There have been thousands of studies testing the effects of certain foods on heart disease, blood pressure, and cancer. While we certainly need a healthy body to live, we also need a healthy brain. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is now the 6th leading cause of death in America. And while deaths from heart disease decreased by 11% from 2000 to 2015, deaths from Alzheimer’s increased by 123%. Currently, 1 in 3 seniors dies with some form of dementia. Brain health has become one of the top health issues of the day.
While many things have changed in the past 50 to 100 years, the most important change impacting health has been the change in food. So far, the evidence is clear on one point – sugar is a brain killer and flour is metabolized like sugar. The single biggest thing you can do to protect your brain is to eliminate or drastically reduce the flour and sugar in your diet. Eating a low-carb diet can help protect your brain and eliminate brain fog. If you’re interested in learning more about the overall health and weight loss benefits of a low carb diet, check out this FREE book offer.
It’s time to look at food differently. Instead of just thinking about how food tastes or if it will make us fat. We also need to consider how food affects our brain. Eating the right foods can not only improve brain health but also reverse memory loss and improve thinking.
Here are nine foods that good for the brain:
1. Coconut Oil
The main fuel your brain uses for energy is glucose. However, your brain can also run on other types of fuel, such as ketones, or ketoacids. These substances are produced by your body when fat is converted into energy, and have been shown to prevent brain cell death.12
Coconut oil contains around 66% medium/chain triglycerides (MCTs), which travel directly to your liver, where your body naturally converts them into ketones. Your liver then releases the ketones into your bloodstream so they can be transported to your brain.
A recent study showed that coconut oil improves cognitive ability in Alzheimer’s patients, making it useful for both the prevention and treatment of brain health issues.13
Blueberries are rich in a number of brain-boosting antioxidants. They are rich in gallic acid, which protects our brains from degeneration and stress, and polyphenols, which combat cognitive decline.
A study on the memory of healthy elderly individuals showed that a polyphenol-rich grape and blueberry extract improved age-related memory decline in those with the highest cognitive impairments.14
Another study suggested that school-aged children’s memory skills can also get better when they are given flavonoid-rich blueberry remedies.15Flavonoids from blueberries have been associated with slower rates of cognitive decline in older adults, too, as well as improved neurocognitive function, lower symptoms of depression and better glucose control.16,17
Berries are one of my favorite foods because they are low in sugar and low-carb, making them a great option for diabetics and those dealing with Candida or SIBO. I keep a bag of frozen organic berries on hand at all times for adding to smoothies. Fresh berries are also a great snack all on their own!
Turmeric is a yellow spice used in curries and other traditional Indian dishes. It is anti-inflammatory and rich in the antioxidant compound curcumin.
Curcumin is a neuroprotective agent that is capable of crossing your blood-brain barrier, as well as inhibiting and breaking up the destructive beta amyloids that can accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.18 It can also boost memory and stimulate new cell growth in the brain.19
Turmeric root only contains 2 – 5% curcuminoids by weight and curcumin is notoriously NOT bioavailable. Your body may struggle to absorb enough of the active curcumin compound from culinary turmeric alone since you typically only use the spice in very small amounts.
Because of this, I also recommend taking a curcumin supplement for its ability to support a healthy immune response and its brain-boosting effects.
Adding celery to a juice is easy and adds a slightly salty flavor. I also like to enjoy celery sticks with homemade dips.
Both broccoli and cauliflower are good sources of choline, a B vitamin known for its ability to support brain development. However, broccoli is also anti-inflammatory thanks to its high levels of flavonoids and other phytonutrients, which support your body’s detoxification pathways.
Studies on choline indicate its ability to improve learning and memory, boost cognitive function and prevent age-related memory decline by supporting cells in an area of the brain called the hippocampus.21
Clean Greens™ contains organic broccoli sprout powder and organic sunflower lecithin, both of which are good sources of choline.
6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Real extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is a true brain food. It’s also one of the reasons why a Mediterranean diet is recommended for optimum brain health. The oil helps combat amyloid-beta derived diffusible lignans (ADDLs), the proteins that induce Alzheimer’s and are toxic to the brain.22
Unfortunately, many olive oil products on the shelf are not 100% olive oil. They are cut with lesser quality oils such as canola and colza oils, so be sure to buy from trustworthy sources, and look for a Non-GMO Project and/or Certified Organic label.
EVOO contains polyphenols and antioxidants such as Vitamin E, which boost learning and memory and are capable of helping reverse age- and disease-related changes in the brain.23
The best way to add more olive oil into your daily routine is to use it to make a salad dressing or drizzle it into warm soups. That way, you can preserve the heat-sensitive antioxidants.
7. Leafy Greens
New research is telling us that daily servings of greens such as kale, Swiss chard and romaine lettuce can help keep dementia at bay. The study revealed that when adults eat just one serving of leafy green vegetablesonce or twice per day, they experience slower mental deterioration, even when they have a family history of dementia.24
Greens are also naturally high in magnesium, which relaxes the nervous system and calms the mind.
8. Fatty Fish
The human brain is 60% fat, and around 50% of that fat is composed of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which is negatively linked to dementia.25 Certain cold water fish, including salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, and tuna, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA, and four 4-oz servings of fatty fish per week should provide optimal levels of omega-3 oil for your body and brain.
You might have rightful concerns about sourcing fish that is free of heavy metals. Heavy metals have been linked to significant damage to your brain.26 This is why I recommend looking for a high-potency omega-3 supplement for brain health that is completely free of these contaminants. The one I carry in my store has been 5-star certified by the International Fish Oil Standards Program (IFOS), the absolute highest attainable ranking for quality, purity, and freshness. You can also find a list of the Environmental Defense Fund’s best and worst seafood choices for health on its website.
9. Grass-Fed Meat
As you may know, I was a vegetarian for over twenty years. However, after I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, I radically changed my diet because I realized that I was missing out on some key nutrients that can only be found in animal products, particularly B12.
That’s why if you are interested in optimizing your brain health, I cannot stress enough the importance of having a good quality source of animal protein in your diet. People with B12 deficiency are more likely to score lower on cognitive tests and have a smaller brain volume than those with optimal B12 levels.27
Red meat such as grass-fed beef is an excellent source of this important vitamin, so be sure to add at least three servings per week to your brain-boosting diet. The Myers Way® emphasizes a range of high-quality grass-fed and pasture-raised meats to help you maintain optimal levels of B12 and other brain-supportive nutrients.
The incidence of brain dementia has increased significantly over the past 50 years largely due to changes in diet. We need to not only choose foods that are healthy for our bodies, but also foods that are healthy for our brains. The following 9 foods can improve brain health, thinking and even reverse memory loss. Please consider adding these foods into your diet on a regular basis: coconut oil, blueberries, turmeric, celery, broccoli, olive oil, leafy greens, fatty fish, and grass-fed meat.
All of these brain foods are part of a low-carb diet. The ketogenic diet is one of the most effective low-carb diets and has been shown to improve brain function. At the time of writing this post, we are giving away free copies of the Body Reboot book to help people lose weight and get healthy! Just cover the small cost of shipping, and we’ll send a FREE copy to your door. Go over to this page to see if copies are still available!