detailed information. They kept saying, "Well, why don't you just give me some recipes and I'll cook whatever ... If it's easy to prepare and I can find the ingredients in my grocery store, and it's delicious, that's all we'll cook."

Tana Amen: I love that. Yeah.

Steven Masley: I took that seriously. Here I'm a physician doing research studies with group visits and I decided I had to go back to chef school. I'd already ... I catered dinners in college to pay for some bills.

Tana Amen: That's awesome.

Steven Masley: I mean, I like cooking. The idea of going to chef school to improve my recipes was ... It took a year. As I kept working, I did every other weekend and three to four evenings every night for a year.

Tana Amen: That's fantastic.

Steven Masley: My family was so supportive.

Tana Amen: That is fantastic. I love that. We found something very similar. As we started to really implement this idea of functional medicine, of getting people healthy with lifestyle, the recipes were the thing that was really driving it. People needed simple ways to do it. I'm like, "How did I get stuck in this writing cookbooks thing forever?" Especially for somebody who couldn't cook. I have to hand it to you, because I don't know a lot of doctors who will take the time to do that. I mean, we make the perfect sort of team because I do that, but that's amazing that you took the time to do that, and you realize the power of food. You know?

Daniel Amen: We should start with, food is medicine, or food is poison, and the health of our country is going the wrong way. It's sort of the whole idea behind The Brain Warrior's Way podcast. The real weapons of mass destruction are highly processed, pesticide sprayed, high glycemic, low fiber, food-like substances stored in plastic containers. We see the massive rise in obesity, in diabetes, in hypertension, in depression, and dementia, and I think both you and I believe 50% of that has got to be food related. Getting your food right is absolutely critical.

Tana Amen: Absolutely.

Steven Masley: Especially you start throwing in pesticides and toxins and glycogen. I mean, it's more than ... For the brain, the brain is so sensitive that it is like the canary in the coal mine. That's what goes first, and when we eat all these processed foods, I think it's 60-80% of all memory loss and dementia is probably related to some combo of the wrong food instead of the right food, the wrong nutrients, and then you add toxins on top of it that come from food, or from our environment, it's pretty amazing. I think we could actually get rid of at least 60% of memory loss and cognitive decline with just changing the food we eat.

Tana Amen: What a concept.

Steven Masley: Maybe up to 80-90% when we looked at a whole holistic pattern to go with it.

Tana Amen: That's pretty amazing. That's actually amazing.

Daniel Amen: In November, I have a new book called Memory Rescue, coming out, and it's the same idea. It's like, how to you prevent Alzheimer's disease, or even get it back if you're headed to the dark place, it's you prevent or attack all of the risk factors that steal your mind. I came up with a pneumonic called bright minds to help you remember the 11 major risk factors. The T in bright minds is toxins. The D is diabesity, and it's just so important to have a simple solution because so many people are like, "Oh, I don't know what to do. I get conflicting advice." In your experience, Steven, what are the important things for people to do to have a better brain?

Steven Masley: I love the way you said that, because we've got to make it easy, or it's not gonna happen. I think of like five steps. Five simple, easy to follow steps that give people the right foods to add, the essential nutrients they shouldn't miss. There's activities, like moving the body is so important for the brain. I think we underestimate that. Managing our stress and avoiding toxins. If we do those five things right, and I think our challenge is to make them easy so if people can follow it, that would have a tremendous impact on ... My data from my clinic is, not only do we prevent memory loss, but people's executive brain function, their processing speed, it's like how fast does their brain computer work. The average person in a randomized, controlled study improved by 25%, so I know not only can we help delay memory loss, or prevent it, we can improve your per function today so you're sharper, quicker, and more productive.

Tana Amen: I have a question. I know the three of us think very differently, obviously. I mean, we really think that lifestyle matters, food matters. I mean, obviously the work we do is very different than I think the average medical people, but I have a question. Just today ... Not today, this week. I dealt with two people. One had Crohn's and one is getting gastric bypass. I asked them, what did your doctor say? I'm not a physician, so I want to make sure I'm sticking within my scope of practice. What did your physician tell you about food? What did they tell you about nutrition? Absolutely nothing. How does that make sense for someone with Crohn's or someone getting gastric bypass? They just gave them medicine and said not one word about nutrition or changing-

Daniel Amen: Because they have no training in this.

Tana Amen: That's a travesty.

Daniel Amen: Medical school-

Tana Amen: You get that that's a travesty.

Daniel Amen: Thousands and thousands of hours of education, I had 16 hours on nutrition. What probably causes 50% or more of the illnesses that we all see in our practices, we get very little training and doctors don't do what they're not trained to do.

Tana Amen: The one with Crohn's actually went on to say that the doctor said nutrition played a very small role and that it was going to be the immunosuppressant medication that was gonna be the important piece, and they removed a large section of bowel. I just ... How is this okay? What is bad for your gut, what is bad for your heart, is bad for your brain, right? I mean, come on. This is-

Steven Masley: I completely agree with you, but that's just a sad ... Our standard American system today is focused on diagnosing and treating a disease with either pills, pharmaceuticals, or procedures. That doesn't mean the population is limited to that. I think the three of us are trying to be warriors and make a change.

Tana Amen: You have to be your own best advocate, correct?

Steven Masley: Yes.

Tana Amen: We have to just retrain people.

Daniel Amen: People listening to The Brain Warrior's Way podcast, odds are, they want a different way. Tell us about the kinds of patients you see in your clinic in Florida.

Steven Masley: I see people who are just trying to improve their health. We do optimal health assessment, so we measure over 100 markers of aging, plaque growth, cognitive brain function, hormones, laboratories, bone densities. It's really a wholistic assessment, combined with very detailed nutrition, fitness, and stress management assessment.

Tana Amen: Is it fair to say you're a functional physician?

Steven Masley: Oh yeah.

Tana Amen: You're anti-aging-

Steven Masley: I've been involved with functional medicine since its inception, I think. I missed the first meeting, but-

Tana Amen: Okay. That's awesome.

Steven Masley: That was like 23 years ago. I think I've been involved intimately with it for at least 22 of the 23 years of its-

Tana Amen: Okay, so Dr. Masley's in Florida. I get people all the time asking me for referrals to people who are in functional medicine. Just FYI, very important to know.

Daniel Amen: St. Petersburg, Florida. We're actually thinking of a clinic next year in Miami, so we'll be closer, but St. Petersburg is just such a beautiful area. When is your new book, The Better Brain Solution coming out?

Steven Masley: It comes out January 2nd.

Daniel Amen: January 2nd, so new year, new you-

Steven Masley: New year, new brain.

Daniel Amen: Perfect. New brain.

Tana Amen: Right. Like it.

Daniel Amen: What we have both seen, us with our imaging work, is you're not stuck with the brain you have. You can make it better. Since it uses 20-30% of the calories you consume, what you feed it really does matter, and as a functional medicine doctor, all of us have learned about leaky gut. Not many people know about leaky brain, that if your gut is not healthy, it actually begins to open up some of the connections in your blood vessels that'll allow toxins into your brain. Do you talk about that at all?

Steven Masley: I do, because especially the whole concept of this gut, brain filter. This gut, brain connection is so well established. I think it's beyond any refutable doubt at this point that your gut communicates with your brain and your brain comes with your gut and pro ... Of the 10 top foods I would ask someone to add every day, probiotic foods are gonna have to be a strong part of that, and so is fiber to feed those healthy bacteria, those trillions of bacteria in our gut. Our gut helps us remove toxins. It processes and improves our vitamin levels. It causes, or it can remove inflammation. It's just an essential part, and it communicates the whole immune system. A huge part of our immune system that impacts our brain, as you know, is in our gut. I think the ... Leaky gut, you just get so many toxins floating into your system.

Tana Amen: Yep.

Steven Masley: The inflammatory and oxidation from that's amazing.

Daniel Amen: For people who don't know, when you say probiotic foods, what are your favorite ones?

Steven Masley: Sauerkraut is a really easy thing. If your dairy intolerant, then I don't have yogurt or kefir, but if you can tolerate that, I'm okay with those people who tolerate dairy, I let them have yogurt, organic yogurt or kefir. Kombucha or miso, those are all great sources.

Tana Amen: Kimchi.

Steven Masley: Kimchi, but I'm also probably gonna give most people-

Daniel Amen: It's awful.

Tana Amen: I like kimchi.

Daniel Amen: It's terrible.

Tana Amen: No. I like it. You just don't like me after I eat it.

Daniel Amen: The principle I always go on with is, there should be no suffering.

Tana Amen: I have to add something-

Daniel Amen: BrainMD, our supplement company actually makes ProBrainBiotics that has been shown in studies to help support mood and anxiety levels. I really like Sauerkraut, but this is a really important point. Tana likes kimchi.

Tana Amen: Right.

Daniel Amen: It's an amazing probiotic food. I hate it, so I'm not gonna make myself suffer.

Tana Amen: I want to add something.

Daniel Amen: I'm gonna find something that I really like that fits me and if I don't like it ... A lot of people just don't like fish, but the omega three fatty acids from fish are really important, and so taking them as a high quality supplement-

Tana Amen: High quality, for sure. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Daniel Amen: ... Can be really helpful too.

Steven Masley: Yes.

Tana Amen: I want to add something, because you made a good point. We have a lot of people that we deal with that are dairy intolerant, and the casein's not great for the brain and all that good stuff, but I discovered something really cool. Sheep's milk yogurt doesn't seem to affect some people the same way that cow's milk yogurt does, in some cases, but even for some people, that doesn't work well. I discovered something really cool, how to make your own coconut milk yogurt. You can use coconut milk and you can put a probiotic in. I'm curious what you both think about this. If you put a high quality probiotic supplement into the coconut milk, and then you strain it and you let it sit for a while in your refrigerator, it actually becomes a really cool coconut yogurt and it doesn't have all the added sugars and chemicals.

Steven Masley: I think that's terrific.

Tana Amen: It tastes great.

Steven Masley: Any of those options are great.

Daniel Amen: Sheep's milk? Where do you get sheep's milk?

Steven Masley: If you don't like these foods, then please take a probiotic.

Tana Amen: Right.

Steven Masley: As a supplement. People think, oh they're billions. It's nothing when you think of how many trillions are in our gut, 25 billion to me is just kind of a nice simple dose. If you're not used to eating probiotics every day and eating 10 servings of fruit and vegetables every day, then I'd like people to start adding a probiotic to their system.

Tana Amen: Right.

Steven Masley: It's one of my top 10 foods that I think we need to have every day.

Tana Amen: Right.

Steven Masley: Either it's a probiotic food or a probiotic supplement.

Tana Amen: Right, and a fun thing like the coconut milk yogurt, I just talked about making your own. It actually tastes great. You can put it in other things and do your homemade granola, grain-less granola that we ... I'm sure you know of a grain-less granola that you make at home and you put some coconut milk yogurt in it with your probiotics. It's awesome.

Daniel Amen: It's very important, because a lot of people say yogurt and health, and I want to make sure you read the label because most of the yogurt sold in stores, even healthy stores is loaded with sugar.

Tana Amen: Or aspartame.

Steven Masley: Yes.

Daniel Amen: When I eat organic-

Steven Masley: Absolutely. More sugar than in ice cream. Sweetened yogurt-

Tana Amen: Right, or they've got Aspartame, which is as bad or worse.

Steven Masley: Yeah.

Daniel Amen: The trend-

Steven Masley: The sweetened yogurt has more sugar than ice cream. It's insane.

Tana Amen: Right.

Daniel Amen: Right.

Steven Masley: Someone's trying to get a healthy food and they get totally deceived with it. That's awful.

Tana Amen: Right, but sugar free is not better.

Daniel Amen: The trick is, get organic, plain yogurt, and what I'll often do is put frozen blueberries in it-

Tana Amen: And a little Stevia.

Daniel Amen: Maybe a little Stevia or Erythritol, and mix it up. Tastes great. Great for you.

Steven Masley: Yes.

Daniel Amen: Read the label. Read the label.

Steven Masley: Berries are definitely in my top 10 food list.

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Steven Masley: Those pigments are so important for your brain. I want people to have either a cup of berries or cherries every day. You can put them in a smoothie. You can put them with coconut yogurt. You could have them just by themselves.

Tana Amen: Right, and they're low glycemic, so it's good.

Steven Masley: Very, yeah.

Daniel Amen: Yeah. I'd say have a cup of blueberries.

Steven Masley: That's a big myth that they have sugar. The glycemic load on cherries and blueberries is four.

Tana Amen: Much lower than other fruit, so yeah, agree.

Steven Masley: Yes.

Daniel Amen: Other than dates.

Tana Amen: Dates are terrible. Yeah.

Daniel Amen: Okay, so we have probiotics and we have berries. What are other brain foods?

Steven Masley: Number one is vegetables. I set some really green, leafy vegetables by themselves. If you have a cup of green leafies every day versus someone who doesn't, your brain is 11 years younger.

Tana Amen: Yeah, and you're happier. New study says you're happier the more veggies you eat, the happier you are.

Steven Masley: 11 years, that's amazing.

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Steven Masley: I love also, beets because I think the big beet pigments. Beets have this myth of being high sugar load, but their glycemic load is like five. They're really quite low. Beets and berries, but green leafies are just ... They have so much fiber, vitamin K, potassium. They're loaded with nutrients-

Daniel Amen: I love beets because-

Steven Masley: Vegetables, I'd probably put number one, and we need at least five cups a day.

Tana Amen: Right, and beets help increase blood flow as well.

Daniel Amen: That's why I like them.

Tana Amen: Yeah. I know.

Daniel Amen: I know if you serve me beets, you're in the mood for for love.

Tana Amen: Okay, anyways, this is a G rated show, or PG-13. I like my green drinks and I put a half a beet in there. I don't put too many beets because I want to keep my sugar low, but I do want a half of a beet or one beet in my green drink for the juice. It's really good. Tastes great.

Daniel Amen: New beat. Okay, we have beets. We have-

Steven Masley: Then, there's a lot of healthy fats out there that are really good for your brain. Vegetables way up there, berries, definitely a probiotic, but of the healthy fats, the omega-3, long chain omega-3 from seafood, whether it's seaweed or oysters, clams or-

Tana Amen: Love seaweed.

Steven Masley: ... Salmon, wild salmon, any of those. Our brain is 40% long chain omega-3 by weight. We need it to nourish it. Nuts have gotten, for years, a bad wrap. All the data, and especially this new mediterranean diet study, show that if you eat extra nuts every day, you have less cognitive decline-

Tana Amen: Thank you.

Steven Masley: ... And it improved brain function.

Tana Amen: Yeah. We're with you.

Daniel Amen: Which nuts do you like?

Steven Masley: My favorite six, almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts and macadamias, those are my favorite six.

Tana Amen: Yay! Those are mind too. Yep.

Steven Masley: Okay.

Tana Amen: Macadamia nut oil, we use macadamia nut oil.

Daniel Amen: what do you think about cashews?

Steven Masley: I'm fine with cashews, but I've never seen the kind of clinical data-

Tana Amen: They just taste good.

Steven Masley: ... From eating cashews I've seen in the other nuts.

Tana Amen: But they taste good.

Steven Masley: They do taste good.

Tana Amen: The macadamia nuts, they got bad rap for so long, but macadamia nut oil for cooking is great. It has a really high smoke point.

Steven Masley: Yeah. It does.

Daniel Amen: I think it's the calories in macadamia nuts, they're just loaded.

Tana Amen: Right, but they also have omega-9s, which is a little different, so it's really good. They're different, so they're good.

Steven Masley: The actual studies when they looked at nuts for weight loss showed people, if they ate one to two ounces, not a whole can.

Tana Amen: Right, you have to watch.

Steven Masley: One or two ounces a day, they lost weight because they were full and satisfied.

Tana Amen: Yep. They're satisfied. They're satisfying.

Steven Masley: It's a great snack before dinner.

Tana Amen: Yeah. Agreed.

Daniel Amen: One of the tricks I've found is you have to, when it says one ounce, you have to weigh that.

Tana Amen: Right.

Daniel Amen: You need to measure it, because if you just go and-

Steven Masley: I do one handful.

Daniel Amen: Right, but the problem is, it tastes so good that many people go, oh this is good for me, so they end up with six handfuls.

Tana Amen: Yeah. Don't lie to yourself.

Daniel Amen: There's this thing called calorie amnesia that people-

Tana Amen: I just suggest to people, actually get-

Steven Masley: Two handfuls, definitely is associated with better brain health, better heart health, and weight loss, but there is a limit, yeah. You can overdo almost anything.

Tana Amen: Right, so I tell people, get them out and then put them away, because if you don't put them away, you're gonna keep eating them. They tend to taste really good.

Steven Masley: Avocado would be another awesome fat. We should have half an avocado every day. That's become my favorite go-to cooking oil is avocado oil.

Tana Amen: Yeah. I like it too.

Daniel Amen: Why?

Steven Masley: The smoke point is 520 degrees. It's delicious.

Tana Amen: I agree.

Steven Masley: It's got a nice flavor.

Tana Amen: It tastes great, right?

Steven Masley: It's very neutral. It goes with many dishes, and if you want something to have an olive oil flavor, you can cook initially with the avocado oil, turn it to simmer.

Tana Amen: Right.

Steven Masley: Then at the very end, drizzle on a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.

Tana Amen: I like that. That's good. We're gonna be friends. I like this. I like avocado oil too, and I tell people they can use olive oil at low temperatures, not high, so that a good trick. I like that.

Steven Masley: Yes.

Daniel Amen: We have oils-

Steven Masley: Omega-3, seafood, nuts, olive oil, yeah, so extra virgin olive oils. The mediterranean diet, I think that was like a slam dunk finally, that when we look at adding extra virgin olive oil, extra couple tablespoons a day, even though it had calories, they clearly had better conative performance than the low fat eaters, and they had less conative decline than the low fat eaters.

Tana Amen: We've got this whole crew of the medical community coming back out now and doing a whole, no fat is bad again, what's going on with that? I'm so confused. They're starting to come back with, nope you've got to decrease your fat. I'm still confused by that.

Daniel Amen: The American Heart Association actually changed their position, I think it was last year, on fat and eating cholesterol. We know cholesterol over 220-230 is not really good for you, but cholesterol under 160 is associated with homicide, suicide, death from all causes.

Tana Amen: Yeah because your hormones are all out of wack.

Daniel Amen: I've seen that more and more, especially in the vegans that I treat and their rabid about not having any animal products, but their total cholesterol ... I saw somebody recently, it was 113-

Tana Amen: Depressed and anxious.

Daniel Amen: I just worry about the no fat, low fat message.

Tana Amen: Their hormones are out of wack.

Daniel Amen: What's your thought on that, Steve?

Steven Masley: They get depressed and it throws their hormones out of wack.

Tana Amen: Right.

Steven Masley: I totally agree with you there. If you don't have fat, one, you don't have texture to your food. It's depressing eating. If you don't have fat for your brain, you get depressed because your brain doesn't have any ... Your brain, it doesn't want to shrink. It needs fat to maintain itself. We need healthy fats, and I think there are smart fats out there and we need more ... I think the science is so solid for it there now, but remember, it takes 10-20 years for the medical community to make a shift.

Tana Amen: Right.

Steven Masley: We're only about five to 10 years into this shift away from lowfat to ... We're not saying eat any fat. No ones saying eating more trans fat thank goodness.

Tana Amen: Right. No one's ... Right, exactly. There are some fats that are clearly bad. Industrial raised animals, clearly that fat is much worse for you. That's not great fat. Those saturated fats are significantly worse than animals that are naturally raised, grass fed, free range. Yeah, that should be more limited than some of the other fats. Trans fats are terrible.

Steven Masley: Right. We're shifting towards smart fats, but it's gonna take another 10 to 15 years to get the medical community on board.

Tana Amen: Excellent.

Steven Masley: They're usually that far behind.

Tana Amen: Excellent.

Daniel Amen: What do you eat every day?

Steven Masley: A couple days a week, I start my morning fasting. I've added some partial intermittent fasting for a couple days a week, two, three days a week, and on the days I do have breakfast, during the week it's usually a shake. Almond milk, a protein powder, 20 grams of protein, usually do cherries or blueberries, a little hand hold of green and I push blend, and in two minutes, I am out the door with my breakfast.

Tana Amen: That's identical to us. That's seriously almost identical. That's awesome.

Daniel Amen: What about the rest of the day?

Steven Masley: Lunch is usually ... I make a soup of the week. All the leftover vegetables and I throw in beans and, so yeah, it's a soup of the week, or a salad usually, and then I usually have a carrot or an apple I bring with me, or a cucumber, so some vegetable or fruit. I get home, I have some nuts as my snack before dinner. Then dinner is some form of clean protein. I love something grass fed, organically raised. Not something from a feed lot, or wild fish like salmon or something like that, with at least a double portion of vegetables. We don't really have much rice or bread.

Tana Amen: Yeah, us either.

Steven Masley: That's like an anniversary celebration, I might have something like that.

Daniel Amen: Interesting.

Tana Amen: Yeah, we do 95/5. We have a 95/5 rule.

Steven Masley: Dark chocolate for dessert.

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Daniel Amen: We actually make something called Brain in Love and Brain on Joy, which are two ... One is sort of like a Hershey bar, but it's sugar free, dairy free, has nine grams of fiber. Brain on Joy is like an almond joy, except no sugar, no dairy, and it tastes awesome, so we're huge fans of chocolate.

Tana Amen: Dark chocolate.

Daniel Amen: Let's get into some of the controversial stuff, like caffeine and alcohol.

Steven Masley: Okay.

Daniel Amen: I'd love your thoughts on that.

Steven Masley: I think there's a J shaped curve here, and there's some people who can't control themselves and they really just shouldn't touch it. You could really have one cup of coffee, or maybe two cups of matcha tea. I'm totally okay with that, but some people, they can't stop at that little bit, or they get that pigmented benefit. They overdo it and they clearly cause harm. I've probably outlined at least six studies that if you're having a moderate portion of tea or caffeine, that there's good benefit, that there's good benefit to the brain. If you do more, then it's harmful. It's crazy. I would say the same thing of the alcohol. The only benefit I could find were specifically associated with red wine, and it was really modest portions. It's not like more is better, so out of the controversy ... I realize there's many people who the idea of having one glass of wine with dinner is just impossible. They're gonna never be able to do that. I'm okay with those two groups, provided it's at a very small serving per day, and definitely not more.

Daniel Amen: When I rehabilitate brains, and I do that all the time, caffeine constricts blood flow to the brain.

Steven Masley: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Daniel Amen: We actually don't let people have caffeine the day of their scans, because the scans we do, the SPEC studies are blood flow studies and caffeine can constrict blood flow up to 30% in the brain. I'm with you. If somebody has a cup or two of coffee a day, it's probably not going to hurt them, but when they're at four, five, six, and you know, one Starbucks Venti is three.

Steven Masley: Yeah. Exactly.

Daniel Amen: In fact, it's six. If you think of a cup of coffee at six ounces, isn't their small 12 ounces?

Tana Amen: I think so.

Daniel Amen: The venti is 330 milligrams of caffeine and the American Psychiatric Association actually says that's an addiction level, so just one of those. The cup size matters. Then, alcohol, there's a study from Johns Hopkins that say people who drink every day have smaller brains, and I always say, when it comes to the brains, size matters. It's the only organ in your body where size really does matter. You don't want a smaller brain. If you have two glasses of wine a week, it's not a big problem. If you have two glasses of wine a day, it's a big problem. At least from what we've seen on the imaging work we do.

Steven Masley: I would say the hard liquor and beer, there was no ... I could find no benefit even in small quantities for hard liquor and beer. That I just associate with [crosstalk 00:30:12]

Tana Amen: Yeah. That's sort of what we've found, and we would agree with you that the problem is, most people, they sort of fudge on how much they're actually drinking and they just can't-

Daniel Amen: Because they forget.

Tana Amen: Most people can't just have that one. There are a few people, there are some people, a small percentage of the population that can have a small amount and they don't need more or they don't want more because they don't like being out of control, but for whatever reason, that's not the majority of people. If you're one of those people, then you probably shouldn't do it, because it's not good for your brain.

Steven Masley: I would actually say, in your population, when you're dealing with someone with an injured brain, is not the same as these global studies I'm looking at from Australia or France or the Netherlands, where they're looking at healthy people who have healthy habits.

Tana Amen: Right. We're talking about people who it's ... I don't know if you want to call it genetic, but it's through your family, your heritage, there's been problems. Yeah, it's probably best to just avoid the whole thing.

Daniel Amen: One of the kickers for me, the New York Post had this headline, Cancer, It's Your Fault, and what they found was 70-90% of cancers were environmentally driven, and alcohol directly increases the risk of seven different cancers. I'm just thinking to myself-

Tana Amen: And women are more affected.

Daniel Amen: ... Decreased judgment, more domestic violence, more car accidents, now cancer. Less is probably better.

Tana Amen: Less is better, yeah.

Daniel Amen: At least for the population we see. What are your favorite stories from The Better Brain Solution or the patients that you see in your Florida clinic, because ultimately that's what people remember.

Steven Masley: I commonly have people come in ... I had a woman recently who came in from New York who had brain fog. She couldn't remember where she put stuff. She was foggy. She'd been on all these series of strict diets, all these intense exercise routines. She couldn't lose weight and when I actually measured her blood sugar, she had elevated blood sugar, the number one, strongest predictor of conative decline and memory loss. Even though she was dieting and working out like a fiend, and I think they put her on several ... She had been through several low fat diets. It wasn't working for her and she couldn't think right. When I just said, "Try this. Add these 10 foods. Meet these nutrient needs. Be active, but I don't want you killing yourself two, three hours a day and being all stressed over it."

Tana Amen: Right.

Steven Masley: Immediately, within a week or two, she was startled that her brain fog started to lift and go away and she felt so much better. Within a month, her blood sugar was normal. Within two months she had lost eight pounds and never gained it back, and her cognitive performance on our cognitive test we do improved by about 60%, but she feels so much better. It's the quality of life difference that's better than any of her blood sugar or cognitive testing numbers. She's fantastic. That's a common theme that when you give someone the right food, nutrients, activity, help them manage their stress, take out a few toxins, you do those five simple steps like we offer with our program, and it's amazing the results. We know you can shrink artery plaque, and now we know that you can improve your brain function. Not only try to prevent memory loss, but improve the brain you've got.

Tana Amen: Yep.

Steven Masley: That's what I love about the work you two are doing too, is it's about a better brain. It's not just delaying. It's not just fighting Alzheimer's disease. It's giving someone a better brain immediately, and they're so grateful.

Tana Amen: Yeah. We have a kinship for sure. Yeah. This is good.

Daniel Amen: Yes, and that's the exciting things about the brain. It continues to make new neurons, especially in a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is Greek for seahorse. The hippocampus makes up to 700 new cells every day, so I think if your brain's producing these little baby seahorses and your behavior is either increasing that number or decreasing it, it's increasing the health of the babies or it's murdering them, in essence. Your behavior matters in such a huge way. Any final thoughts before we have to wrap up?

Steven Masley: My biggest one was, I think most people procrastinate. They're waiting for some ... It's like they're waiting for a heart attack to change, okay they waited too long. They're waiting for a stroke to change, okay that was way too long. Especially for your brain, don't wait until you notice cognitive decline because by that point ... By the time you're forgetful, you have to re-read a paragraph in a book, you can't find your keys, you have trouble finding your car in the parking lot. By that point, your brain has shrunk. It's really hard to reverse it. It's so much easier to prevent that and to stay sharp, so my pitch to all of your listeners would be, I think the three of us are very much on the same page, we want people to have a wonderful, glorious life, eat fantastic food, but don't wait. Start right now. Make your brain better.

Tana Amen: Yes.

Steven Masley: That's my, really, message to people is, take action. Get started today with the foods we've talked about, the steps we mentioned. That's really the solution to a better brain.

Tana Amen: Agree. That's awesome.

Daniel Amen: Great. Thanks so much for joining us on The Brain Warrior's Way podcast, Dr. Steven Masley.

Tana Amen: That was wonderful.

Daniel Amen: The Better Brain Solution coming January 2nd. In March he'll have a national public television special to support the book. Thanks so much my friend.

Steven Masley: Thank you.

Daniel Amen: 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.