Wellness and Personal Development
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsLinksBook Reviews
10 Minute Solution: Butt Lift10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training101 Ways to Meditate29 Gifts3-In-1 Total Body Fitness with Desi Bartlett30 Minute Ab & Butt Blaster5 Day Fit Yoga5 Mega Miles with Toning Band7 Weeks to 100 Push-Ups8 Keys to Body Brain BalanceA.M. EnergyAccessible Yoga for Every Body DVDAfter the Ecstasy, the LaundryAge-Proof Your MindAgeless Mobility: Pain-Free Wellness For LongevityAlmost MeatlessAM/PM YogaAnswers for AristotleAnywhere, Anytime, Any Body YogaAthlete's Guide to YogaAuthentic HappinessAwakening Self-EsteemBalanced AssetsBedroom Body: Booty Burner, Core & Pelvic Floor WorkoutBeginners Yoga DVDBeginning YogaBellyFit ElementsBetter Sex Through YogaBody By BethennyBreath-Centered YogaBreathingBuddhist Boot CampCalm Body Clear MindCalm EnergyCalm Focus JoyChoosing CivilityClassical Pilates Technique DVDComplementary and Alternative Therapies ResearchCore Fusion - Pilates PlusCore Fusion - Pure Abs & ArmsCore Fusion - Thighs & GlutesCore Fusion Body SculptCore Fusion Lean & TonedCore Fusion Power SculptCore Strength PilatesCore Strength Vinyasa Yoga Power Hour with Sadie NardiniCore YogaCreative Core AbsCreative Writing In Health And Social CareDance Off the Inches: Cardio Hip Hop PartyDance the Chakras Yoga WorkoutDeep Stretch / Yin YogaDr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Eating WellDr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Optimum HealthDr. Andrew Weil's Mindbody ToolkitEastern Body, Western MindEasy YogaElement: Barre ConditioningElement: Targeted Toning Pilates for BeginnersElement: Yoga for Stress Relief & FlexibilityElements of Yoga, Earth FoundationsElements of Yoga, Fire DynamicElements of Yoga: Air & WaterEmotional Chaos to ClarityEmotions, Stress, and HealthEvamarie Pilipuf's Yoga Express DVDEvery Day Yoga for Every Body DVDEveryday GreensEveryday Workout for the Everyday WomanEverything VeganExhale Core Fusion 30 Day SculptFamily YogaFast Food for the SoulFat and FuriousFear and Other Uninvited GuestsFit Family Fun CircuitFit in 5 DVDFlat Abs PilatesFlow and YinFlow YogaFluid Power Vinyasa Flow YogaFully PresentGaiam Pilates Slide and Sculpt Kit with DVDGaiam Pilates Total Toning KitGaiam Yoga For Weight Loss KitGet Ripped & ChiseledGood MedicineHealing Through Movement: Pilates Head to ToeHealthy AgingHealthy Sexy Beautiful Kundalini YogaHemalayaa's Yoga for Young Bodies DVDHemalayaa: Bollywood BootyHot Body Cool Mind - Level 1Hot Body Cool Mind: Waking Energy How to Cook Everything VegetarianI'd Rather LaughIn Defense of FoodInsight Yoga Earth: Balancing Yin EnergyInsight Yoga Heaven: Balancing YangInsight Yoga with Sarah PowersIntegrated YogaIntegrative MedicineIntroduction to Ashtanga Yoga DVDIntroduction to Qi YogaIntroduction to Yoga DVDIt's Up to YouJanis Saffell Beverly Hills YogaKids Teach Yoga - Flying EagleKidYogi - Yoga for ChildrenKnowing the Nature of FearKripalu YogaKripalu Yoga Dynamic DVDKripalu Yoga Gentle DVDKundalini Yoga : DVDKundalini Yoga for Beginners & BeyondKundalini Yoga Meditation for Beginners & BeyondKundalini Yoga Meditation for Complex Psychiatric DisordersKundalini Yoga on the BallKundalini Yoga Solar Power All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress DVDKundalini Yoga Transformer All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga: Green Energy of the HeartLife MakeoversLifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues--Level 1LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues: Level 2Living BeautifullyLiving Room Yoga DVDLiving Room Yoga: Twist and BendLiving Your Best LifeLiving Your DreamLunar Flow YogaMadhur Jaffrey's World VegetarianMake It Fast, Cook It SlowManage Your Depression Through ExerciseMaui PilatesMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for Back PainMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for IBSMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for InsomniaMean GenesMeditation in a New York MinuteMindfulnessMindfulness for BeginnersMisadventures of a Garden State YogiMozart's Brain and the Fighter PilotNew York PilatesNext-Level PilatesPassionate VegetarianPerfect in Ten AbsPerfect in Ten: PilatesPerfect in Ten: StretchPerfect in Ten: YogaPilates AnatomyPilates for BeginnersPilates for MenPositivityPower to the Peaceful YogaPower YogaPower YogaPower Yoga for HappinessPower Yoga: Core PowerPower Yoga: Fat BurnerPrenatal FlowPrescriptive StretchingPresence Through Movement: Yin YogaPsychology Moment by MomentPure and Simple YogaPure SculptPure Yoga Pilates with Kerry BestwickQi Gong Fire & Water With Matthew CohenQi Gong Flow for BeginnersQi Gong for Low Back PainQi Gong for Upper Back and Neck PainQi Gong for Weight LossQi Workout AM/PMQiGong for Healthy Joints & BonesQiGong IllustratedQuick Blast MethodReach - Upbeat Toning & Flexibility for a Dancer's BodyRed Lotus YogaResistance Stretching With Dara TorresRestorative Yoga PracticeSara Ivanhoe's Taste DVDSaving NormalSelf-CompassionSeven Challenges To Change Your Life DVDSleep BetterSolar Flow Yoga DVDSoupsSparkSpontaneous HappinessSports Hypnosis in PracticeStep By Step Strength TrainingStep by Step Tai ChiStrength & SpiritStrength, Grace, HealingStress ReliefStrong & SculptedStrong Body, Ageless BodySun SalutationsSuper Natural CookingSuper Seniors: Box, Balance, & Lift Surf Yoga SoulSybel's Yoga For Sports & FitnessSybel's Yoga For Sports & Fitness Vol 2Tai Chi for Beginners with Grandmaster William C. C. ChenTaming Your Inner BratTeach Yourself MeditationTeen YogaTeenYogi DVDTen Minutes to RelaxThe Accidental VeganThe Angelica Home KitchenThe Art and Science of MindfulnessThe Athlete's Guide to YogaThe Beginner's Guide to Healthy EatingThe Best Things You Can EatThe Booty Barre -Total New BodyThe Breathing FieldThe Cafe Brenda CookbookThe Complete Book of Raw FoodThe Complete Vegetarian HandbookThe Easy Yoga WorkbookThe Feeling Good HandbookThe Five Things We Cannot Change ...The Happiness of PursuitThe Healing Remedies SourcebookThe Healing Remedies SourcebookThe Health Psychology HandbookThe Healthy KitchenThe Heart of YogaThe Indian VegetarianThe Jewel Tree of TibetThe Joy of MeditatingThe Kettlebell BoomerThe Little Book of Healthy TeasThe Little Soy BookThe Little Yoga BookThe Mood CureThe Mozart EffectThe Myth of Freedom and the Way of MeditationThe Perfect ExerciseThe Pilates Workout JournalThe Playful BrainThe Quest for Peace, Love, and a 24'' WaistThe Spa DeckThe Stoic Art of LivingThe Way of StretchingThe Weight of the NationThe Will to Live and Other MysteriesThe Yin Yoga KitThink SmartTotal AstangaTotal Health the Chinese WayTotal PilatesTotal-Body ToningTransform Yourself with Jivamukti YogaTransformative YogaTrudie Styler's Warrior YogaV-Core WorkoutVegan ExpressVegan for LifeVegetarian Turkish CookingViva Vegan!Walk It Off in 30 DaysWalk to the HITS Radio RemixesWalkingWalking a Literary LabyrinthWatch Me Do YogaWeight Loss Cardio KickWellbeingWhat We Say MattersWhen Things Fall ApartWriting in FlowYin and Yang YogaYin Yoga DVDYogaYogaYoga & Pilates Workouts for DummiesYoga 4 TeensYoga : Beginners Flow for EveryoneYoga AnatomyYoga and PsychologyYoga as MedicineYoga Beauty BodyYoga Bliss HipsYoga Body : Lean & Defined Total Body WorkoutYoga By Teens DVDYoga Emergency DVD: Arms & ShouldersYoga Emergency DVD: BackYoga Emergency DVD: Full Leg StretchYoga Emergency DVD: HipsYoga Flow DVDYoga for AnxietyYoga for Back CareYoga for BeginnersYoga for Energy & Stress ReliefYoga for EveryoneYoga for MeditatorsYoga for OsteoporosisYoga for Pain ReliefYoga for Regular GuysYoga for Strength & EnergyYoga for Strength & FlexibilityYoga for the Young at HeartYoga for Your WeekYoga In BedYoga in BedYoga Inside Out: Go DeeperYoga Inside Out: The Healing WayYoga Journal's Yoga for StressYoga Journal: Yoga for Strength and Toning DVDYoga Link: Core IntegrationYoga Link: Hip HelpersYoga Link: Shoulder Shape-UpYoga on DemandYoga Quick FixesYoga SanctuaryYoga SculptYoga ShaktiYoga Therapy for Back PainYoga Therapy Prescriptions - 60 Health Restorative SequencesYoga To Go's Yoga Quick Fixes DVDYoga to the Rescue - Feel Good from Head to ToeYoga to the Rescue for Back PainYoga to the Rescue for Neck & ShouldersYoga to the Rescue for Pain-Free Back, Neck & ShouldersYoga Weight Loss for DummiesYoga: Freedom from Back PainYoga: Relief from Neck and Shoulder PainYoga: Spirit of Vinyasa FlowYogabodyYogawomanYou Can Think Yourself ThinYou'll See It When You Believe ItYour Body Breakthru - Your Best Body Circuit DVDYour Brain on FoodYour Miracle Brain
Related Topics

Smoking
Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management

by Jean Carper
Quill Books, 1999
Review by Pawel Kawalec, Ph.D. on Nov 2nd 2001

Your Miracle Brain This book challenges both our conception of the brain and our ways of life. Jean Carper who is the author of the best selling Miracle Cures brings to the fore a vast amount of scientific evidence to support the claim that brain is -- unlike computer hardware -- an ever-changing organ and it is never too early nor too late to help it function at its best. This is largely a self-help book that will enable you to experience yourself how minor changes in your nutrition habits can affect major changes in your memory and learning capacities, mood elevation, lowering the risk of diseases, e.g. Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or stroke, and even… rejuvenating your brain!

Carper's book acknowledges the results of the most recent scientific research on brain nutrition and translates them into the language of our everyday nutrition. More importantly, however, the practical consequences are also derived from a general picture of the brain as a "growing, changing organ". In part I Welcome to the Age of the Miracle Brain she contrasts this new understanding of the brain which is supported by scientific evidence with the older one. From the 70-ties onwards the brain was perceived in terms of information processing computer hardware -- a vision of the brain that Carper succinctly describes as "a relic of yesterday's science".

There are, however, other myths Carper challenges in her book: the brain is genetically determined and the way you live and eat cannot have a dramatic impact on it; the brain must decrease its mental capacities with age; the brain stops growing after childhood; and the brain must steadily lose cells after 20 years of age. It is possible to recant these myths, because today's science has at its disposal such techniques as computerized tomography, positron-emission tomography, magnetic resonance, or single photon emission-computed tomography which enable the scientists to control the workings of brain when it is still alive.

These techniques also made it possible to keep separate the record of the natural aging of the brain and the damage of the brain resulting from inappropriate lifestyle, nutrition or diseases. If the naturally aging brain loses cells at all, it does so only in selective areas which are not crucial for its mental capacities. The conclusion is then that "brain cells are even more sensitive than other body cells to nutrients and dietary chemicals", and therefore your diet (including supplements) and lifestyle (mental stimulation and physical exercises) can have a dramatic impact on the present and future functioning of your brain. This organ, acknowledges Carper, "is our most precious physical possession, the seat of our entire being - our intelligence, personality, or humanity, our mind, and soul". The price to pay for remaining ignorant of the most recent scientific discoveries is too high.

In one respect Carper's book is like the Gospel -- it tells you that it is never too early nor too late to start. She not only emphasizes this message throughout the book, but also gives practical advice to healthy individuals who want to optimize their own mental capacities, or of their (unborn) children, to those who want to prevent or avert the results of aging of the brain, or the results of damage caused to the brain by unhealthy habits (e.g. alcoholism) and disease, and even to those you suffer from low mood, memory problems, (maniac) depression, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia and high blood pressure.

The remaining three parts of Your Miracle Brain are concerned with which kinds of food and supplements are necessary for the brain. Part II What to Eat for a Miracle Brain Carper starts with an argument that the brain's optimal functioning fit the nutritional ingredients available at the time of its evolution, i.e. at the time preceding cultivation of soil and taming of animals, not to mention the 19th century manufacturing of food, and most recent of all - highly processed foods. The general rule is the closer our diet reminds the one of our most ancient ancestors the most optimal conditions for the brain's functioning, and the lower the risk of one of disorders so characteristic to our civilization, e.g. Alzheimer's or stroke. You should not, however, expect to find in Your Miracle Brain a prescription for a complete receipt of a healthy diet. It only examines several ingredients and supplements that you can -- and probably should -- include in your everyday diet.

The brain has the highest proportion of fat of any organ in the body (60%). Therefore, Carper's primary concern is the right kind of fat for the brain, and even more the right proportion of "healthy" fat to "unhealthy" one. It is seafood and fat fish, like mackerel, sardines, tune or herring, that are the best source of the proper building material for the neuron's membranes in the brain. Carper cites the results of numerous experiments and historical observations to support the claim that it is not only our mental capacities to depend on the right proportion of fats, but also longevity and vulnerability to depression.

The brain's main source of energy is sugar. On the one hand, to maintain the proper functioning of the brain it is important to sustain a steady level of glucose in blood; on the other hand, however, too high level of glucose will eventually lead to diabetes. Therefore, argues Carper, we need to be aware of which foods raise the level of glucose rapidly, and eat instead the kinds of food which raise the glucose level slowly as prunes and raisins, but are more appropriate to keep the level steady.

For the most part, the brain's main enemy is oxygen free radicals, the side product of the chemical reactions taking place in the brain itself. The natural antidote are antioxidants which are the next focus in Carper's book. She not only discusses numerous foods that contain daily doses of antioxidants, but also which supplements it may be necessary to include in diet. Among the latter the most important to mention is lipoic acid, sometimes described by scientists as the most perfect antioxidant, but which is only slightly present in food.

This part of the book is completed by a discussion of such popular drinks as tea, chocolate and coffee, and the influence of caffeine on the brain. The conclusions Carper draws from the scientific evidence will probably be unexpected for the reader.

In part III Brain Supplements: What to Take for a Miracle Brain a whole range of supplements is evaluated: vitamins (especially B, E and C), folic acid, lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, gingko, phosphatidylserine, choline, and selenium.

The last part of the book How to Keep Vascular Villains from Destroying Your Brain is an explanation why homocysteine, triglycerides, cholesterol and high blood pressure prove harmful to the brain. Carper, as always, has numerous remedies - starting from physical exercises, and ending up with potassium intake.

Apart from the importance of the topic, Carper's style would be sufficient to make the book a pleasure to read. Every statement she puts forward is supported by - often numerous - results of most recent scientific research and opinions of the leading experts on nutritional neuroscience and brain researchers. Moreover, it is astonishing to learn how much you can gain for your brain just by very simple alterations to nutritional habits, e.g. eating more sea fish or drinking red wine. Carper managed to pinpoint the most simple and powerful ways to change our nutritional habits, and thus improve our mental performance and way of life when we grow old. It is good to remember, however, that Your Miracle Brain is in a sense a negative book -- it does not pretend to depict a healthy conduct of life. Instead, it explains which nutritional ingredients and supplements are necessary for help your brain enable you to realize the goals you set up for yourself.

© 2001 Pawel Kawalec

Pawel Kawalec Ph.D., Faculty of Philosophy, Catholic University of Lublin, POLAND

Available from BN.com:
Your Miracle Brain: Maximize Your Brainpower, Boost Your Memory, Lift Your Mood, Improve Your IQ and Creativity, Prevent and Reverse Menta
Your Miracle Brain: Maximize Your Brainpower, Boost Your Memory, Lift Your Mood, Improve Your IQ and Creativity, Prevent and Reverse Menta