On today’s show, we explore the connection between diet and brain health. My guest is Annie Fenn, MD, founder of the Brain Health Kitchen. Annie is a medical doctor, chef, and culinary instructor, and she joins me to talk about the MIND Diet and the 10 healthy brain food groups we should all be including regularly in our diets. Can diet and lifestyle reduce our risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia? Can certain foods increase our risk? Find out by tuning in to this week’s podcast. Just click the PLAY button below to hear our conversation. (FYI: I recorded this podcast back in November, so don’t be surprised when you hear us talking about the holidays, etc!)
For 20 years, Annie practiced obstetrics and gynecology with a specialty in menopause. Her career took an interesting turn, and today, she’s the founder of The Brain Health Kitchen Cooking School, the only culinary school of its kind in the country. Annie’s classes focus on fending off Alzheimer’s and other dementias with brain-healthy foods and cooking techniques.
Throughout this episode, Annie and I talk about the MIND Diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) and its 10 healthy brain food groups that we should all be eating each week. We also cover unhealthy brain food groups that we should eat in moderation. We share a few recipes, including my riff on Annie’s Moroccan Forbidden Rice Salad and Annie’s Rustic Marmalade Cake, made with olive oil instead of butter.
“Foods that are dark purple and red are filled with anthocyanins that scrub the brain of plaque.”
-Annie Fenn, MD
Dr. Martha Clare Morris, director of Rush University’s Institute for Healthy Aging, was the creator of the MIND Diet. Since Annie and I recorded this podcast, Dr. Morris passed away from cancer. Let us all send warm thoughts and condolences to her family and loved ones.
Check out my riff on Annie’s Moroccan Forbidden Rice Salad.
Regular physical activity is also important for brain health. From yoga to walking your dogs in the snow, it all adds up! Here’s Annie walking her pups–Orzo on the left and Olive Oyl (Livvie) on the right–with the Teton Mountains in the background.
- Annie’s life in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as the mom of two college-aged sons; she’s a board-certified Ob-gyn who retired in 2010 to be home with her boys
- Annie wanted to learn more about food as medicine, so she went to culinary school and started teaching cooking classes in her community
- How Annie became interested in how eating choices affect Alzheimer’s, just as her mom was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s
- In 2017, Annie launched The Brain Health Kitchen Cooking School to teach people to cook and eat foods that prevent Alzheimer’s
- Her mission is to create irresistible recipes that are nutrient-dense and neuroprotective
- How common food prep methods create particles that are unhealthy for our brains
- Why consumers should change the way they cook foods on the grill
- Why you should eat a large serving of leafy greens with your grilled steak
- The MIND Diet, which stands for, Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, a hybrid of two diets that prevent chronic diseases
- Ten brain-healthy food groups: berries, leafy greens, vegetables, beans, whole grains, olive oil, fish/seafood, chicken, nuts, and red wine
- Five unhealthy food groups that we should avoid or eat in moderation: fast and fried foods, pastries and sweets, butter, cheese, and meat
- How Annie cared for her brain health with foods and supplements after a recent concussion
- The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for our brains
- Feeding kids with brain health in mind (excuse the pun)
- Forbidden rice (AKA black rice), is rich in anthocyanins, the same phytonutrients found in blueberries
- Annie’s recipe ideas for using forbidden rice
- Annie’s cooking classes, programs, and wellness retreats. Check out Annie’s schedule, including her classes at Rancho La Puerta
- The aging of our population, and the increased research for all types of dementia
- Annie’s website, where you can find free resources, recipes, and her newsletter
LINKS and RESOURCES:
My email: [email protected]
Connect with Annie:
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For other Liz’s Healthy Table Podcasts, check out: