Protect Brain Health Naturally with These 7 Foods!
Adding the right foods to your diet to protect brain health will keep you sharp for decades to come. DIET is critical to overall health and this is particularly true when it comes to the most complex organ in your body.
The Standard American Diet (commonly referred to as the Western diet) has deteriorated badly in the past forty years. Fake foods from manufacturers are packed with sugar, simple carbohydrates, and chemicals you can’t pronounce (in the name of convenience).
At the same time, the mainstream medical community decided that fat was a wicked, wicked substance that needed to be purged from your plate entirely. Suddenly, eggs and butter were “bad for you” while highly inflammatory margarine and hydrogenated oils were all the rage.
- Supposed “experts” said this new way of eating would help with heart disease but cardiovascular disease remains the #1 killer in the world – particularly in countries that have adopted our over-processed way of eating. In 2016 alone, heart disease claimed 17.9 million lives (31% of all deaths globally).1
- These same people were certain it would help with controlling weight but two-thirds of the population of the United States is considered overweight or obese and diabetes is considered a global health threat.2
Our health is wildly out of control in many areas. We might be living longer but our quality of life is degrading. This isn’t an opinion. Scientific studies have proven it time and time again. Here are some quotes from publications around the world…
“America's health crisis is the result of greedy corporations and their reckless practices. The US life expectancy is slipping further and further behind other high-income countries.” CNN3
“Lifespan is increasing while health span – the number of years of life lived free of serious disease – seems to be decreasing.” Psychology Today4
“Americans’ health is declining and millions of middle-age workers face the prospect of shorter, and less active, retirements than their parents enjoyed.” Bloomberg5
Unfortunately, a large portion of the American population eats poorly, maintains a sedentary lifestyle, and practices damaging lifestyle habits that are taking a toll on every cell in your body. Other high-income countries that live like we do are in the same boat.
Your brain is paying the price.6 The World Health Organization reports that 50 million currently live with dementia and the numbers are rising rapidly.7
A study published in the medical journal Cerebrum stated, “Diet is one of the most important targets for lifestyle modification to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Many people still blindly follow the Standard American Diet, or SAD. According to the US Government, about 75 percent of all Americans do not consume an adequate amount of vegetables and fruits, while most exceed the recommended amount of sugars, saturated fats, sodium, and calories. Studies show that rejecting SAD may be critical in the fight against AD.”8
To protect brain health, you need to incorporate a few powerful foods that offer excellent fuel. Yes, you can go the supplement route (and many do) but your body may or may not absorb them depending on quality and delivery system.
Your body always knows what to do with food!
The Mayo Clinic reported, “Supplements aren't intended to substitute for food. They can't replicate all the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Whole foods offer three main benefits over dietary supplements: greater nutrition, essential fiber, and protective substances.”9
7 Natural Foods to Protect Brain Health
- Beets increase overall blood flow to the brain due to their content of natural nitrates. These compounds are converted to nitric oxide by your body, which helps keep the blood vessels open and supple, carrying nutrients and oxygen, that keep your cognition in peak shape.
- Reishi mushrooms are packed with triterpenes (antihistamine and anti-inflammatory) and polysaccharides (blood sugar and blood pressure stabilizers). Alzheimer’s disease is often referred to as type 3 diabetes due to the inability of the brain to process glucose. They’re also naturally anti-viral and have shown great promise in the treatment of migraines.
- Walnuts are packed with tons of pro-brain compounds such as vitamin E, omega-3 essential fatty acids, folate, and melatonin. They improve blood flow to the brain, boost the delivery of oxygen and crucial nutrients, and even improve mood.
They’re have so many nutrients that while they boost memory and mental clarity, they’re also protecting your heart, helping you maintain a healthy weight, lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, raising HDL (good) cholesterol, and easing inflammation.
- Garlic is magnificent to protect brain health. As you age, the portions of your brain that deal with general cognition begin to shrink. Blood flow isn’t as efficient, free radicals cause damage at the cellular level, and inflammation leads to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Garlic is naturally anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, antioxidant, and abundant in S-allyl cysteine – which protects you against age-related decline caused by a compound called beta amyloid peptide that destroys neurons and leads to a loss of cognition. Dozens of studies have also found that garlic boosts immunity and protects the heart.
- Sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), sardines are the answer to a shot of brainpower when you need it most. These fatty acids improve communication in your brain because they get deep in the membrane of nerve cells and ramp up mental clarity. They’re environmentally sustainable, readily available, and inexpensive.
- Turmeric is absolutely incredible! Curcumin is the active ingredient in this distinctive spice native to Indian and Asian cuisine. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory, naturally boosts the antioxidant ability of your own body, shows amazing benefits in the fight against cancer cells (by inhibiting their access to fresh blood supplies), lowers your risk of heart disease, and had similar effectiveness as the pharmaceutical drug Prozac in human trials for depression.
Curcumin crosses the blood-brain barrier to destroy the plaque that builds up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. It has also shown promise in boosting your production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a growth hormone that is necessary to cognition and the creation of new neurons. Patients diagnosed with neurodegenerative diseases are often deficient in this hormone.
- Dark chocolate (cacao) is delicious, luxurious, and good for you! High-cacao content chocolate is naturally anti-inflammatory, improves blood flow in the brain, boosts cognitive abilities such as learning and memory, and stimulated measurable improvement in elderly people diagnosed with dementia.
Dark chocolate’s resveratrol content has been linked to lower blood pressure, a reduced risk of stroke by as much as 27%, and improve mood. Research shows that dark chocolate more effectively satisfies cravings for sweet or salty foods and helps you feel fuller faster. For a quick mental pick-me-up, the caffeine and theobromine in dark chocolate help clear the fog.
Adding the right foods to your diet does more than protect your brain. Every other cell in your body benefits from a plate packed with real, whole foods and abundant nutrition and other lifestyle or health changes you make.
Scientists around the world agree that DIET is the key to enjoying a long life of youthful cognition. It’s never too late to add some brain-friendly foods to your eating plan!
1 World Health Organization: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)
2 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Obesity and Overweight
3 CNN: America's health is declining - and corporations are stoking this crisis
4 Psychology Today: The Rise - and Fall? - of American Health
5 Bloomberg: Americans Are Retiring Later, Dying Sooner and Sicker In-Between
6 AARP: New Study Shows More Links Between Diet and Brain Health
7 World Health Organization: 10 facts on dementia
8 Cerebrum: The Four Pillars of Alzheimer’s Prevention
9 Mayo Clinic: Supplements: Nutrition in a pill?