Synthesizing the cognitive science behind memory, sleep, stress, and addiction, Canyon Ranch’s 30 Days to a Better Brain is the definitive guide to caring for your brain during all stages of your life. Dr. Carmona and the experts at America’s leading wellness center guide you through the anatomy of the aging brain, how stress and toxins affect your mind, and the importance of sleep, laying out a thirty-day nutrition, exercise, and medical plan to help you achieve optimal brain health. You’ll also find answers to all your questions, including how your health is affecting your brain, what foods to eat and what to avoid, whether or not supplements are necessary, what important medical tests to ask your doctor about, and how best to challenge your brain. Also included are techniques for practicing mindfulness, meditation, and spiritual contemplation.
The immense benefits of this thirty-day program include better memory, mood, and sleep; faster, sharper thinking; more energy; quicker reflexes; safer driving; improved attention span; and much more. Combining the best of traditional and alternative therapies, behavioral science, and exercise physiology, this indispensable guide from “one of the finest Surgeon Generals in our nation’s history” (New York Times bestselling author Dean Ornish) will help you maintain and enhance a strong, agile mind so that your body does not outlive your brain.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Canyon Ranch 30 Days to a Better Brain
Most people realize how precious their health is only when they are on the precipice of death. Usually it happens in a doctor’s office or in an emergency room. But I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be this way, and I’ve dedicated my life to passing on this message.
I’m eighty-five years old, and I still work hard, feel good, and honestly enjoy life. But for my first fifty years I had a health profile I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I was an asthmatic child who was told not to exercise. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure by the time I was twenty. By age twenty-four I suffered from duodenal ulcers, and by my mid-thirties I had diverticulitis and a hiatal hernia. In my forties my doctor told me I was starting to get osteoarthritis.
When my father died, I was nearing fifty, and besides all of my other health concerns, my weight was out of control. I asked my wife, Enid, to book me into a “fat farm,” where I planned on staying for a week to help get my life back on track. That week turned into a month, and to this day I credit it with saving my life.
Within the first ten days, I had a remarkable transformation: I became the athlete I always dreamed of being, jogging at a rate that put me at the top of my age group. After three weeks, I begged Enid to come join me. “I’ve found what I want to do with the rest of my life,” I told her. “We have to share this.”
My miraculous reversal of health is the idea from which Canyon Ranch was born. Enid and I built our Tucson resort in 1978 as a place where we could live the healthy lives we wanted, and where we could share what we’d found with anyone who cared to come to us. The same philosophy that enabled me to change my life can help you change yours.
Today, more than thirty years and three properties later, people still think of Canyon Ranch as the ultimate health resort experience—a spa or retreat where they can get away from the stresses of life. The truth is, the services we offer are so much more than what most of our first-time guests ever imagine. Every year, thousands of people come to our Canyon Ranch locations for many different, highly personal reasons. Some come to recharge themselves in our extraordinary natural settings; others travel to improve their health or focus on their diet or get back into an exercise routine. Yet the reasons that bring them to us really aren’t important. What we concentrate on are the advances guests can make while they are here, because we know that what we offer can effect changes that will last a lifetime.
Everyone who works with us at Canyon Ranch is intensely passionate about what they do. Together, we’ve created a wellness revolution based on a preventive, integrative approach. All of our practitioners teach a singular message: you can participate actively in your health and well-being, reaping the rewards now and for years to come. Our job is to figure out where each guest needs to make a change, using an extensive list of modalities ranging from traditional medicine to alternative healing, and every aspect of lifestyle enhancement. This is especially effective when it comes to maximizing the brain’s potential.
We’ve created this exciting new book in order to let you experience right in your own home everything that Canyon Ranch has to offer. Your journey to better brain health begins with embracing the Canyon Ranch philosophy, which is based on four spheres of well-being:
• The Physical: Am I taking care of my body?
• The Mental: Am I actively engaged in learning?
• The Emotional: Am I working toward balance?
• The Spiritual: Am I connected to something outside myself?
I’m so pleased that you’ve begun your journey to better brain health with us. Over the next thirty days you’ll see for yourself how all these seemingly disparate ideas fit together in order for you to become the very best that you can be. You’ll learn that by just making small changes to your lifestyle you can improve your mood, memory, and cognition, as well as your overall health. And hopefully, we will inspire you to recognize the power of possibility in your own life.
MEL ZUCKERMAN, COFOUNDER OF CANYON RANCH
Table of Contents
Foreword Mel Zucherman ix
Authors Note xiii
Part 1 The Factors That Affect Brain Health
Chapter 1 How the Brain Works 9
Chapter 2 Your Current Health Affects Your Brain 29
Chapter 3 Improve Mood and Memory by Decreasing Stress 49
Chapter 4 A Toxic Environment Affects Your Thinking 64
Chapter 5 Sleep Provides Brainpower 84
Part 2 30 Days at the Ranch
Chapter 6 The 30-Day Eating Plan-Maximizing Brain Function through Nutrition 115
Chapter 7 The 30-Day Brain Health Workouts 155
Chapter 8 30 Days of Meditation, Mindfulness, and Spiritual Contemplation 179
Part 3 Beyond Traditional Therapies
Chapter 9 Important Medical Testing 209
Chapter 10 Select Complementary Therapies 218
Chapter 11 Challenge Your Brain 229
Chapter 12 Brain Health Recipes 246
Chapter 13 Select Supplement Options 266
Chapter 14 A Perfect Day of Brain Health 277
Resources and Suggested Reading 285