This Brain Parasite Is Manipulating You -- And You Probably Don't Know (2/2)

On the last article, I wrote a bit about the foodborne parasite Toxoplasma and why it could be responsible for the mental disease and death of millons of individuals.

But before we go in depth, I'm happy to do a recap for the newcomers: 

  • Toxoplasma is a foodborne parasite (like salmonella) that tackles brain health.
  • It's benign, as long as you have a well-built immune system.
  • However, this is not the case for many Americans: over 1 in 4 adults have been already infected & coincidentally 1 in 5 have a mental issue (such as deppression, schizophrenia, bipolarity, for instance).
  • This is not your run-of-the-mill parasite, this fellow could also manipulate and turn us into risk-loving machines - because it creates dopamine from scratch & releases it into the brain -, exposing us to many dangerous situations on purpose like excessive drinking, traffic & work accidents and self-harm.
  • Specially with Schizophrenia, over 50 studies back up a direct association between the parasite & the illness.

Not only can fully-grown humans get infected, but 'newly acquired T. gondii (ref. Toxoplasma) infection in a pregnant woman can be transmitted to the fetus and may cause mental retardation, blindness, epilepsy, and death'.

Given that toxoplasma is known to manipulate the behavior of their hosts, this means that - if unaddressed - it could be passed down by generations and harm people's health. 

This is a serious issue - as a foodborne illness, it's extremely associated with lifestyle choices, such as diet. And the sad thing is that the brain cysts formed by Toxoplasma cannot be treated with antiparasitic drugs yet, according to Dr. Greger.

So, what's left for us? Prevention. Which is the main focus of this article. 

I'll list you a few suggestions that I picked up from Dr. Greger's videos on Toxoplasmosis. 

  • Eating raw/undercooked meat exposes people to the virus (since it's a foodborne parasite that hides within the muscles of the meat). It's most commonly found in pigs, poultry, sheep & goats. You or your flexitarian friends would say "well, I don't undercook meat"...However 1 in 3 Americans cook meat at an incorrect temperature & even a slice of ham contains over a thousand parasites -- this fact obviously is overlooked by the farming industry's security standards.
  • A lot of people have knowledge of the cat connection with Toxoplasma. For those who don't know, cats typically shed the parasite in their feces, but in-door cats (those that don't eat mice) are the most commonly known to have this parasite within their stools.
  • As a brain parasite, it promotes cognitive decline as we age. The way this happens is by sucking up folate from our brains. Folate is a B-vitamin needed to create DNA material, turn carbs into energy and even white & red blood cells in the bone marrow. So get loaded up on folates if you would like to keep it at bay even when you get old. And just to make sure your immune system keeps itself together, B12 supplements are recommended by Dr. Greger himself.

Folates are very rich in beans & greens like lentils and spinach, plus other compounds like lysine, which help with cognition, learning & memory. 

Just as a reminder, this parasite is dormant within you, it's benign, but you can prevent it from triggering by eating more of these foods. 

Since cooking is also a problem for a third of Americans, we decided to do the cooking for you and provide you a better meal than fast food, made out of plants and whole foods. And we include lentils and spinach in our meal plans. 

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