After struggling with an unknown illness, I learned as much as I could about health and wellness. Some of the most interesting information I found was that there is a specific link between our brain health and diet. How was it possible that at 36 years old I started to get brain fog, memory loss and severe depression/anxiety? It all started at the same time as numerous other symptoms, which eventually I found out was all connected to my Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth, Histamine Intolerance and stress.
The book which had a big impact on me was 'Genius Foods' by Max Lugavere. After his mother was diagnosed with a mysterious form of dementia, Max put his career on hold to learn everything he could about the workings of the human brain and his mothers condition. For the better half of a decade, he consumed the most up-to-date scientific research, talked to dozens of scientists and clinicians around the world, and visited the country very best neurology departments. Lugavere uncovers the stunning link between our dietary and lifestyle choices and our brain heath.
We think we are eating healthy, but are we really? Growing up I'm sure many of us didn't really know what was in our food. Organic produce? Grass-fed beef? hormone-free? anti-biotic free? all of that wasn't even in my vocabulary or ever mentioned. I wouldn't have thought twice about these things growing up. Shouldn't our food...just be food? As time goes by it seems more people are becoming overweight, sick and tired. Many of us are on a toxic overload and don't even realize it.
In Genius foods Max Lugavere writes, “Unfortunately, the totality of my mother’s—and in all likelihood, your family’s—concept of ‘diet’ at the time was the end result of misguided nutrition science, biased government policy, and business doing what it does best—cost-cutting, lobbying, and marketing. And it was total bullshit.”
This quote strikes me too, “For as long as modern medicine had existed, doctors believed that the anatomy of the brain was fixed at maturity. The potential to change—whether for a person born with a learning disability, a victim of brain injury, a dementia sufferer, or simply someone looking to improve how their brain worked—was considered an impossibility.” Lugarvere explains that adults can generate new brain cells, and the secrets to ensuring lifelong health come from taking care of this essential organ. This can be done in a variety of ways from exercise to stress management, and while Lugavere touches on all of these, his clear goal in “Genius Foods” is to focus on the specific link between brain health and diet.
Today I wanted to share with you 6 Genius Foods
Genius food #1: Dark Chocolate. Decadently rich in cocoa flavanols (a type of polyphenol), dark chocolate has been shown to reverse signs of cognitive aging and improve blood flow to the brain. Not only that, it will instantly boost your mood and increase the neurotransmitter, serotonin.
Pro-tip: Consume one 85% dark chocolate bar a week (preferably organic and fair trade certified.)
Genius food #2: Avocados. They are a phenomenal superfood go-to and have the highest total fat-protecting capacity of any fruit or veggie. Your brain is the fattiest organ in the body which makes a high dose of healthy monounsaturated fats like avocados a beautiful pairing for the best brain waves.
Genius food #3: Almonds. This is the ultimate superfood snack! They are a famously rich source of polyphenols and the fat-soluble antioxidant, Vitamin E, which supports neuroplasticity.
Genius food #4: Blueberries. Blueberries are abundant in antioxidants. These are brimming with flavonoids – a class of polyphenols found throughout other “Genius foods” such as extra virgin olive oil. This was the only fruit I was eating when I began my wellness journey! They are amazing in coconut flour blueberry muffins.
Genius food #5: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) became an every day essential for me! It's the only oil I use for cooking or salad dressings. Olive oil contains a compound called oleocanthal, a type of phenol that has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Not all oil is created equal, so ensure you buy the highest quality brands and look for darker bottles that protect its delicate compounds.
Genius food #6: Dark Leafy Greens. These veggies are your brain’s best friend. Tender greens such as cabbage, kale, and arugula are ripe with folate, magnesium, and fiber which feeds the gut’s microbiome. They are great sauteed with ghee or olive oil and sea salt! These are on the Clean 15!
These are just a few Genius Foods, I highly recommend you read this amazing book Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life, which includes a full Genius Plan, shopping list, and everyday hacks to fix your fatigue and help you feel great again!