Remember the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz? Here was a fellow whose cognitive function wasn’t quite where it needed to be. He joined Dorothy on her journey to visit the wizard in hopes that something magical could be done to get his brain function back.
Unfortunately, even in this day and age, when cognitive function begins to decline, you almost have to hope for something magical to occur. There’s absolutely nothing in the pharmaceutical arena that can reverse the situation when the brain begins to fail.
That said, there are a lot of things that aren’t going to be written on a prescription pad but that are validated by scientific research that you should consider from both the perspective of maintaining and preserving brain function and helping restore memory and other parameters of brain activity.
We are all at risk for brain degeneration. Statistics show that if you live to age 85 or older, your risk for Alzheimer’s, for example, is 50%. So clearly it makes sense to do everything you possibly can to nurture a healthy brain.
Your food choices may be the most influential variable you can control that relates to the health, vitality, and functionality of your precious brain.
1. Olive oil
Rich in polyphenols, which are powerful brain protective antioxidants.
2. Coconut oil
Enhances the ability of the brain’s neurons to use energy while at the same time reducing the production of damaging free radicals.
Provides saturated fat — a vital nutrient for the integrity and function of brain cell membranes.
3. Wild salmon
A terrific natural source of the omega-3 oil DHA. DHA plays a pivotal role in maintaining the health of brain cells and actually helps to stimulate the growth of brain cells in the brain’s memory center.
Power-packed with brain-protective antioxidants. Blueberries also help to reduce inflammation, a cornerstone of virtually all brain degenerative disorders.
Acts to turn on the parts of our DNA that help reduce inflammation. The important role of turmeric in brain health has been described in the Vedic texts dating back more than 3,000 years.
Rich in choline, the precursor chemical for acetylcholine, one of the most fundamental neurotransmitters. In addition, eggs contain cholesterol, an important component of brain cell membranes as well as serving as a brain-protective antioxidant.
7. Dandelion greens
Rich in prebiotic fiber, the specific type of fiber that helps nurture the growth of brain supportive gut bacteria.
Rich in a variety of nutrients to support brain health including vitamin E, omega-3 fats, copper, manganese, and fiber for brain supportive gut bacteria.
I had to put it on the list. Call it a “food for the soul” if you wish. Aerobic exercise turns on the genes that make BDNF (a growth and protective hormone) that targets brain cells.
Rich in prebiotic fiber to support brain-healthy gut bacteria. Asparagus is high in anti-inflammatory nutrients and folate.
A traditional Korean fermented dish that’s loaded with healthful probiotic bacteria, which promotes brain health.
One of the best sources of prebiotic fiber. Jicama, also known as Mexican yam, is high in vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin E.
A great low-carb vegetable that’s rich in vitamins C, K, and A, as well as potassium and iron.
High in sulfurophane, a chemical that aids in detoxification, reduction of inflammation, and control of damaging free radicals.
High in monounsaturated fats to protect brain cells. Avocado oil has been shown to help maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
16. Red wine
Rich in polyphenols that may actually boost brain blood flow.
17. Dark chocolate
Like red wine, also rich in polyphenols.
Rich in brain-protective antioxidants along with vitamin K, folate, and lutein.
Like fatty fish, almonds have high levels of brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and lots of brain-protecting vitamin E.
20. Pumpkin seeds
A rich source of zinc, a mineral that plays an important role in memory and overall brain function.