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In the scheme of things, your brain is one of your greatest treasures. Learn to take care of it! Feed it what it needs. This post from the archives will fill you in of brain nutrition basics. And, by the way, you won't miss a beat on flavor! Brain healthy foods include some delicious favorites. I recommend making them part of your repertoire, and weaving them into your day on a regular basis.
A flood of new and surprising research is emerging about the role that plants play in brain health. For example, a study on the MIND diet — a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets — published online in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association — concluded that people who eat more dark, leafy greens at least once a day have substantially slower cognitive decline with age than those who eat the Standard American Diet (SAD).Bingo!
Here I am on my soapbox again, talking to you about the importance of plants — for a reason! Whether it’s cancer, longevity, brain health or heart health, you’re going to find that the optimal diet has a lot of the color green in it. Why?
Dark, cruciferous vegetables contain a tremendous amount of B vitamins, vitamin K and folate — especially folate, which is specifically linked with better mental functioning and, as we get older, the prevention of dementia.
Free radicals are a normal by-product of the body's metabolism of oxygen. In moderation they serve positive functions, such as helping the immune system fight off disease. But too many free radicals can wreak havoc in cells, starting a chain reaction called oxidation, implicated in the spread of cancer, the effects of aging (wrinkles and cell death), cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s.
How do plants help? Imagine looking at your living room and seeing dust bunnies clustered under cabinets and chairs. It happens to the best of us! We accumulate them just from living. In a similar way, we accumulate free radicals in our brains, just from being out in the world. Here’s where cruciferous vegetables come to our aid! They act like vacuum cleaners, sucking up the free radicals, those trouble-makers! It’s all about taking care of your beautiful brain.
Type in “food and brain” into the National Library of Medicine’s encyclopedic database and you come up with over 32,000 peer-reviewed studies — nearly half published in the past 10 years. And we’ve only just begun to grasp how food influences the brain, changing not only how we think, but how we feel, learn, respond to stress, improve our memories, and even how we breath.
It’s SO easy to incorporate plants into your world, and it’s not the LEAST bit boring!
Here are some stand-out, brain-healthy options from my Recipe Box.
Coconut Ginger Lime Kale - Brain food that is seriously YUM! The coconut provides good, lovely fat, that the body knows how to metabolize, and totally blankets the kale, masking its bitterness. And the lime! Mmmmm.
Clean Green Soup - New in the Recipe Box! - a blended soup that’s so lusciously green, you’ll swear you’re eating emeralds :)
Shrimp-Stuffed Avocados 2.0. Avocados are loaded with fiber and good fat and shrimp is super high in B12.
Minted Guacamole with Pomegranate Seeds. Avocado at its most creamy delicious, plus mint, a star among brain-power herbs!
More everyday ideas:
I think of it as a game… How many veggies can I possibly incorporate? In fact, that’s how I build my recipes.
Watch my short videos and get really smart about the brain and healthy brain foods!