Did you know your brain controls every single function of your body? Did you know the purpose of eating is to ultimately feed the brain? Regular consumption of healthy brain foods reduces our risks of disease by maintaining a healthy immune system.
The typical American diet is laden with unhealthy trans fats, sugars, processed foods, preservatives, artificial flavors, artificial colors, antibiotics, pesticides and growth hormones. With all these “ingredients” in our so called “food,” it is of no surprise a myriad of diseases caused by nutrient deficiencies are at an all-time high and vitamin supplement sales are soaring.
Many young adults & athletes in pursuit of sculpting the perfect body often times turn towards nutrition and protein powders as well as sports drinks to ensure they are getting the nutrients their bodies need. Often times these products are riddled with dangerous fillers, hormones, and chemicals that can cause liver, kidney and heart damage with long term daily consumption. Unfortunately, many of these well meaning folks don’t realize the dangers hidden in these “power” products.
The most important thing one can do for their body is EAT – chew, swallow, stimulate, digest, and absorb real food. So, consume nutrient-rich Brain Foods first and consult with a doctor trained in functional nutrition for additional necessary support to ensure a safe and profoundly healthy brain and body.
The most natural form of any nutrient is found in nature’s goodness— real food. The synergistic effects found only in the whole food’s natural state provides us with the most bioavailable forms of their nutrients. While taking supplements to boost our deficiencies is important, isolating these nutrients in the forms of powders, pills, and even essential oils can be risky business.
A nutrient rich diet complete with organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains & legumes, as well as organic lean meats are the best way to ensure safe nutrient balance in our bodies. However, a completely organic diet could be cost-prohibitive for many American individuals and families. I encourage patients to choose first the organic foods they really like and eat regularly, and then if cost is an issue reach for non-GMO, natural or free range for the foods they eat less often. By doing this, you limit the amount of harmful “ingredients” and remove many of the overly processed and packaged foods completely.
Incorporating foods for brain health into your diet isn’t hard. Just keep these 5 simple principles in mind:
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. In general, the more colorful the better.
- Use a wide variety of herbs and spices to make your meals delicious and brain healthy.
- Buy wild salmon and grass-fed meat when available.
- Use coconut oil wherever you normally use vegetable oil.
- Eat nuts and seeds as brain food snacks. But most of all, eat chocolate!
SUPER BRAIN FOODS
Blueberries (fresh or frozen): contain anthyocyanins known to improve memory, learning, reasoning skills, decision making, verbal comprehension, and numerical ability avocado; help maintain communication between brain cells by stimulating the production of BDNF(brain derived neurotic factor) a protein that stimulates cell growth.
Avocado: boosts the neurotransmitter dopamine to help keep your brain focused.
Green Leafy Vegetables: contain folic acid, Vit B6 & Vit B12 work synergistically to reduce brain atrophy, improve brain function, and dramatically reduce brain shrinkage in the part of the brain most affected by Alzheimer’s. Also contains L-Tyrosine which works synergistically to reduce brain atrophy, improve brain function, and dramatically reduce brain shrinkage in the part of the brain most affected by Alzheimer’s. They also contain Vit K, also thought to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Peppers (hot & bell peppers): high in vitamin C, antioxidants, and phytonutrients such as beta carotene and capsaicin which improves circulation to the brain.
Root Vegetables: high in fiber and complex carbohydrates that are good at supplying your brain with a steady stream of energy.
Rosemary: has significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to fight free radical damage in the brain. It also contains Carsonic acid, a phytonutrient particularly good for protecting the brain from a stroke and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Other herbs good for supporting your brain are: basil, chives, oregano, parsley, sage, and thyme.
Turmeric: a potent antioxidant that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier that improves memory, increases BDNF production in the brain, reduces brain inflammation, can break up the brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s.
Nuts and Seeds like walnuts, chocolate, almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, and chia seeds: contain brain-essential omega-3 fatty acids, B complex vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium.
Chocolate (70% Cacao or more): contains flavinoids thought to reduce the risk of dementia. Also contains caffeine & theobromine contribute to the improved memory, focus, and attention that chocolate lovers experience.
Salmon (wild-caught only), Grass-fed beef and meats: contain amino acids and high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which aid in reducing inflammation.
Coconut Oil: contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which enable it to supply energy directly to the brain with no insulin spike making it a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders.