Waist Ration & Brain: Is there a connection? Legitimate explanation to the strange (seemingly unfair) claim
Are you struggling to find the motivation to eat healthy? Need more reason to keep fit? Well apparently having a good waist-hip ratio isn’t just about being attractive; it actually determines your brain function in later years as well. Research states that the bigger your waist (as compared to your hips), the smaller the ability of your brain. That’s right, if it wasn’t already a good reason to exercise and eat right: in order to avoid obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc; apparently being unfit and having a large waist circumference actually also predisposes you to brain issues such as Alzheimer’s, poor memory and even depression. And it also predisposes you to premature ageing (and looking as if you’ve prematurely aged). The ideal waist-hip ratio for beauty is around .74, which happens to also correspond with better health.
Although a claim that slim people have better brain function may sound unfair as well as a predicament that has the potential to set off yet unseen judgments, and although we must of course keep in mind body type which also predetermines body shape and curves, there is actually legitimate explanation to this strange (somewhat unfair) claim.
Dr Perlmutter, in his book “the Grain Brain” claims that waist ratio determines our brain function. Yes this is what he says, providing a clear explanation. There are two important things to take into consideration: firstly the matter of “waist”; and secondly that of “ratio”. The importance of waist as opposed to certain other parts of the body, is key. The waist is where many of our delicate organs are located. It is not an accident that the phrase refers to waist circumference and not to the overall slimness of a person.
Dr Perlmutter also claims in the same book that gluten, sugar and carbs can lead to fatal disease and damages to our brain. The food we eat and allow to digest and travel through our gut has a huge effect on the overall system of our body and especially on brain function. Just because our brain is not located in the stomach does not mean it is not affected by the stomach or the belly area.
Optimal health, therefore, comprises of the following: healthy food and healthy organs doing their job well. What we ingest is key in this equation because it has the power to dull our organs and stop our brain from functioning optimally. In order for our precious organs to function properly, they need to work to the best of their ability: free of extra weight, bacteria, inflammation etc… It’s simple really: you can walk up the stairs far easier only carrying yourself than if you had to carry your younger sister or brother with you as well. Therefore, having healthy and lean tissue around the organs is necessary for the healthy function of the organs and in also the healthy function of the brain! The waist area — including the heart, lungs, abdomen, etc have to stay lean and healthy whereas some extra pounds on our thighs or bum might not lead to anything disastrous. Hence the lean waist helping our brain function better. It is not just that lean waist is healthier because it looks nice to some… no it is because it holds all of our precious organs and we need to make a nice and habitable environment for the organs to thrive.
Secondly, about the ratio: If you are naturally a bigger person, no one expects you to have a unreasonably thin waist no matter how much you exercise and starve. You should never starve! While it is about the waist size, it is NOT ABOUT THE WAIST SIZE per se. Everything is in moderation to yourself. However, having said this, some people, especially women have bodies that are inclined to gain wait around the waist area. These women unfortunately might have to struggle more to burn that fat around the organs. I’m one of them, by the way, and while one nice repercussion is naturally bigger breasts, it also means more work to maintain the healthy waist-hip ratio. When it comes to health unfortunately, half of it is what we are born with, therefore we always have to work with what we have.
I, for example, take care to maintain a healthy ratio through what I eat and regular exercise, despite having had two kids (which definitely makes the work of maintaining a slim waist more challenging). Many answers to our weight problems come from little daily habits that our clever minds automatically disregard as problematic. For example, what one biscuit a day can do… or one unhealthy chocolate bar after a super healthy salad lunch, if taken regularly can actually work against us. Eating very fast, or snacking before lunch as well. Basically there are a lot of of little habits that one might not be able to register in themselves… Therefore, it is important to really observe how one lives, eating patterns and all the small little things one does in order to lose weight or gain weight for that matter consciously and not through vain diets.