5 Brain Foods: Promote Cognitive Wellness with Medicinal Foods

By Vickie Gelardi, Medicinal Food Consultant and Heather Green

Central to a holistic health practice is the message that healthy food is at the center of improving your overall wellness. You are what you eat, literally! Because we, at Lotus Blossom Clinic, practice functional medicine, we know all too well the amazing benefits certain foods can offer. And problems with cognitive impairment are no exception!

We’ve all felt it – occasional brain fog, the afternoon slump, becoming a bit forgetful here and there. Food can play a large part in remedying how we feel and how the brain functions.  The research shows that nutritious wholesome food can even have a positive effect on serious conditions like Alzheimer’s, other forms of dementia, or cognitive decline. Food is more than just for enjoyment or keeping us full; it also can be used as medicine to give us hope for even dire health conditions.

The gut and the brain are tightly connected through a communication tower called the vagus nerve. What happens in the gut affects the brain and vice versa. Important hormones and neurotransmitters are created in the gut and enter the brain through the blood. They aid in processing information and help us maintain clarity. Giving our bodies whole, nutritious foods helps us take care of both the gut and the brain, keeping both healthy and balanced.

If you would like to optimize your own brain health, you don’t have to overhaul your diet all at once. In fact, beginning to incorporate brain-healthy foods before you might start to see any signs of cognitive decline is the best plan of action. There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by this task. No matter how you have been eating in the past, slowly adding these foods into your diet can have wonderful long-term effects. Here are 5 foods that go a long way to help enhance our brain health:

1. Green, Leafy Vegetables

Spinach, kale, microgreens, chard–there are so many to choose from! And when you opt for a salad or some extra roughage on your sandwich, you are also giving your body a heaping handful of neuroprotective nutrients that actually help your brain to function more efficiently. When you eat leafy greens, you make your brain happy by supplying it with brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate, B vitamins, beta carotene, and more.

2. Blueberries

A handful of organic blueberries in a smoothie or in some Greek yogurt is the same as getting a little army ready to go to battle against free radicals and toxins that negatively affect your brain. Blueberries are one food high in antioxidants which help prevent inflammation. Your brain will function more efficiently by lowering inflammation. Blueberries also contain flavenoids, the natural plant pigments that give berries their brilliant hues and also improve memory.

3. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish, such as wild caught salmon, are an abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids.  DHA is an Omega-3 fatty acid that can be found in certain wild fish and can also be obtained in a supplement. The healthy unsaturated fats found in omega-3 lower the blood levels of beta-amyloid. Amyloid plaque is visible in Alzheimer’s patients and is a response to an insult on the brain such as free radicals and toxins. This is a major reason to eat wholesome nutritious foods, thus avoiding those free radicals.  (Note: For those who do not eat fish, consuming sea algae such as spirulina or astaxanthin are also sources of DHA.

4. Turmeric

Turmeric is that yellowish-orange spice used in cooking and is the main ingredient in curry powder.  Turmeric has a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefit.  The research has shown turmeric also lessens the symptoms of depression in Alzheimer’s.  If using turmeric in supplement form, I recommend Turmeric Forte with fenugreek which carries the turmeric through the brain barrier to reduce inflammation in the brain. Use the fresh root in cooking or in your smoothie. Adding black pepper will help turmeric absorb into your body.

5. Walnuts

Nuts are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats. Studies show that walnuts in particular might also improve memory. A significant amount of the brain, possibly up to 70%, is made of fat. It’s the fattiest organ in the human body, and these fats are crucial for brain performance. Good fats are good for the brain, and many oils are also toxic to the brain. For more on this, read Brain Diseases and the Oils You Eat.

You want to keep a healthy brain. You want to have good cognition, mental clarity, and intelligence throughout your whole life. Eating foods with healthy fats and antioxidants like avocado, salmon, berries, chia seeds and raw-caught salmon–or perhaps EPA/DHA supplements–will enhance brain function and protect brain cells.

If you are interested in learning more about which specific foods can enhance your health, consider booking an appointment here at the Lotus Blossom Clinic with Vickie by calling 239-277-1399.

Related Articles:

“Healing the Brain after Anesthesia”, Dr. David and Deb Martin, August, 2022

“The Eight Causes of Alzheimer’s”. Deb Martin, November 2022

“21st Century Alzheimer’s Vaccine”, Deb Martin, December, 2022

“Alzheimer’s Predisposition: The ApoE4 Gene Expression”, Heather Caldwell and Deb Martin, January, 2023

ALUMINUM TOXICITY: PREVENT OR DETOX THIS CAUSE OF ALZHEIMER’S”  Dr. David & Deb Martin, May 2014; updated March, 2023

“Brain Diseases and the Oils You Eat”   Deb Martin, 2017; updated March, 2023

With a Clear Mind,

Dr. David Martin, Vickie Gelardi & Heather Green
Lotus Blossom Clinic

Serving the Greater Fort Myers area with Natural and Holistic Medicine, including Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Massage, Science-backed Food as Medicine, Energy & Transformational Sessions…and Community Classes & Events both Virtual and In-Person!

We are not MD’s, Nutritionists, or Dieticians.  Vickie Gelardi and Deb Martín are certified in the Conquering Any Disease, a High-Phytochemical Food Healing System, and they work under Dr. David Martín’s directions with his patients, helping them incorporate his dietary guidelines into their lives to improve health.