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9 Brain Superfoods…Are You Enjoying Them Daily?

9 Brain Superfoods

 

Your brain controls every function in your body yet we rarely give it a  second thought.  And, few of us choose foods that protect or heal our  brain.  Here are some of the best foods for thought (literally):

1.  Spinach—More than Just for Popeye

A study of middle-aged rats fed diets with added spinach, strawberry extract,  or vitamin E for nine months found that spinach proved most potent in protecting  nerve cells against the effects of aging in two parts of the brain.  More  research needs to be done but it looks like Popeye was building more than  muscles when he ate spinach.

2.  Benefits of Blue for Grey Matter

Blueberries contain a group of plant nutrients called  proanthocyanidins.  Proanthocyanidins have a unique capacity to protect  both the watery and fatty parts of the brain against damage from some  environmental toxins.  Proanthocyanidins decrease free radical activity  within and between brain cells.  Blueberry proanthocyanidins have greater  antioxidant properties than vitamins C and E.  Blueberries appear to have  some of the highest concentrations of these powerful antioxidants.  In  other studies, researchers found that compounds in blueberries may reverse some  age-related memory loss and motor skill decline.

Blueberries are excellent anti-inflammatory agents. They increase the amounts  of compounds called heat-shock proteins that decrease as people age, thereby  causing inflammation and damage, particularly in the brain. By eating  blueberries regularly, research shows that these heat-shock proteins stop  declining and inflammation lessens, not to mention that they just taste  fabulous.

3.  From the Vine to Your Palate

A plant nutrient found in grapes, grape juice and red wine appears to protect  the brain against Alzheimer’s disease.  It’s called resveratrol, and it is  an antioxidant thought to be responsible for many of the purported benefits of  red wine on brain cells.  The researchers found that resveratrol protected  brain cells by mopping up free radicals before they can cause brain  damage.  And while people may prefer to hear that red wine is the best  source, the alcohol in wine is still damaging to brain cells.  Red or  purple grapes are the best option to load up on resveratrol.

4-7.  Omega 3s to Maintain a Healthy Brain (Wild Salmon,  Walnuts, Flax or Hemp Seeds)

The brain is 60% fat and requires healthy fats to reduce inflammation (linked  to most brain disorders) and maintain a healthy blood-brain barrier—a mechanism  intended to protect the brain from harmful substances.  Omega 3 fatty acids  like those found in salmon, walnuts, flax seeds or flax seed oil, or hemp seeds,  help to quell inflammation and support a strong blood-brain barrier, while  boosting our memory.  Be sure to choose only wild salmon  since high levels of mercury and PCBs have been found in farmed salmon and both  of these substances may have adverse effects on the brain.  Also, be sure  to choose raw walnuts, flax or hemp seeds or the oil made from  them since the fats contained in these nuts and seeds can have damaging effects  on brain health when heated.

8.  The Memory-Boosting Power of Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain a powerful memory-boosting phytonutrient called “lycopene.”  Research shows that those who consume lycopene in their daily  diets had sharper memories than those who didn’t consume high amounts of  lycopene.  Tomatoes aren’t the only source.  Another great source of  lycopene is watermelon.

9.  Tea for Two Hemispheres

Researchers found that people who drank two or more cups of tea each day were  less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.  Black and green tea  (especially green tea) contains potent antioxidants with twenty times the power  to protect against free radicals than vitamin E.  Green tea also lowers the  risk of blood clots and clumping linked to stroke.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 14-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: 60 Seconds  to Slim, Healing Recipes, The  Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The  Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan,  and The Phytozyme Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and  subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

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Does Your Brain Need an Oil Change?

Does Your Brain Need an Oil Change?

Humans really are fat heads.  About sixty percent of the human brain is fat.  To maintain proper brain health, you need to get adequate fat from your diet.  But, not just any fat will do.  Some fats damage the brain.  The Standard American Diet (SAD) high in trans and hydrogenated fats worsens inflammation in the body, and this inflammation can damage delicate brain tissues.  These unhealthy fats are found in fried foods, shortening, lard, margarine, baked goods, and processed and prepared foods.

Healthy fats help keep the lining of brain cells flexible so that memory and other brain messages can pass easily between cells.  Both Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats are important to brain health and should be eaten in a one-to-one or two-to-one ratio to each other.  However, the average North American eats these foods in a twenty-to-one to a fifty-to-one ratio, causing a huge imbalance and resulting Omega-3 deficiency.  In this ratio, Omega-6 fats can cause or worsen inflammation, for which there is insufficient Omega-3 fats to keep inflammation under control.  The typical diet, if it contains any healthy essential fatty acids, usually includes fats found in meat and poultry, or occasionally from nuts and seeds.  Most of these fats are Omega-6 fatty acids.

Omega-6 fatty acids are found in the highest concentrations in corn, sunflower, and safflower oils.  But, you are more than what you eat.  I read somewhere that “you are what you eat eats.”  So that means if you eat a diet with meat or poultry that was fed corn, or other grains high in Omega-6s, you’re getting lots of Omega-6s indirectly.

The best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include flax seeds or oil, walnuts and walnut oil, some types of algae, krill oil, and fatty coldwater fish, particularly wild salmon.  Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of Omega-3 fatty acid, makes up a large part of the lining of brain cells, helps to keep the cellular lining flexible enough to allow memory messages to pass between cells, promotes nerve transmission throughout the central nervous system, and protects the energy centers of the cells, called “mitochondria,” from damage.

Fish that contain high amounts of this Omega-3 fatty acid include mackerel, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon, lake trout, and herring.  But be aware, some of these fish have become contaminated with mercury and, as you just learned in chapter two, some research links mercury to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.  So, it is important to avoid fish that consistently shows up high on the mercury radar, including predatory fish like swordfish and shark, as well as sea bass, northern pike, tuna, walleye, and largemouth bass.  Salmon raised in fish farms also frequently shows up with high amounts of mercury, not to mention that farmed salmon often contains antibiotic residues and lower levels of the important Omega-3 fatty acids.

Adapted with permission from The Brain Wash by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.  Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook.

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, PhD, is an international best-selling and seven-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, The Phytozyme Cure and HealthSmart News. Learn more at www.DrMichelleCook.com.

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