Brain Foods Made Easy
|In general, a Mediterranean-style diet is recommended:|
fruits and vegetables
2 whole eggs per day
fish twice per week
|Egg yolks are by far the superior source for choline, a B vitamin absolutely necessary to neurotransmission and brain function.|
Fish is recommended both for the balanced omega-3 to -6 fatty acid ratio, and for the fatty compound phosphatidylserine (PS), important for proper brain cell function.
|The listed produce are especially high in antioxidants and/or B vitamins and/or have anti-inflammatory properties (we don't want an inflamed brain)(seriously).|
|Seeds and nuts and legumes:|
raw sunflower seeds
|Lentils and raw sunflower seeds are good sources for B vitamins.|
Walnuts have healthy fatty acids.
coffee, 1 cup/day
|One cup of coffee per day has been shown to protect the blood-brain barrier.|
Tea and red wine contain antioxidants.
|Garlic is known to have memory-protective effects.|
Rosemary has been called the memory herb because it has a number of protective effects for the brain.
Turmeric, an ingredient in curry, has strong anti-inflammatory effects and inhibits the build up of amyloid plaques in the brain, which are associated with Alzheimer's.
|Liver, chicken, and snapper are recommended for their high B vitamin content and cocoa for its antioxidants.|
|In general, avoid all:|
processed, packaged foods
|Because the following four listed items are unavoidable in pre-prepared and restaurant foods.|
And you can't trust food labels on trans fats, as manufacturers are allowed to display zero for trans fat as long as the actual amount isn't greater than .50 grams per serving.
|ALL trans fat||There is no "safe" level of trans fats. Used by the body in cell walls, they create rigid membranes and the cells can't function properly.|
|vegetable oils||The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 is way off, hindering the body's ability to metabolize fats.|
|sugar, especially High Fructose Corn Syrup||Sugar spikes are bad for the brain, which prefers a slow, steady supply of glucose for fuel.|
Mice fed HFCS showed impaired learning and memory retention.
|MSG, aspartame, hydrolyzed vegetable protein and other excitotoxins||Excitotoxins are believed to react with brain cells in such a way that the cells are either damaged or destroyed.|
Lipogen's newsletter doesn't stress that these recommended foods be of the HIGHEST QUALITY, and in my opinion, that's a huge oversight. I would add the following:
Fish - because of issues with mercury, don't rely on tuna too much. Try to get a diversity of the different fish, and without preservatives added. According to Lipogen, canned fish is ok. But because of the ongoing concerns about the quality of imported fish, try to eat fish local to your area whenever possible.
Eggs - mass-produced eggs from sickly chickens who never see daylight do not compare nutritionally (or in flavor) to the eggs from healthy free-range chickens. If you're eating eggs for your health, eat eggs of high nutritional value.
Grains - soaking whole grains before cooking greatly adds to their nutritional value and digestibility.
Nuts and Seeds - also benefit from soaking first for the same reason as with grains.
Olive Oil - go for the least refined olive oil you can find, here's some criteria to help. The diet of the Mediterranean did not include the cheap overly-refined olive oils available en masse now.
Dairy - commercial production techniques rob milk of it's nutrients, here's an overview. Look for raw milk or naturally cultured milk products, like cheese, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, and crème fraîche.
Produce - upping your intake of fresh produce can up your intake of herbacides and pesticides, so go for organically grown when it matters.
Cocoa - eating cocoa while avoiding sugar, is a tough proposition. Look for cocoa products with natural sweeteners or make your own Healthy Chocolate.
Calf's Liver - Why Lipogen makes the distinction of "calf's" liver, they don't say, but calf's liver is very expensive, IF you can find it, and creates an ethical dilemma. Perhaps they suggest it because it's supposed to taste milder than adult cow liver. Or perhaps because there's controversy over the quality of a liver from an unhealthy adult animal having lived in an over-crowded filthy feedlot and been fed an unnatural diet, perhaps damaging their liver. And I agree. I don't eat sickly animals. Liver from healthy adult cows suffices for me and this is easily available wherever organically-raised, pasture-fed meats are sold.
If you start feeding your brain with "brain foods", your overall health will improve as cells throughout your body are given a chance to purge toxins, eliminate inferior materials and rebuild with proper materials. When you've eliminated the processed and restaurant foods, you'll be amazed how good you feel!
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