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June 19, 2012

Food As Medicine

Are You Forgetting to Protect Your Brain?

No one ever thinks about the brain.

You can see your hair and your skin, and when you start losing your hair, or your skin develops a rash or any other problem, it immediately catches your attention. When you gain or lose weight, it is evidenced by the fat or lack thereof on your body.

But, when the brain begins to deteriorate, it is not always clear and it is often too late to take action once symptoms present themselves. Dr. Daniel Amen, physician, psychiatrist, and bestselling author, states that “Alzheimer’s disease begins 30-50 years before there are any symptoms.” (That should catch your attention. It caught mine when I first heard it.)

How you think is directly related to how you eat

We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” But have you ever considered that what you eat directly affects that way you think and thus, the decisions you make every day which will consequently affect the course of your life?

Dr. Amen also states that “you lose about 85,000 neurons per day and your lifestyle and behaviour either accelerate that process or decelerate it.”

Brain Protection

  1. Daily Movement: Moving your body increases blood flow to the brain and helps it to remain nourished.
  2. Control your blood sugar levels: The brain weighs 2% of your body weight and uses up 20% of your blood sugar. Thus, the brain needs a regular flow of energy or else we experience symptoms like fatigue, headaches, poor concentration, dizziness, short temper, anxiety, insomnia, and cravings.
  3. Never stop learning: Studies show that regular brain stimulation prevents the brain from degenerating and protects you from many neurological disorders. 1
  4. Eat berries: Berries contain potent antioxidants that protect the brain from free radical damage. Free radicals damage brain tissue and speed up brain degeneration.
  5. Eat fish and take fish oils: The brain is 60% fat. Fish oils contain the best fats (omega-3) for building the brain. Specifically, DHA makes up a large portion of that fat and is an especially important omega-3.
  6. Ensure adequate protein intake: Proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids. When you digest proteins you break them down into single amino acids which are then converted into brain neurotransmitters. If you have a protein deficiency, you will have a neurotransmitter deficiency. Most people need about 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. 2
  7. Consume brain-boosting phospholipids: Phospholipids such as phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylserine (PS) have been shown to improve memory, slow down brain degeneration, and prevent dementia to name a few. The best source of PC is non-GMO soy lecithin. PS can be found in supplemental form.

These 7 simple brain-protecting tips will not only afford you benefit in the long-term, but you will notice benefits right away. Clients have mentioned “side-effects” of feeling happier, improved memory, more energy, less headaches, and just a general feeling of well-being.

– Josh


  2.  Holford, Patrick. New Optimum Nutrition For The Mind. Basic Health Publications Inc. 2009