Brain Foods

In summer I posted two book reviews about the brain (Keep Sharp by Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Amen’s Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. I promised you information from these two books about food for the brain. But I also came across some other good sources, so during September I will post these additional sources and their information and perhaps see what overlaps, so you can choose the best of the best foods for your brain, especially the parts that involve memory and mental health.

 

The first additional source is an ebook about Alzheimer’s from The Science of Prevention called the Top 10 Brain Health Foods (www.scienceofprevention.com).

  1. Wild Caught Salmon: Salmon is rich in healthy fats called omega-3 fatty acids. These include fats like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that help protect your brain by reducing inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been associated with decreased risk of depression and cognitive impairment….. Salmon also contains selenium, antioxidants, and potassium, making this fatty fish even better for brain health.” (Highlights are mine.)
  2. *Blueberries: These little berries contain antioxidants (flavonoids) that help to reduce age-related degenerative issues in the brain. (They also taste good!)
  3. Leafy Green Vegetables: These nutrient-dense veggies contain brain-healthy nutrients by reducing inflammation in the bowel lining. Inflammation does not allow the brain to work at its optimum level, so adding cabbage, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts are good veggies choices. These same foods are good to protect against cancer and heart disease and help with detoxification.)
  4. Avocado: The folate in avocados help make neurotransmitters that lead to cellular detoxification. Also, high levels of lutein (a dietary carotenoid: photoprotective agents preventing the harmful photodynamic reaction, and as accessory light-harvesting pigments, extending the spectral range over which light drives photosynthesis.) Also, good monounsaturated fat that facilitates healthy blood flow to the brain and the rest of the body.)
  5. Fermented Foods: Foods such as kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut contain enzymes and probiotics involved with digestion and gut health. With their high levels of probiotic bacteria they may help with mood and cognition while restoring good bacteria in the gut as well as benefit mental health and possibly improved immune function.
  6. Prebiotic Foods:Foods such as hickory root, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic and onions are fiber rich and act as food for good gut bacteria. This “brain fuel” also helps reduce inflammation.
  7. Nuts: The brain-boosting power of nuts comes from the brain-healthy fats and protein in nuts. Nuts also boost and protect the brain. Some nuts, like almonds lower blood sugar and reduce inflammation in type 2 diabetes (a key risk factor for Alzheimer’s).Note: This is only an excerpt, so go to the website for Bibliography and additional info.*P.S. When I reviewed the Paleo Harvest cookbook by Nicole Bond, I posted her blueberry muffin recipe. I hope to repost that soon.

ZOOM Cooking Class: Friday, June 18th @ 10:30 am (est) EAT a RAINBOW

ZOOM with a BOOM LINK:

Friday, June 18th @ 10:30 am Eat a Rainbow

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89407280194 Meeting ID: 894 0728 0194

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Photo from the Internet

Notes for Class:

 

Eat a Rainbow: Cooking with Color

Key Words from the Internet

Antioxidants: Substances that protects cells from the damage caused by free radicals (unstable molecules made by the process of oxidation during normal metabolism). Free radicals may play a part in cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other diseases of aging. (https:.//www.cancer.gov)

Caretenoids: Any of a class of mainly yellow, orange, or red fat-soluble pigments, including carotene, which give color to plant parts such as ripe tomatoes and autumn leaves. They are terpenoids based on a structure having the formula C40H. (Definition from Oxford Languages: https://languages.oup.com)

Chlorophyll: A green pigment, present in all green plants and in cyanobacteria, responsible for the absorption of light to provide energy for photosynthesis. Its molecule contains a magnesium atom held in a porphyrin ring. (Definition from Oxford Languages: https://languages.oup.com)

Nutraceuticals: The term “nutraceutical” is used to describe medicinally or nutritionally functional foods. Nutraceuticals, which have also been called medical foods, designer foods, phytochemicals, functional foods and nutritional supplements, include such everyday products as “bio” yoghurts and fortified breakfast cereals, as well as vitamins, herbal remedies and even genetically modified foods and supplements. (Definition from Oxford Languages: https://languages.oup.com)

Phytochemicals: Chemical compounds produced by plants, generally to help them resist fungi, bacteria and plant virus infections, and also consumption by insects and other animals. The name comes from Greek φυτόν (phyton) ‘plant’. Some phytochemicals have been used as poisons and others as traditional medicine.

Mother Earth loves color! What could be more attractive to birds, bees, butterflies, and other pollinators than bright red berries, purple grapes, orange pumpkins, and all the other colorful fruits and vegetables (as well as flowers)? If you are familiar with the concept of eating a rainbow, then you may know that the different colors (sometimes hidden under the dark green of chlorophyll) of fresh foods contain nutrients that your body will love and thrive on, especially when the foods are organic, in season, and eaten fresh or lightly cooked.

In The Color Code book by James Joseph, Ph.D., Daniel Nadeau, M.D., and Anne Underwood, the authors design a healthy eating plan based on red foods, orange/yellow foods, blue/purple foods, and of course green foods. They write about nutrients in these foods that they call “pigment power.” These are nutrients over and above their basic vitamins and minerals, and of course important enzymes when uncooked or only lightly cooked.

The phytochemicals in plants are purported to promote health in a number of ways: as antioxidants, as anti-inflammatories, and as boosters to the body’s natural detoxification system. The different colors of foods have protective pigments, according to the Color Code information, so by eating from the rainbow, you are able to garner a full range of these “power pigments.”

Cooking with color becomes a feast not only for your palate, but also for your eyes, which draws people to these colorful dishes, if only to try for the first time. And the phytochemicals that help the plant survive are also beneficial to humans. In addition, if you can, buy organic fruits and veggies, using the Dirty Dozen and Green 15 from the Environmental Working Group as your guide. (www.ewg.org) (See list Below)

In the cooking class on Friday, I will be making a Rainbow Fruit Salad, a Rainbow Garden Salad, and a Berry Nice Green Salad. I checked out the level of acid/alkalinity, which we covered in the May Zoom cooking class, and deliberately chose those foods that are high or medium alkalinity. I used The Acid-Alkaline Food Guide by Dr. Susan E. Brown and Larry Trivieri, Jr. and the list from the Environmental Working Group below:

Here are the 2021 Dirty Dozen: 

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale/Collard/Mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Peaches
  9. Pears
  10. Bell and hot peppers
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

Here are the items on the Clean 15: 

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Onions
  5. Papayas
  6. Frozen sweet peas
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Broccoli
  10. Cabbage
  11. Kiwifruit
  12. Cauliflower
  13. Mushrooms
  14. Honeydew
  15. Cantaloupe

Hope you can join us on ZOOM on Friday, June 18th from 10:30 am-about noon (est)

I will post the recipes after the class, but in the meantime, here’s a link to a recipe and information I posted in 2008:

A Berry Buffet: https://www.menupause.info/its-the-berries-june-2008/

Special Notes: Last month’s class focused on eating more alkalizing foods and less acidic foods to represent our cells being more alkaline than acid. The foods I chose for the recipes on Friday are almost all medium to high alkalinity. They are not main dishes, so if you eat acidic foods, such as meat, dairy, grains and beans, the recipes here will help you balance the acid foods with the alkalizing foods. Also, naturally white foods veggies, such as cauliflower, are healthful, even though white is not a color, per se, on the rainbow.

What is white on the rainbow spectrum? Some consider white to be a color, because white light comprises all hues on the visible light spectrum. And many do consider black to be a color, because you combine other pigments to create it on paper. But in a technical sense, black and white are not colors, they’re shades. (www.adobe.com)

 

White foods are not technically part of the rainbow spectrum, but white foods (naturally grown, not bleached) are also part of a healthy diet.