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Alzheimer’s Fighting Super Foods for the Brain: Fruits and Vegetables You Should be Eating

Posted by on Monday, January 28th, 2013

The list of super foods that may promote Alzheimer’s prevention is lengthy. These brain healthy foods not only help lower risks of heart disease, they have also been proven through research to lower the risk of stroke, and yes, even Alzheimer’s. What are these additional super foods that can do so much for our health, and how can we be sure we are getting enough of them in our daily Alzheimer’ s prevention diet?

healthy foods for the brain and Alzheimer's Prevention

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Research

Many expert sources in the nutrition field are beginning to recognize that there are healthy foods that promote brain health. Recent studies have shown that many of these brain super foods lower the risk of heart disease and stroke and it seems as though these foods even protect brain cells and promote Alzheimer’s prevention. 

Foods that were included in the study are dark skinned vegetables and fruits like brussels sprouts, broccoli, red pepper, eggplant, kale, and spinach, as well as fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, red grapes, oranges, strawberries, and plums.

Healthy Brain Foods in Alzheimer's Nutrition

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A study of 2 groups of elderly women indicated that the group which consumed the most green brain super foods exhibited mental functioning comparable to 2 years younger than those who abstained from eating green leafy vegetables. 

Animal studies were done using blueberries and the results were that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress which may lower the effects of age related disease such as Alzheimer’s. 

More Super Foods for the Brain

Spinach

Popeye knew all along what researchers are finding out about spinach. This green leafy vegetable offers a high level of the B vitamin called folate which promotes circulation in the brain resulting in a prevention of plaque buildup. Folate also helps to form chemicals that help transmit nerve impulses and actually helps with the learning process and memory.

how memory works

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Purple Grapes

Purple grapes (or red wine) depending on how you like to get your daily source of brain foods, has also been deemed a brain healthy super food because of a phytonutrient called resveratrol, known for its healthy effect on circulation in the brain. 

Eggs

Despite the bad rep that eggs have had for some time, eggs actually have a type of cholesterol that is good for brain health. Eggs contain lecithin which is thought to help to counteract negative effects of bad cholesterol in the blood system. Despite what most of us believe, cholesterol is needed to support healthy nerve cell membranes. Eggs also contain omega 3 fatty acids which help nerve cell connections. Cholesterol is bad when you eat a diet too high in saturated fats and too low in plant foods. The result is too much bad cholesterol which can form plaques that block the arteries and cause strokes. Don’t overdo it on the eggs; one egg several times per week is plenty.

Blueberries

Blueberries are a brain super food because they are very high in antioxidants which protect the brain from oxidative stress. You’ll see this great tasting brain food at the top of many “healthiest foods” lists.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes have substances called carotenoids which protect brain cells from damage with its high antioxidant content. They are also rich in vitamin A which helps to build new nerve cells and assists with nerve cell connection. Sweet potatoes are also great for those who want to cut down on sugar because they can help with sweet cravings.

Egg Spinach Fritatta - recipe adapted from Mayo Clinic

 

spinach frittata

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Serves 4

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups baby spinach leaves
3 whole eggs, plus 4 egg whites
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes reconstituted
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella or provolone cheese

Directions

Preheat the broiler. Position the rack 4 inches from the heat source.

In a large, nonstick frying pan with a flameproof handle, heat 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in the spinach and cook until it wilts, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Set the frying pan aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the whole eggs and egg whites. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Set aside.

Return the frying pan to medium heat and heat the remaining 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the bell pepper 4 to 5 minutes, add reconstituted sun dried tomatoes.

Spread the potatoes in an even layer in the pan. Spread the spinach evenly over the potatoes. Sprinkle with the basil. Pour in the beaten eggs and sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Cook until slightly set, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Carefully place the pan under the broiler and broil until the frittata is brown and puffy and completely set, about 3 minutes. Gently slide onto a warmed serving platter and cut into wedges. garnish with chopped green scallions and serve immediately.

In Conclusion

There are many creative ways you can incorporate healthy super brain foods into your diet. Here is a general guide to the average amount of brain healthy foods you may want to start incorporating into your daily diet routing. For optimal benefit, serve up the following brain super foods as follows:

  • Wild caught salmon 2 to 3 times per week
  • 1/4th to a half of an avocado per day
  • 1 cup blueberries per day
  • 1 fist size serving of whole grains 2 to 3 times per day
  • 1/2 cup lentils per day
  • 2 to 3 cups green tea per day
  • 1 ounce per day dark chocolate
  • at least 1 serving broccoli and 2 servings green leafy vegetables such as spinach per day
  • 10 walnuts per day
  • 1 tbsp. of flax every day

 

For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit theadplan.com to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

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