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With the rate of coronavirus increasing once again with no end in sight, some are wondering if infection is more or less inevitable. Studies have shown that those with strong immune systems are able to fight off the virus, while others are simply not able to overcome it. In this fourth and final episode in a series with Dr. Jonny Bowden, he and the Amens give the practical strategies to prepare your body to fight off major viral infections such as COVID-19.
For more info on Dr. Jonny Bowden, visit https://jonnybowden.com/
Daniel Amen, MD:
Welcome to the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.
Welcome back. We are still here with our friend, Jonny Bowden and his book, The Great Cholesterol Myth, Revised and Expanded. I’m super excited about this because it was such a helpful book to me. This is just flying by and most of the questions we have on our list, Jonny, because you are so good at this, you’ve actually already answered. So what I want to actually talk about is practical tips for people, like what do we do?
To prevent heart disease.
To prevent heart disease, to get your cholesterol down. Just what can people do starting today?
Jonny Bowden, PhD CNS:
So I’m going to give you my go-to nutritional advice. I do so many of these things and people, “What can I do? Give it to me in a nutshell.” And you really can’t explain diets and macronutrients and proportions, but you can give this three word mantra, which to me is the most important nutritional advice anyone can get. More important than what diet you follow, more important than whether you’re vegan or paleo or carnivore, and it is this, it sounds simpler than it is. Eat real food.
Now let me explain what that means. It doesn’t mean kale chips. It doesn’t mean a lot of what you think it is. Real food defined this way, if you put it outside, it’s going to spoil. If you showed it to four generations ago grandmother, your great, great, great, great grandma, and you said, “What is this, Nana?” “Oh, I know. Let me cook it up,” as opposed to what they did in the blue zones when they showed them Lunchables to these old people who … “What is that?” But they didn’t even know what it is. So it needs to pass that test. Your great-great-great-great grandmother know, “Oh, that’s cauliflower. You boil it. Oh, that’s meat. You cook.” It has to pass the great, great, great … and it needs to be something that would spoil outside.
So if you’re in doubt, it looks healthy, it’s kale chips. How bad …? If you’re in doubt, it’s not on the list. If there’s any doubt, you throw it out. So that really leaves what I call the four major food groups. I call them Jonny Bowden four food groups. I didn’t invent them. Food you could hunt, fish, gather or pluck. So if you were naked on the African Savannah with a hard stick, what could you catch? What could you knock out of a tree? What could you pluck out of the ground? It’s probably good for you. And those foods are the least likely to cause metabolic damage.
And I would love people as a take-home to stop thinking that cholesterol numbers equate with heart health. That if your numbers are low, your heart is healthy. If your numbers are high, it’s not. We need to start thinking about these other metrics and if people don’t want to get tested in many ways, just eat real food because that does not drive up the numbers that you don’t want driven up. You don’t get insulin resistance on foods you could hunt, fish, gather or pluck. You just don’t. You get it on nutrient empty, processed foods that we keep eating more of because our bodies are saying, “Where’s the magnesium? Where’s the protein? Give me more, give me more.” These foods create their own cravings. They literally make you want more. They’ve been engineered to do that. And they’re nutrient kind of empty.
Nobody can sit watching reruns of Seinfeld and eat three steaks and three portions of broccoli, but you could eat six bowls of cereal, no problem. It was designed that way. So if you eat real food, that’s half the battle about what to eat. You don’t have to count calories and fat. You don’t have to have proportion of protein or fat, just eat real food. And the way it comes in real life, the meat comes with fat. And as long as you get grass-fed meat that hasn’t been pumped through with hormones and bovine growth hormone and steroids and antibiotics, its going to be good, you don’t have to worry about the fat.
Do you have any suggestions for people with low cholesterol? I see it all the time.
I don’t. I would ask you. I mean, I don’t see that as much. So I’d ask you.
It’s almost an epidemic among my young people especially, and maybe it’s because their parents saw cholesterol as the enemy and they bought the labeling. We use something called Sonic Cholesterol to raise it. We’re actually giving them cholesterol.
Really? That’s how important it is.
It’s just such a really important thing. All right. Well, I interrupted you when you were telling us [crosstalk [00:05:05] blood vessels healthy. So eat real food.
Eat real food, number one. Number two, understand, and we talked about this in episode one and two, that the boats that are carrying the cholesterol cargo, which is the lipoproteins, get damaged and they get damaged when they get stuck in the endo. The endothelial wall is the lining of the artery, and when it gets damaged, all kinds of bad stuff happens. It’s exactly the same. I’m sure you’ve had podcasts about leaky gut. So you have a gut wall lining also one cell. You have an endothelial wall in the gut. It’s like chicken wire, and when those little holes get in there and it starts to break, then stuff gets into the bloodstream that doesn’t belong, and you have immune system reactions and bad stuff happens. Right?
Same thing with the walls of the arteries. When they get damaged, bad things happen, a particle gets stuck in there. It parks in a place that it’s not supposed to be. All of a sudden it dumps this cargo. All of a sudden, you’ve got foam cells creating plaque. Then you’ve got calcium capping it so that it doesn’t spread any further. Before you know it, you have plaque. That all happens when there’s damage to the endothelial wall. And what is that damage generally? Inflammation. So the second rule is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet and do everything in your human power to try to keep inflammation at bay. Now, remember if you’re breathing, if you’re living, you’ve got inflammation and oxidative damage. The question isn’t getting rid of them, the question is keeping it in balance so that your body doesn’t become a fire wall of little fires. And by the way, this is the part that I think is so critical about this book and the diet we’re talking about. It all relates to COVID. One of the metabolic conditions that makes it bad.
Daniel and I talked about this when I interviewed him for the mental illness book. We’ll probably 80 when when the dust settles. I’m going to guess 80% of the world has been exposed to this. That’s not what’s important. What’s important is do you get sick or not? And what increases the risk of a bad outcome is what? All of the conditions we’ve been talking about. So eating a diet that doesn’t produce insulin resistance, that doesn’t overwhelm the system with carbohydrates and junk food, and is actually filled with fat and good protein, and is actually the best way to support your immune system. I mean, I think Daniel and I are in the same book. We’re both in the same age range where bad things happen and neither one of us is terribly scared of it. Not because we’re COVID deniers, not because we think it doesn’t exist, but because we’ve taken care of the ability to fight it, the immune system, we have nourished our brains and our heart and our immunity.
And that’s the thing about this diet. It’s not just about lowering cholesterol or preventing heart disease. It’s also about preventing a million opportunistic challenges that can really deplete you if you’re busy putting out BS fires all over that are unforced errors. It’s like your fire department, you want it ready to go and handle a wildfire in California or an emergency. You don’t want it putting out these piddly little fires in a bucket that teenagers started on the corner because they have nothing else. That what the inflammatory diet that we eat does. It causes constant little pockets where the immune system has to pay attention to and direct resources to, and then we get something like COVID, it’s like all the fire trucks are out and we don’t really have the resources.
An anti-inflammatory diet. Things you can hunt, fish, gather or pluck. Probably colorful fruits and vegetables. Kill the sugar and foods that quickly turn to sugar. And then the fake foods have ingredients that your grandmother cannot pronounce. Then anti-inflammatory is also omega-3 fatty acids, your cumins, [crosstalk [00:09:10] quircetin. So many good things, Jonny, this is just great. Unfortunately, we’re out of time. I want everybody to get your book. I think it is so important to really [crosstalk [00:09:29] understand heart disease because the number one predictor of Alzheimer’s disease is low blood flow to your brain. That comes from vascular disease. It’s just what we’re talking about here. Jonny how can they follow you? Where?
At Jonny Bowden on Twitter and Instagram and it’s Johnny with no H, J O N N Y B O W D E N. And I have a website, my name dot com and I love to hear from everybody. I answer all my emails.
As always. It’s fantastic.
I love you guys so much. You just heroes of mine. I so appreciate this opportunity. It’s just great.
Yeah thank you my friend. Goodness it’s like 20 years ago [crosstalk [00:10:13] of brain in love and you came to a lecture.
Most life-changing lecture. your heart is good for your brain is good for [inaudible [00:10:26].
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Dr. Daniel Amen:
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