“’Change Your Brain, Change Your Body’ is a marvelous book. . . . Highly readable and hard to put down, it is packed with insight, information, and practical tools for the care of both adults and children.” – Michael Gurian, author of 'The Wonder of Girls' and 'The Wonder of Boys'
In this review, we will take a closer look at widely acclaimed book ‘Change Your Brain, Change Your Body’ by Dr. Daniel Amen who explores the fascinating connections between our brain health and physical well-being.
Highly regarded as an expert in the field of psychiatry and mental health, Dr. Amen brings his wealth of knowledge and expertise to this insightful and practical guide. ‘Change Your Brain, Change Your Body’ offers a unique perspective on optimising our health by understanding and nurturing our brains.
Dr. Daniel Amen is a highly renowned psychiatrist, recognised as the most popular psychiatrist in America by The Washington Post. He is known as an influential expert and advocate for mental health, earning the title of the web’s most influential expert and advocate on mental health by Sharecare.com.
Dr. Amen holds a medical degree from Oral Roberts University School of Medicine and is a double board-certified psychiatrist. He has authored multiple New York Times bestselling books, including ‘Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,’ ‘Healing ADD,’ ‘Change Your Brain, Change Your Body,’ and ‘The Daniel Plan.’
Dr. Amen is also a founder of Amen Clinics which possesses the world’s largest database of brain scans related to behaviour, comprising over 125,000 SPECT scans from patients in 111 countries.
What is the book about?
‘Change Your Brain, Change Your Body’ is a book that explores mind-body connections and how our brain can affect our health. Dr. Amen utilises brain imaging techniques to identify areas of the brain that may not be functioning optimally. He argues that by targeting and addressing these suboptimal brain functions, we can maximise our health and improve various aspects of our lives.
The book highlights the importance of a healthy brain in achieving and maintaining an ideal weight, improving skin condition, boosting the immune system, enhancing memory, increasing willpower, managing cravings, improving sexual desire and performance, lowering blood pressure, preventing depression, and deriving more pleasure from life’s experiences.
Throughout the book, Dr. Amen presents a comprehensive plan for improving health and boosting brain function. He covers various approaches such as hormonal therapy, exercise, diet (including brain food), and more. The book includes action steps and tracking journals to help readers implement positive changes. Dr. Amen addresses a range of conditions, including chronic stress, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, brain trauma, and sleep deprivation.
The main message of the book is that we have to stop seeking quick fixes and superficial solutions instead of addressing the root causes of health issues. For instance, when you that your skin is dry, you shouldn’t apply the moisturiser and forget about the problem, but instead, ask yourself whether your nutrition is balanced or maybe you have some deficiencies that cause this dryness.
Key takeaways from ‘Change Your Brain, Change Your Body’
1Use your brain to calm down cravings
Cravings can be a culprit of our difficulties when trying to achieve a dream body.
The author confesses to his struggle with cravings, particularly for sweet foods. He reflects on their family history with candy-making and emotional eating.
Dr. Amen emphasises the importance of understanding the brain’s circuitry of control and the role of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, GABA, and endorphins in cravings and willpower. The prefrontal cortex, basal ganglia, and emotional memory centres are identified as brain areas involved in craving and willpower.
The author provides tips for regaining control over cravings by strengthening the prefrontal cortex by addressing underlying issues, getting adequate sleep, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, exercising, practising meditation, and setting clear goals.
2Load up on healthy fats to improve brain health
The book dispels myths and misconceptions about dietary fat, emphasising the importance of including healthy fats in our diets. Fatty acids are essential for nerve cell function and myelin protection. Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically, are highlighted for their positive effects on emotional balance, memory, and brain health.
On the contrary, Dr. Amen warns readers about the risks of consuming excessive amounts of saturated and trans fats, which contribute to heart disease and cognitive impairments. High-fat diets can have a negative impact on memory, energy levels, and brain chemistry, which can lead to overeating and binge-eating disorders.
3‘Rest your brain for a slimmer shape’
Dr. Amen highlights the connection between sleep deprivation and weight gain. He presents findings from various studies that show how insufficient sleep leads to increased consumption of simple carbohydrates, higher calorie intake, and a preference for sugary junk foods.
Lower leptin levels and higher ghrelin levels (hormones that regulate appetite) are associated with shorter sleep duration, leading to increased hunger and reduced feelings of fullness. Dr. Amen also gives an example of a study where women who consistently got at least seven and a half hours of sleep per night experienced weight loss without significant changes in their diets or exercise routines.
Thus, if you are stuck in the middle of your weight loss journey and have tried everything and the weight is not moving, maybe you do not sleep enough. Reflect on your sleeping schedule and patterns to find the root of the problem.
Table of contents
- PART ONE: BRAIN BASICS
- Introduction: The Missing Link
- Boost Your Brain to Get and Keep the Body You Have Always Wanted
- 1. The Brain-Body SolutionTen Basic Principles to Change Your Brain and Your Body
- PART TWO: CHANGE YOUR BRAIN, CHANGE YOUR WEIGHT
- 2. The Craving SolutionUse Your Brain to Increase Your Willpower and Calm the Urges That Prevent You From Achieving Your Goals
- 3. The Weight SolutionUse Your Brain to Achieve Your Optimal Weight
- 4. The Nutrition SolutionFeed Your Brain to Look and Feel Younger
- 5. The Exercise SolutionExercise Your Body to Strengthen Your Brain
- PART THREE: CHANGE YOUR BRAIN, BEAUTIFY AND STRENGTHEN YOUR BODY
- 6. The Skin Solution
- Brain Signals to Soothe and Smooth Your Skin
- 7. The Hormone SolutionBalance Your Hormones to Turn Back the Clock
- 8. The Heart SolutionUse Your Brain to Strengthen and Soothe Your Heart
- 9. The Focus and Energy SolutionBoost Your Energy to Stay on Track Toward Your Goals
- PART FOUR: CHANGE YOUR BRAIN, INCREASE LOVE AND VITALITY
- 10. The Sleep SolutionRest Your Brain for a Slimmer Shape and Smoother Skin
- 11. The Stress SolutionRelax Your Brain to Reduce Your Wrinkles and Improve Your Immune System
- 12. The Memory SolutionRemember What You Need to Do Every Day
- 13. The ANT SolutionThink Your Way to Being Thinner, Younger, and Happier
- 14. The Passion SolutionMake Love to Recharge Your Brain and Body
- 15. The Brain Health SolutionTreat Brain Disorders to Protect Against Physical Illnesses
- 16. Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, Change Other People’s Bodies How Your Brain Influences the Physical and Mental Health of Others
- APPENDIX A: 15 IMPORTANT NUMBERS I NEED TO KNOW
- APPENDIX B: AMEN CLINICS ABBREVIATED BRAIN SYSTEMS QUESTIONNAIRE
- APPENDIX C: THE SUPPLEMENT SOLUTION
- NOTE ON REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING
Overall rating & strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews
The subject matter is presented in an easy-to-understand manner, making complex concepts accessible to readers.
The book offers practical advice that can be applied in daily life, resulting in improved health outcomes.
The author’s tone is emphatic, he does not criticise individuals for neglecting their well-being but instead recognises the challenges they face (including his own) and offers ways to overcome them.
Claims that supplements can cure brain injuries are seen as unrealistic and misleading.
The book doesn’t present many new or revealing ideas, making it less engaging for some readers.
Best quotes from ‘Change Your Brain, Change Your Body’
“Your brain is the organ of your personality, character, and intelligence and is heavily involved in making you who you are.”
“Most people throughout the world, not just in Newport Beach, care more about their faces, their boobs, their bellies, their butts, and their abs than they do their brains. But it is your brain that is the key to having the face, the breasts, the belly, the butt, the abs, and the overall health you have always wanted; and it is brain dysfunction, in large part, that ruins our bodies and causes premature aging.”
‘Change Your Brain, Change Your Body’ by Dr. Daniel Amen is a remarkable book that offers valuable insights and practical tools for improving both our brain health and physical well-being. The book provides practical advice that can be implemented in daily life, resulting in improved health outcomes.
Overall, ‘Change Your Brain, Change Your Body’ is a must-read for those seeking to enhance their well-being by understanding and nurturing the intricate connections between the brain and the body.
Where to buy
You may purchase ‘Change Your Brain, Change Your Body’ on Amazon at the best price. It is available in Kindle, audio, paperback and hardcover versions, so you are free to choose the format that suits you best.
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