The biggest fear that older people face is Alzheimer’s disease, where memory and cognition begin to fade. I recently reviewed a client’s list of medications and he was taking two drugs to preserve brain function, Aricept and Namenda. These drugs are useful to some degree, but I feel that there are foods, spices and herbs in your own kitchen that go a long way to preserve cognitive function, stabilize mood and lower levels of anxiety.
I absolutely love spices that heal, so much so that I have a free ebook Spices that Heal which you can DOWNLOAD right now. This ebook talks about spices that are great to eat even if you have a variety of medical conditions. Now, here are some brain-saving foods and spices:
Put hemp seeds in your salad. Hulled hemp seeds put healthy fats into your body, and offset the bad fats typical of an American diet. Hemp seeds have practically no THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana. They have a perfect 3:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids. Put a tablespoon (daily) on your salad, scrambled eggs or roasted vegetables.
Sprinkle my recipe for Brainpower Season Salt.
Mix together the following 6 seasonings in equal amounts and put into an empty salt shaker. Sprinkle as desired: Rosemary, powdered gotu kola (get from an apothecary), himalayan salt, onion powder, powdered garlic (not garlic salt) and powdered turmeric.
I’m not talking Portabello’s, I’m referring to Lion’s Mane which gives us the active ingredient of Hericium erinaceus. Lion’s Mane is sold as a dietary supplement, and known for its potent neuroregenerative powers. I buy the real mushrooms in the fresh produce section and butter saute them with Brussels sprouts and garlic. Lion’s Mane is a neurotrophic so my pick for you if you have any kind of brain damage from anything (trauma, benzos, mold exposure, etc).
We all think of antioxidants as a dietary supplement, like Vitamin C, for example. Citrus juice is a great source of natural vitamin C so a few ounces of orange juice would provide natural C which helps you make dopamine, serotonin and other neurotransmitters that a healthy brain requires.
Eat plenty of brightly-colored fruits such as blueberries or figs, raspberries and black currants. Vegetables and salads contain a lot of antioxidants. These neutralize free radicals which harm neurons.
By foilage, I mean salads and greens to give you folate, the natural form of the synthetic vitamin “folic acid.” Leafy greens like kale, spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard and lettuce have a lot of folate. Greens also provide powerful antioxidants so eat something green every day. I recommend you cook cruciferous vegetables in order to reduce goitrogens. Obviously you don’t cook the lettuce. A goitrogen is the term used to describe a food that suppresses iodine, and low iodine might lead to hypothyroidism or a goiter. If you love those powdered green superfood drink mixes like I do, start to read labels because most of the popular brand contain a huge concentration of powdered alfalfa, broccoli powder and other grasses that are goitrogenic. Greens are considered potent detoxifiers and help with energy production.
Say “Yes” when they offer black pepper.
The servers will often ask if you want black pepper on your salad at restaurants. Say yes next time because piperine, the primary component of black pepper slows the break down of serotonin and raises other feel-good endorphins. Studies are ongoing for black pepper’s role in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.