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Brain Fitness: Food Winners and Losers!

Eating for fuel, energy, fitness and function is so much more than just choosing a salad!

At one of my recent workshops, we discussed the powerful effects food and nutrition can have to help keep your brain functioning at a high level and to help ward off premature aging and unnecessary reduction in cognitive abilities. (We also discussed how to best fuel your body after exercise for maximum recovery, fat-loss and energy!)

Research has shown that by including the right foods in our diets and avoiding the wrong ones, we actually can control how we age and to a very large degree, what illnesses we experience such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, anxiety, depression, lack of motivation, memory loss, learning capacity, retention, executive function and more.

It’s extremely empowering and liberating to feel the difference yourself and learn how much control we really DO have – and I can’t wait for YOU to feel it!

For those of you who missed the workshop Eating for Exercise and Energy, I thought I’d share with you my list of Brain Fitness Food Winners and Losers so you could still benefit from the information. 🙂 Backed by the most recent scientific research in food and nutrition, these foods have been shown to increase cognitive function, memory, creativity and motivation and help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia all while keeping your body fit and nimble!

Enjoy in good health and happiness,


*Winners! (Nutrient-dense foods)

  • Herbs – #1 source of nutritients, anti-inflam, antioxidants, blood sugar control, immunity, brain-function, memory
  • EV Olive Oil – monounsat fat, oleocanthal fights inflammation, high in antioxidants
  • Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Arugula, Romaine) – rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium and folate
  • Avocados – potassium, carotenoids, monounsat fat, Vit E, highest antioxidant brain-protector!
  • Wild Salmon and Sardines – EPA omega 3 fat, higher nutrition, less calories, B Vits, protein, potassium, selenium
  • Organic Bone Broth – Protects Joints, heals the gut, promotes healthy skin, hair, nails, supports immune system, full of minerals, collagen, boosts detoxification
  • Pasture-raised eggs (yes, yokes!) – choline, yolkin, selenium, vitamin D, B6, B1, zinc, iron, copper
  • Berries – anthocyanins and pterostilbene (improve cognition and performance)
  • Dark Chocolate – flavanols, cognitive and athletic performance
  • Raw Coconut Oil – MCFAs, processed by liver (so for immediate energy/not stored as fat), helps convert LDL to HDL, easy to digest, antimicrobial and antifungal
  • Broccoli – sulforaphane (anti-bactrerial, anti-carcinogen), glucosinolates fight inflammation
  • Grass-fed Beef – high in CLA, carotenoids, Omega 3s, zinc, B12, Vit E, K2, potassium, iron, protein, niacin, less sat fat, less calories
  • Raw fermented veggies – source of probiotics, enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Almonds, macadamia and Brazil nuts – healthy fats, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, selenium, vit E and minerals

*All organic

Losers!  (Anti-Foods)

  • Processed plant/seed oils (canola, corn, safflower, soybean), salad dressings, mayo, marinades
  • Refined carbohydrates – increase insulin, hunger/appetite/cravings, decrease mood/energy
  • Gluten/Wheat/Flour – pro-inflammatory, allergen, leaky gut, nutrient robbers, empty calories
  • Concentrated and artificial sweeteners – fake, chemicals, trick brain, hormones and appetite
  • Fake “hyper-palatable foods” – deliberately engineered to surpass the reward properties of traditional foods (veggies, fruits nuts). Manufactured by food chemists by pumping products with increased levels of fat, sugar, flavors, and food additives.
  • Soy – highly processed “food”, phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women. Soy phytoestrogens are potent anti-thyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism
  • Processed, packaged, man-made foods (Especially if associated with a “branded” weight loss system/plan…I won’t name names!)  These contain all kinds of artificial ingredients, anti-nutrients, excess sodium chloride (salt), chemicals, dyes, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, sugar and artificial sweeteners

Caution Foods

  • Fruit – high sugar content, amount/size/portion/frequency
  • Dairy and cheese, Greek yogurt – pro-inflammatory, possible allergies, mod/high sugar
  • Nuts – watch portions, trigger?
  • Trigger foods – your personal – no “Off Switch”
  • “Complex” carbohydrates – ex. “100% sprouted, whole grain
  • Starchy Vegetables
  • Beans and Legumes (hummus)
  • Sauces, marinades, condiments, prepared foods, soups, stews, spaghetti sauce, BBQ, “fresh juices”, fancy “coffee drinks”, soda

NOTE: Don’t fear cholesterol. You NEED cholesterol – crucial in the production of hormones, cell membranes, vitamin D, and bile acids that help digest fat, also plays an integral part in memory formation and neurological function. Hypercholesterolemia = from high blood sugars! Saturated fats not only increase the healthy cholesterol (known as HDL cholesterol)  in your body, but also help convert the LDL “bad” cholesterol into good cholesterols.

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