Two Arizona chef-doctor teams publish healthy cookbooks – Recipes are packed with flavors and disease-fighting ingredients.
After decades of researching Alzheimer’s disease, geriatric neurologist Marwan Sabbagh became convinced that certain foods lower the risk of the fatal disease that affects nearly 5.4 million and is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S.
There’s no definitive cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s, but encouraging research points to a handful of brain boosters such as pomegranates, leafy greens, cinnamon, turmeric and fatty fish that can fight memory loss.
Medical evidence also suggests that simple changes in diet can reduce the risk or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and memory loss. A recent study showed that changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease begin 25 years before the onset of symptoms, another reason to start a prevention diet young.
“The research into the connection between diet and brain health is very exciting, and, for most people, the easiest way to prevent the disease is by how they eat,” said Sabbagh, research medical director of Banner Sun Health Research Institute in Arizona, a leading Alzheimer’s research institution. “The best time to start eating right for brain health is now.”
Armed with the encouraging science, Sabbagh set out to write a cookbook featuring brain-boosting foods and recipes. His first step: Find a chef willing to create the recipes. A friend introduced him to Beau MacMillan, executive chef of Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain in Paradise Valley.
At first glance, MacMillan seems an unlikely choice. He’s a chef more familiar with fois gras than kale, more concerned about flavor than nutrients.
“My first response was surprise,” MacMillan said. “You want me to write a healthy cookbook on brain health? I decided to commit to the book as a way to step out of my box.”
MacMillan stepped and stepped, creating 100 recipes with the same touches that turned him into a Food Network star. The flavors are complex, the recipes simple.