Issue #162: The Brain Issue

Our brain controls all that we perceive, think and do, and maintaining good brain health now is important for preventing things like Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s later on. Giving your brain the nutrients it needs is sort of a balancing act, with everything in moderation, nothing in excess and a variety of nutrients ensuring that your brain is balanced and healthy in the long run. Here are some foods and recipes that will give your brain a healthy boost:

Whole grains and fiber

Fiber is important for producing the short chain fatty acids that boost protective proteins in the brain and promote neuroplasticity. Whole grains also help to promote cardiovascular health, which is important to optimize blood flow to all of the organs, particularly the brain.


Mushrooms, particularly porcini and white button, are rich in ergothioneine and glutathione, two antioxidants that have been linked with longevity. Also reducing the risk for dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease, these fungi are great to add to any meal of the day.

Get a nice daily dose of both whole grain and mushroom antioxidants with this delicious breakfast recipe for mushrooms on toast (just make sure you use whole grain country bread!)


That’s right, your favorite spreadable superfood is great for your brain. The fatty fruit lowers blood pressure and improves blood flow, improving blood flow to the brain and improving brain function. All you need is ¼-1/2 of an avocado per day to reap the benefits.

Wild salmon

The fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain function, as well as a natural anti-inflammatory. Other fatty fish that could replace salmon in the diet are sardines and herring. Wild salmon are preferable over farm-raised for environmental accountability, and the fact that they just taste better.

To get a one-two punch of salmon and avocado healthy fats that are sure to give your brain a boost, try this delicious recipe for grilled salmon with avocado salsa.

Pomegranate seeds

Pomegranates contain an arsenal of antioxidants that improve brain function and fight free radicals, preventing many of the effects of aging, including cancer. The brain is the part of the body most susceptible to damage from free radicals, so fighting them off is essential. Of course, you can always substitute pomegranate juice if eating one seed at a time is too tedious.


Blueberries are a potent superfood, as they help protect the brain from oxidative stress and help reduce the effects of age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. A cup of blueberries—whether the be fresh, dry or frozen—every day is enough to help brain function in the long term.

For a delicious, antioxidant-rich snack that can also help you beat the summer heat, try this recipe for blueberry-pomegranate popsicles.


This economical legume is great for stabilizing blood sugar, or glucose levels. Glucose if fuel for the brain, and since it can’t store any it is important to ingest this fuel on the reg. After all, how can the engine of your consciousness function without any fuel?


This flavorful kitchen staple is an anti-inflammatory, and also encourages your body’s natural house-cleaning mechanism called autophagy, which promotes brain health. Lucky for you, it’s easy to cook with and goes with just about everything.

To get the benefits of EVOO and beans in one delicious side dish, try this recipe for hearty Mediterranean lima beans.