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Brain Health and Wellness Center®

Newsletter© 2012 HealthCare Insights

In This Issue
Featured Article
Excess Carbs Harm Our Brain
Brain Healthy Halloween Treats
Brainy Party Snacks for Halloween
Quick Links


Joanne Koenig Coste


Eric Reardon, Nutritionist

Senior Living Residences


Anne Beecher, Massage & Stretching


WBUR Alzheimer’s Special


Ch 5 Boston Chronicle Brain Foods


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Featured Article  

Reduce Carbs and Improve Quality of Those You Do       Eat to Save Your Brain!

Issue: # 23 October 2012
Nancy Emerson Lombardo red headshot

Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D.



 Happy Halloween!


As added incentive to improve the healthfulness of yet another sugar laden holiday, a new study from the famous Mayo Clinic in Minnesota finds that older adults average age 80, consuming the most carbohydrates (measured by calories) compared to calories from protein and fats, double or quadruple their risk developing mild cognitive impairment and dementia in as little as three years time!


See the treat and party snack articles here on brain healthy options to offer trick ‘n treaters this Halloween.


Link here to get our brand new brain healthy Apple Crisp Recipe with a low glycemic index! on our new website,


The Brain Health & Wellness Center®  WISHES YOU A BRAIN HEALTHY HALLOWEEN! 


Carbs Mayo Clinic Study Finds High Carb Consumption Doubles or Quadruples Risk of Cognitive Impairment and Dementia in Older Adults    © 2012 HCI
Whole Fruits are Brain Healthy Carbs

A leading principle of our evidence-based Memory Preservation Nutrition® program is that excess sugar and refined carbs and starches are harmful for the brain in part because they challenge our brain’s delicate insulin balance and also promote inflammation.


A new study by the Mayo Clinic published by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease forthcoming October 2012 edition, presents more evidence to that effect.  This research study examined the relative amount of macro nutrients (carbs, protein and fats) consumed by older adults in their study. The researchers found that those with the highest levels of carbohydrate consumption at baseline were of the greatest risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and dementia when tested 3 years later.
The tag line on the Mayo Clinic website is “People 70 and older who eat food high in carbohydrates have nearly four times the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, and the danger also rises with a diet heavy in sugar”

This prospective cohort (epidemiological) study specifically looked at the percent of daily energy (calories) from macronutrients consumed by a group of 937 older adults aged 70 to 89 (average age just under 80) who tested cognitively normal at baseline and then tested them every 15 months or so over an average period of 3 years to determine incident mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or full blown dementia. About 200 of the research participants developed MCI or dementia during that time period.

They concluded, “A dietary pattern with relatively high caloric intake from carbohydrates and low caloric intake from fat and proteins may increase the risk of MCI or dementia in elderly persons.”

Here are links to two good laymen’s summaries of the article.

Mayo Clinic Study finds high carb consumption gives 4 times higher risk of cognitive problems.  and  Could your love of carbs and sugar  lead to dementia?   

Another Mayo Clinic Study finding: Relatively higher consumption of fats and proteins (compared to carbs) appear to PROTECT the brain.


Note that the study did not delve into which kinds of carbs, protein or fats people consumed, but looked at the overall and relative amounts of the three macro nutrients
consumed in terms of calories. Other studies have established which kinds of fats are helpful and harmful to the brain, and which types of carbs are safer vs. which are more harmful to the brain. (see other newsletter articles featuring such studies). For example, safer carbohydrates include whole fruits and vegetables, beans and whole grains.  Many other sources of carbs such as chocolate, seeds and nuts also contain lots of fats and protein along with anti-oxidants and fiber.


Close up Fruit Corner
Fruits for a Party



  • Whole fruits & Vegetables
  • Delicious and Nutricious Sweet Potato
    Sweet Potatoes
  • Beans
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Dark Chocolate
    Chocolate Dessert Tray
    Dark Chocolate Truffles
  • Red Wine
  • Coconut


This study is an important contribution to the examination of how diet affects brain health.


My take on the study: Both proteins and fats, along with a variety of brain healthy foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, spices and whole grains, help slow down the body’s absorption of carbohydrates eaten, and thus prevent overload to our brain’s delicate insulin system, keeping blood sugar in both balance in brain and body. The human body has historically been used to consuming carbs in the form of whole foods containing other beneficial nutrients which also help slow down the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream (fiber, antioxidants, fats, etc.). These same nutrients were often also anti-inflammatory and helped keep blood pressure and cholesterol at normal levels. In modern times, we’ve refined both grains and sugars to remove all those important nutrients while continuing to consume more and more of the modern unhealthy forms of carbohydrates, together with other toxins and unhealthy ingredients contained in processed foods. At the same time we move and exercise less, sleep less, and are more stressed, all of which puts further strain on our brain and body health.


Go to Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease website for the study abstract (Vol. 32, No. 2). Relative Intake of Macronutrients Impacts Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment or Dementia

Rosebud O. Roberts, Lewis A. Roberts, Yonas E. Geda, Ruth H. Cha, V. Shane Pankratz, Helen M. O’Connor, David S. Knopman, Ronald C. Petersen (Handling Associate Editor: Francesco Panza)




Link here to earlier newsletter articles we published on these topics: July 2010 article on why sugar harms the brain  and April 2010 for description of  brain and diabetes safe  Non Sugar Natural Sweeteners and more recent issues describing how to serve brain healthy holiday meals and treats. 10 Tips for Brain Healthy Foods for the Holidays


We feel a sense of urgency in helping Americans…and people everywhere, to reduce carb consumption, but especially refined sugars and white flours and rice.


Developing recipes for brain healthy desserts is part of our contribution. Click for a guilt-less brain healthy apple crisp!


For those interested in their particular area of nutrition and brain health, consider ordering our  published book chapter giving an overview of the complex process of how nutrition affects our brain health and risk of developing cognitive problems including Alzheimer’s disease. ( Visit our store and click on publications).  You may also want to email me to request my overview article on Lifestyle and Alzheimer’s published Feb. 2012 in Sage’s Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine and Health.


See the articles here on brain healthy options to offer trick or treaters this Halloween.




TreatsYummy Brain Healthy Halloween Treats For Kids (& Adults) Coming to Your Door! 

by Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D. and CC Donelan
© 2012 HealthCare Insights 
TJs TrekMix Snackpack

Serve Kids Brain Foods, Not Brain Busters!


Halloween is fun because we get dressed up and give (and sometimes get) treats!

Instead of offering candy that hurts the brain of our kids (and ourselves when we eat the leftovers) help lead the way into a healthier future.


Give trick-or-treaters at your house this year brain foods to promote health rather than encourage unhealthy choices. Dr. Nancy has experimented over the years and discovered that out of the 100 kids coming to her door, maybe 1 or 2 will ask “where’s the candy” and seem instead delighted to have something different. And for the candy lovers she points out that “all these taste great with the rest of your ‘haul.'”


Sunsweet Ones 7 oz Tall
  • Snack packets of dried fruit (e.g. Sunsweet One’sindividually wrapped prunes are more luscious and delicious than any fruit flavored candy!)  
    • mini boxes of raisinsSunMaid Raison MiniBox
    • (100% fruit) fruit roll ups (or make your own!)  
    • nut and/or seeds or trail mixes (see Trader Joe’s for pre-packaged small packets)   TJs Almond Snackpack                                                                
    • snack veggie chips
    • Apple on Tree
      Apple on Dr. Nancy’s Tree


  • small red apples



  • if you can find it: individually wrapped real dark chocolate or dark chocolate covered almonds or nuts.

  CC Donelan adds, “Alternatively you can offer non-food items kids usually enjoy receiving such as color markers, stickers, erasers, plastic jewelry, or glow sticks.

PartySnackBrain Healthy Halloween Party Snacks: “Apple Bites” & “Brains and Chips”

by CC Donelan and Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo  (c) 2012

Apple Bites
Apple Bites for Halloween


Here are Two Fun and Easy to Make Halloween Party Treats.   

  • You can add to these any ideas inspired by the above article…fruits and nuts, fresh vegetables are all brain healthy and delicious!





1. CUT apples into quarters and carefully trim out the core.

Apple Bites with Nut Butter
Apple Bites with Nut Butter

2. Cut a wedge out of the skin side of each apple quarter to form a mouth.

3. Optional: spread peanut or almond butter into mouth

4. Press slivered almonds into the apple flesh to form teeth.

For a nut-free version, use pumpkin or squash seeds (large white ones!) and tahini or a no-sugar added fruit spread such as Polaner “all fruit”.


Photo courtesy of






Brainy Cauliflower & Guacamole
Brainy Cauliflower & Guacamole

image coutesy of

Simple & Delicious! Scoop out top part of a cauliflower and pour in guacamole. Add veggie sticks or healthy chips !

Serve with good quality corn/tortilla chips, baked whole-wheat pita chips, vegetable crudities, or other healthy whole grain or multi-grain, low sodium chip or cracker!


MPN™ Guacamole – a Brain Healthy Recipe[1]

YIELD:   4 Servings


INGREDIENTS:                                                                      AMOUNT:

Avocado, ripe 1
Lime or lemon juice ½ lemon or lime
Garlic, crushed 1 clove
Red onion, finely chopped (or substitute scallions) 1 small (or 6 scallions)
Tomato, deseeded, diced 1
Optional: Coriander or flat leaf parsley 1 TBsp
Olive oil, extra virgin 1 TBsp
Black pepper, freshly ground To taste
Green kelp powder ¼ – ½ tsp


  1. Cut the avocado in half lengthways and remove the stone.
  2. Scrape the flesh out of the shell into a bowl and quickly mash with the lime or lemon juice to prevent discoloration, add other ingredients, and mix well.

[1]Adapted by Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D. following Memory Preservation Nutrition® program from Smart Food for Smart Kids, written by Patrick Holford & Fiona McDonald Joyce ©2007.


© 2012 Nancy Emerson Lombardo Ph.D., HealthCare Insights, LLC   All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, Photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of HealthCare Insights, LLC. Direct correspondence to Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D.   978-621-1926




The Brain Health & Wellness Center®  WISHES YOU A BRAIN HEALTHY HALLOWEEN! 
Nancy is available to answer your questions via e-mail or telephone.   


Check out our store.  Many supplements and vitamins to be purchased as well as, reading materials and services from Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo!


Look for her monthly column in the South Shore Senior News!

For brain health consultations for yourself, your family, or your organization contact Nancy for further information or to book an appointment. 978-621-1926 or email at

Nancy Emerson Lombardo, PhD
HealthCare Insights, LLC
P.O. Box 2683 , Acton , MA 01720


© 2012 HCI

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