While research into Alzheimer’s disease has failed to turn up any useful or working “cures”, we do know that the disease begins to develop a full 20 years before symptoms occur. As we approach middle-age, many things begin to slow down, as aches and pains appear. Worrying about our memory is the last thing we need.
Can healing our brain be as simple as changing our diet? YES! What all of that Alzheimer’s disease research HAS shown is that brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease, are almost entirely preventable. So, with that said, it’s never too soon to begin boosting your memory and healing your brain. Whether you’re 8 years old or 80 years old, everyone should be including brain healthy foods in their daily diet. Here is a list of the top 20: (1,2,3,4,5,6,7)
- Avocado – Known to protect the body from high blood pressure, avocados are high in healthy monounsaturated fats. These creamy fruits are also high in vitamin K and folate, which help prevent blood clots in the brain
- Eggs – Eggs are high in choline, a precursor to an important neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Eggs also contain cholesterol, which is a fundamental component of brain cell membranes.
- Coconut oil – Provides the brain with essential saturated fats, needed for brain cell nutrition and function. It also enhances the brain’s ability to use energy.
- Dark Chocolate – Are you surprised by this one? Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also high in polyphenols which boost blood flow in the brain.
- Pumpkin seeds – Rich in zinc, magnesium, copper and iron, pumpkin seeds boost memory, reduce brain fog, as well as improve nerve signaling and brain function.
- Kale – Yes, you knew this had to make one of my lists. While I tried to avoid putting it on this list, it turns out this powerful leafy green was on almost every list of brain foods I found in my research. Why? It is a low carb veggie that is rich in potassium, iron, along with vitamins C, K and A, all needed for a healthy brain.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This was another food on several lists. EVOO is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, known to improve memory and learning, as well as reverse age-related brain disease. It is known to help fight off the toxic proteins that lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Sea vegetables – These foods, mostly neglected by those of us who live in the west, are among the healthiest foods on the planet. Sea vegetables contain all 56 minerals essential for human health in a readily bioavailable form (6). They are a rich source of iodine. They are also high in tyrosine, a precursor to dopamine. It turns out they contain taurine, an amino acid that stimulates the release of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid).
- Fermented foods – When your gut is healthy, your brain is healthy. Fermented foods help build a healthy microbiome and digestive tract. Science now sees the the digestive tract and microbiome as the “second brain”. Studies show that a dysfunctional digestive system is the root cause for many brain disorders including: ADHD, anxiety, autism, depression, carb cravings, memory loss, concentration problems, and chronic inflammation of the brain.
- Exercise – Known as “food for the soul”, exercise turns on genes that make Brain-derived neurotrophic factor that targets brain cells.
- All 10 anti-inflammatory foods from this list. Last week I posted a list of 10 anti-inflammatory foods. It turns out, these same foods are on almost all brain food lists, according to my research and for good reason. Inflammation is the key to disease in the brain. Many of the toxic proteins that develop in Alzheimer’s disease develop when the brain tries to protect itself from out of control chronic inflammation. Most of the following foods turned up on one or more of the “brain foods” lists during my research.
- green leafy vegetables
- green tea
- nuts (mainly walnuts and almonds)
- wild caught salmon
- bone broth
Again and again, my research turns up irrefutable evidence that simply eliminating toxic refined foods and turning to a whole food diet goes a long way toward a healthy brain and a healthy life. That really is what a brain healthy diet is all about: eliminating what causes inflammation and cell death, while feeding the brain foods to heal and grow.
Until next time…Namaste my friends