If someone told you that one factor is associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity in developed nations, would you believe it?
You should, because it’s true. Inflammation is a common link between all of these diseases and it is also linked to cognitive function – the topic of this post.(17,18)
According to mold toxin expert Ritchie Shoemaker, MD:
“A common concern for those who are trying to understand cognitive problems is how inflammation in the body is inflammation in the brain. The blood brain barrier, as it is called, results from additional “tight junction features”. Inflammatory processes including TGF beta-1 and IL-1B loosen these tight junctions. These two compounds are shown to be significantly elevated in patients with systemic inflammatory response syndromes.”
Inflammation is an innate response to injury, stress, or illness, poor gut function or eating toxic foods (high-toxin, high-sugar, high-processed, high-gluten, etc.) and induces an inflammatory response. When this response becomes the norm for your body, it becomes a low-level feature in your physiology and problems arise.
I’ve struggled with systemic inflammation since I was a young child, although it is a rare problem for me today.
It is lack of knowledge, unmanaged stress and poor food choices that push people off the inflammation cliff.
Everything included in the Bulletproof diet and protocols is focused on eliminating unnecessary inflammation in the body. Talking to hundreds of experts, researching, and self-experimenting has shown me that the Bulletproof Diet does not just help people prevent diseases, lose weight, or have more energy, but it helps people gain sharpercognitive performance. That’s not exactly a surprise; I designed it to do that.
Clever but ill informed marketers will name almost any unusual food to be a superfood. A popular book puts soy, oats, and beans on the super foods list. Give me a break. Goji berries? Did you know they are actually in the nightshade family like tomatoes and can cause inflammation in a large percentage of people?
The truth of the matter is that real super foods have science behind them and when you eat them, you can feel a difference quickly.
In particular, there are a few foods that take your focus to new levels. These “super cognitive foods” include butter, coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. They pack a powerful punch for anyone looking to better their cognitive performance by fighting inflammation.
These foods are staples for a Bulletproof lifestyle, and many people report back to BulletproofExec.com to share how much they’ve rocked their own worlds.
Famous comedian, podcaster, and MMA announcer Joe Rogan recently posted on twitter about Bulletproof Coffee made with my beans. Yes, it made me laugh too, although that’s not a stunt I’m going to try any time soon, nor is it recommended.
Foods vs. Inflammation
Before you think about any food’s anti-inflammatory properties, keep in mind we are talking about high quality food. That is why everything at Upgraded Self is as good as it can possibly be. Lower quality foods often have toxins or inflammatory agents in them, which initiates an inflammatory response in the body. The right high quality foods retain high levels of antioxidants and low levels of toxins, which means they don’t cause inflammation they way inferior foods do. Quality matters.
Bulletproof Coffee is a perfect way to ignite your focus in the morning. Due to its antioxidant and caffeine content, and the fact that it contains two unique and potent neurological agents, you can keep a steady focus. Caffeine is more than an energy booster – caffeine may help ease cognitive decline and block inflammation in the brain.(19)
Another study came to similar conclusions. According to Professor Gregory Freund from the University of Illinois “We have discovered a novel signal that activates… brain-based inflammation…and caffeine appears to block its activity.”(9)
Along with fighting cognitive diseases, caffeine and coffee increase insulin sensitivity in healthy humans.(7, 11-13) Insulin sensitivity is correlated with how well your body responds to certains kinds of inflammation.
Coffee is the world’s number one source of antioxidants, and for this reason it is a staple in the Bulletproof Diet. The problem is that 91.7% of coffee beans (from South America in the study) contain mold toxins and 50% of coffees brewed contain toxins, which induces an inflammatory response.(20-21) If you want to upgrade your cognitive performance, Upgraded Coffee, tested for mold toxins, is the only way to go.
Drinking the right coffee has short and long-term effects on your brain. The short-term effect of coffee on mood may be due to altered serotonin and dopamine activity, whereas the mechanisms behind its potential long-term effects on mood may relate to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.(22-25)
Butter is an unexpected source of cognitive enhancement, and contains one ingredient that studies show is beneficial for cognitive function and gut health called butyrate. Butyrate is a short chain saturated fat and anti-inflammatory. According to three studies, the most common class of genetic neurodegenerative diseases are delayed in mice with the treatment of butyrate.(1-3)
Butyrate protects against intestinal permeability in rat models of ulcerative colitis.(4) This shows that short-chain fatty acids, including butyrate, play an important role in the maintenance of gut barrier integrity. Butyrate also sharply reduces the harmful effects of type 1 diabetes in rats.(5)
Butyrate may also prevent and treat diet-induced insulin resistance in mice. Butyrate is related to promotion of energy expenditure and induction of mitochondria function.(6)
The highest concentration of butyrate may be found in high quality grass-fed butter. I highlight the benefits of grass-fed butter in comparison to grain-fed butter in this infographic. Kerrygold is my butter of choice, but any brand may suffice as long as it is grass-fed (organic isn’t enough and is typically a sham if the cows eat organic soy and corn).
Vanilla and Chocolate
Vanilla is a great food to add into your diet if you are looking for a cognitive boost. Vanilloids found in vanilla can help maintain healthy levels of inflamation, and are a great add-in for coffee or dessert.(14-16)
Chocolate, along with coffee, is very high in antioxidants and contains toxins if not processed and stored delicately. This is another food that it is vital to get in high quality and at a cacao content of at least 70% in order to reap the benefits. Chocolate favorably alters eicosanoid synthesis, which inhibits vascular and inflammatory processes.(17)
Coffee, Butter, Vanilla, and Chocolate are ideal foods for people looking to get an edge in the workplace. These foods fight unneeded inflammation and turn your brain into an upgraded machine. They are also the core ingredients of almost all truly excellent desserts. :)
Now this is the part of the post where I am supposed to convince you to get the obsessively produced stuff at UpgradedSelf.com, but that is not what I want you to do. Instead, challenge yourself to completely avoid high-sugar, bad-fat, high-processed foods for a week as you pay extra attention to your cognitive function. Then, if you want an added boost, add Upgraded products back in, and feel the difference. Want to quantify it? Design your own experiment and share it in the comments below.
If you are like most people, you will be sharper in the workplace and more efficient at what you do. Not only that, you will have more STEADY energy and will not feel as hungry as you would eating low quality food. By avoiding inflammatory foods now, you will begin to make your mind and body bulletproof.
If you have any questions about inflammatory foods, or a story to share about inflammation please add it in the comments below or post them in our Bulletproof Forum. There are many smart Bulletproof Practitioners there that may answer any of your questions.
Click to read the complete list of references.
1. Ferrante RJ, Kubilus JK, Lee J, Ryu H, Beesen A, Zucker B, Smith K, Kowall NW, Ratan RR, Luthi-Carter R, Hersch SM. Histone deacetylase inhibition by sodium butyrate chemotherapy ameliorates the neurodegenerative phenotype in Huntington’s disease mice.J Neurosci. 2003 Oct 15;23(28):9418-27. PubMed PMID: 14561870.
2. Ying M, Xu R, Wu X, Zhu H, Zhuang Y, Han M, Xu T. Sodium butyrate ameliorates histone hypoacetylation and neurodegenerative phenotypes in a mouse model for DRPLA. J Biol Chem. 2006 May 5;281(18):12580-6. Epub 2005 Dec 28. PubMed PMID: 16407196.
3. Minamiyama M, Katsuno M, Adachi H, Waza M, Sang C, Kobayashi Y, Tanaka F, Doyu M, Inukai A, Sobue G. Sodium butyrate ameliorates phenotypic expression in a transgenic mouse model of spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy. Hum Mol Genet. 2004 Jun 1;13(11):1183-92. Epub 2004 Apr 21. PubMed PMID: 15102712.
4. Kumar C, Rachappaji K, Nandini C, Sambaiah K, Salimath P. Modulatory effect of butyric acid-a product of dietary fiber fermentation in experimentally induced diabetic rats. J Nutr Biochem. 2002 Sep;13(9):522. PubMed PMID: 12231422.
5. Zhanguo Gao, Jun Yin, Jin Zhang, Robert E. Ward, Roy J. Martin, Michael Lefevre, William T. Cefalu and Jianping Ye. Butyrate Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Increases Energy Expenditure in Mice. Diabetes 2009 July
Antioxidant and Gene Regulation Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, Louisiana;
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7. Rebello, Salome, Cynthia Chen, Nasheen Nadoo, Wang Xu, and Kee Sang Chia. “Coffee and Tea Consumption in Relation to Inflammation and Basal Glucose Metabolism in a Multi-ethnic Asian Population: A Cross-sectional Study.”NutritionJ. N.p., n.d. Web. Oct. 2012. <http://www.nutritionj.com/content/pdf/1475-2891-10-61.pdf>.
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9. Chiu GS, Chatterjee D, Darmody PT, Walsh JP, Meling DD, Johnson RW, Freund GG. Hypoxia/Reoxygenation Impairs Memory Formation via Adenosine-Dependent Activation of Caspase 1. J Neurosci. 2012 Oct 3;32(40):13945-55. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0704-12.2012. PubMed PMID: 23035103; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3476834.
10. Systemic Inflammation Induces Acute Behavioral and Cognitive Changes and Accelerates Neurodegenerative Disease Colm Cunningham, Suzanne Campion, Katie Lunnon, Carol L. Murray, Jack F.C. Woods, Robert M.J. Deacon, J. Nicholas P. Rawlins, V. Hugh Perry Biological psychiatry 15 February 2009 (volume 65 issue 4 Pages 304-312 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.07.024)
11. Loopstra-Masters RC, Liese AD, Haffner SM, Wagenknecht LE, Hanley AJ. Associations between the intake of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and measures of insulin sensitivity and beta cell function. Diabetologia. 2011 Feb;54(2):320-8. Epub 2010 Nov 3. PubMed PMID: 21046357.
12. Keijzers GB, De Galan BE, Tack CJ, Smits P. Caffeine can decrease insulin sensitivity in humans. Diabetes Care. 2002 Feb;25(2):364-9. PubMed PMID: 11815511.
13. Rebello SA, Chen CH, Naidoo N, Xu W, Lee J, Chia KS, Tai ES, van Dam RM. Coffee and tea consumption in relation to inflammation and basal glucose metabolism in a multi-ethnic Asian population: a cross-sectional study. Nutr J. 2011 Jun 2;10:61. PubMed PMID: 21631956; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3130641.
14. Vanilloids. 1. Analogs of capsaicin with antinociceptive and antiinflammatory activity. John M. Janusz, Brian L. Buckwalter, Patricia A. Young, Thomas R. LaHann, Ralph W. Farmer, Gerald B. Kasting, Maurice E. Loomans, Gary A. Kerckaert, Cherie S. Maddin. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 1993 36 (18), 2595-2604
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22. Lucas M, Mirzaei F, Pan A, et al. Coffee, caffeine, and risk of depression among women. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171:1571-1578. Abstract
23. Pasco JA, Nicholson GC, Williams LJ, et al. Association of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein with de novo major depression. Br J Psychiatry. 2010;197:372-377. Abstract
24. Ng F, Berk M, Dean O, Bush AI. Oxidative stress in psychiatric disorders: evidence base and therapeutic implications. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2008;11:851-876. Abstract
25. O’Connor A. Coffee drinking linked to less depression in women. New York Times. February 13, 2012. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/26/coffee-drinking-linked-to-less-depression-in-women/ Accessed January 11, 2012.
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