Last week I had the great fortune to hear a lecture from Dr. Paul Clayton, a Fellow of the Institute of Food, Brain and Behavior at Oxford University. He has extensively studied the effects of food as medicine for the body and conversely, how foods can poison us to cause inflammation which he says, “is the root of all disease”.  He is not alone in that understanding but he is, one of the best resources I have found in educating what the problem with our food supply is, our medical industry, government regulations on food, and how to fix it.

In his lecture, Dr. Clayton shared a number of statistics gathered from his research of over 8000 studies published in medical journals around the world.  Perhaps the most alarming statistic he shared was the massive dip in IQ points of Americans over the last 50 years – as much as 15 points.  This suggests that something is dramatically impacting brain health and that is frighting.   Our brains are the master computers of our bodies that control everything including our psychological health.

Dr. Clayton shared that foods that cause inflammation are the root of all disease.  Among these foods are the ones I tell everyone to avoid like bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, white sugar, white rice, processed foods, and dairy products as they are all inflammatory foods.  Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meats and fish that are organically farmed are the best to reduce inflammation and increase health.

Dr. Clayton shares that it is crucial to balance essential fatty acids (EFA’s), specifically, omega-3 and omega-6 EFA’s.  The majority of the food in the American diet is laden with omega-6 fatty acids that cause inflammation and thus disease.  High levels of inflammatory omega-6 fats are found in processed and poorly farmed foods.  To clarify, a processed food is a packaged, boxed, bagged or canned food that has been sent through machinery to process it down from its original fresh ingredients to form food that is quick to purchase and consume; think potato chips, pretzels, cereals, pasta, orange juice, bread, cookies, cakes, frozen dinners –  all of those are processed and usually contain two of the most harmful omega-6 producing oils around: corn oil and soybean oil.  Those two oils are making a significant contribution to diabetes, cancer, heart disease, auto immune diseases, dementia, Alzheimer’s, Bi-polar disorder, Autism and other chronic illnesses that are epidemic in the U.S.  It is this rise in omega-6 fatty acids (causing malnutrition) that are causing our IQ’s to plummet.  They are literally dumbing us down and we are seeing the results every day in our massive health care crisis.

So what do we do?  We have to get back to basics when it comes to feeding ourselves by using fresh, whole ingredients that are organically farmed.  We also have to raise the levels of omega-3 EFA’s in our diets by eating salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines, organic eggs, organic chicken & grass fed beef (grain fed beef dramatically increase omega-6 content in beef) and balance them with fresh, anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables.

Dr. Clayton’s book provided so much more information than I can possibly provide in one blog.  So look for more blogs on reducing inflammation in your body and foods you can eat to achieve this goal.

Dr. Meg Haworth, Ph.D. is a private chef to the stars in Hollywood, cookbook author, instructor at Whole Foods Markets and wellness coach. You can find her on the web at or email her at for menu plans tailored to your needs for food allergies, healing diets for specific conditions and healthy weight loss. For her cookbook, click here.