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Startalk Radio / – The GutBrain Connection with Max Lugavere

Startalk Radio – The Gut-Brain Connection with Max Lugavere

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In this episode of Startalk Radio, health and wellness journalist Max Lugavere explores the fascinating connection between the food we eat, our bodies, and their effect on our minds. Max shares his extensive research on nutrition and brain health, discussing the impact of different foods on cognitive function and disease prevention.

Main Takeaways

The Gut-Brain Connection

  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are now the UK’s number one cause of death.
  • Dementia often begins in the brain decades before the first symptom.
  • French fries can be made healthily with an air fryer or healthier oil.
  • McDonald’s fries use ultra-processed refined bleached and deodorized seed oils which can generate nasty compounds.
  • Unsaturated fats like avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil are healthier choices for making french fries.

Genius Foods for Brain Health

  • Avocados are an incredible brain food because of their abundance of fat-protecting antioxidants and carotenoids.
  • Egg yolks contain a little bit of everything required to grow and sustain a healthy brain, including cholesterol.
  • Caviar provides a form of DHA fat, which is one of the most important fats for brain health.
  • Plant-based diets may not provide enough DHA fat as men are poor at converting plant-based forms of omega-3s.

The Role of Diet in Mental Health

  • Nutritional psychiatry is a growing field studying the role of diet in mental health.
  • Randomized control trials show that food can be used as medicine for mental health.
  • A Mediterranean Whole Foods dietary pattern can improve mental health symptoms.
  • Food and lifestyle should be a frontline defense for mental health issues.

Obesity, Inflammation, and Weight Loss

  • Obesity is largely an environmental problem, with genetic contributions.
  • Ultra-processed foods are highly calorie-dense, minimally satiating, and make up 73% of the standard American food supply.
  • Being overweight and obese drives inflammation, which damages the brain and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Opting for foods higher in protein can support weight loss efforts and prevent frailty.

Ancestral Eating and Personalized Nutrition

  • Returning to ancestral ways of eating can help with junk food consumption.
  • Personalized nutrition is the solution to address diets, but it is socio-economic and distant.
  • Our ancestors were skinny because they had to chase their food and expend energy to eat.
  • We need to start forming teams to work together to stay active and healthy.


The Gut-Brain Connection and Brain-Boosting Foods

Max Lugavere, a health and wellness journalist, delves into the gut-brain connection and the impact of nutrition on brain health. He highlights the importance of choosing healthier options for making french fries and emphasizes the brain-boosting properties of foods like avocados, egg yolks, and caviar. Max also discusses the limitations of plant-based diets in providing essential fats for brain health.

The Role of Diet in Mental Health and Weight Loss

Max explores the emerging field of nutritional psychiatry, showcasing how food can be used as medicine for mental health issues. He emphasizes the benefits of a Mediterranean Whole Foods dietary pattern and the importance of food and lifestyle choices in supporting mental well-being. Additionally, Max discusses the environmental factors contributing to obesity, the detrimental effects of ultra-processed foods, and the role of protein-rich foods in weight loss efforts.

Ancestral Eating and Personalized Nutrition

Max advocates for a return to ancestral ways of eating to combat the overconsumption of junk food. He highlights the potential of personalized nutrition to address individual dietary needs but acknowledges the challenges in implementing this approach on a socio-economic level. Max emphasizes the importance of staying active and forming teams to support each other in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


Max Lugavere’s exploration of the gut-brain connection, brain-boosting foods, and the impact of diet on mental health and weight loss offers valuable insights for improving overall well-being. By making informed food choices and adopting a more ancestral approach to eating, individuals can optimize brain health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Startalk Radio continues to provide valuable information on nutrition and health, empowering listeners to take control of their well-being.

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