Best Vegetables For Brain Health

Eric Bakker N.D.May 16, 2022

Optimising our diet with the best vegetables can help us have a better mood, a improved brain function, and reduce inflammation - all of which can assist with neuro-degeneration and brain ageing.

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Eric Bakker Naturopath » Recipes » Best Vegetables For Brain Health

Eat More Vegetables

veges and fruitsEat more vegetables not fruits for brain health. An interesting study has found that Eating vegetables, but not fruits, can help slow the rate of mental decline in older adults. Researchers1 studied more than 3,700 senior citizens, who completed food frequency questionnaires and two or more cognitive tests over the course of  six years.
Those who ate 2.8 servings of vegetables a day or more slowed their rate of cognitive decline by roughly 40 percent, the equivalent of about five years. Green leafy vegetables had the strongest effect, and the older the person, the greater the slowdown in mental decline.
Fruit consumption was not associated with cognitive change, which may be due to the fact that vegetables contain higher amounts of vitamin E. Vegetables are also often consumed with fats such as salad dressings that increase the absorption of vitamin E.

Reference: Rush University Medical Center October 23, 2006    Neurology Oct. 24, 2006; 67(8): 1370-1376

Foods Linked To Better Brain Power

  • Leafy green vegetables Kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli are high in vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene, all of which are beneficial to the brain. These plant-based diets may help delay cognitive decline, according to research.
  • Fatty fish. Fatty fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good unsaturated fats associated to lower blood levels of beta-amyloid, the protein that forms harmful clumps in Alzheimer’s patients’ brains. Consume fish at least twice a week, but choose mercury-free kinds including salmon, cod, canned light tuna, and pollack. If you don’t like fish, talk to your doctor about taking an omega-3 supplement or opt for flaxseeds, avocados, and walnuts as terrestrial omega-3 sources.
  • Berries. Flavonoids, the natural plant pigments that give berries their vibrant colours, have been shown to aid memory in studies. Researchers from Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital discovered that eating two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week could postpone memory loss by up to two and a half years.
  • Nuts. Walnuts are particularly good, they are high in protein and healthy fats, and one variety of nut, in particular, may help with memory. Higher walnut eating was associated to better cognition test scores in a 2015 UCLA study. Walnuts are abundant in alpha-linolenic acid, a form of omega-3 fatty acid (ALA). Low blood pressure and healthier arteries have been related to diets high in ALA and other omega-3 fatty acids. This is beneficial to both the heart and the brain.

Eric’s Comment: How frequently do you hear the media tell you to eat more fruits and vegetables?  The Ministry of Health advises that people should eat at least five portions of fruit or vegetables a day to help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and other chronic conditions.

When you take a good look at the apple, many are bred for just their looks, a specific size and their sweet taste, and certainly not for nutrition. Many will try to eat the fruits and skip the vegetables, fully believing they are following a healthy diet by eating “lots of fruit”. Unfortunately, for many people this simply isn’t true. Although fruits can provide benefits, especially the skins and seeds of fruits, they are typically not as healthy as vegetables, which are often packed with minerals and many phytonutrients.
The next time you hear someone encourage you to eat more fruits and vegetables, immediately shift it around and switch it to more vegetables and fruits, which is clearly the more technically correct statement.

Eating more vegetables is the key to reducing your brain’s typical decline as you age. Leafy greens have been linked with slower age-related cognitive decline in studies.

Vitamin E may be a factor, but it comes as no surprise that green leafy vegetables, high in folic acid, where the most effective natural foods of all. Folic acid is necessary in the synthesis of many important components of the nervous system, including:
• Neurotransmitters
• Myelin
• Phosphatidylcholine
Incidentally, Brewer’s yeast is an exceptionally high source of folic acid, with each 100gr containing an amazing 225mcg.
Additionallly, high levels of homocysteine in the blood have been associated with a decline in cognitive ability in the elderly. Homocysteine levels are known to rise when you are deficient in folic acid and Vitamin B12.
One easy way to consume the number of vegetables you need is to juice them, and then to add a litle of the vegetable pup back to the juice to give you some more fibre back. There are valuable and sensitive micronutrients that are damaged when you heat foods, so try to eat something raw each day, even if is is a carrot, capsicum or a salad. Cooking and processing vegetable destroys these valuable micronutrients by altering their shape and chemical composition. If you juice them instead, you will preserve the micronutrients and get their full health benefits.

4 Reasons To Consider Vegetable Juicing

Why Juicing? When you juice quality vegetables you are getting a super-concentrated amount of vegetables into your diet. Here are four good reasons why you may want to think about making and drinking vegetable juice on a regular basis. Don’t forget, juices don’t generally contain much in the way of fibre, that’s why it is important to eat vegetables as well as drink vegetable juice occasionally.

  1. You probably have a compromised digestive system. Most of us have compromised intestines as a result of less than optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables.
  2. Juicing will help to “pre-digest” them for you so you will receive most of the nutrition rather than having it go down the toilet.
  3. Vegetable juicing allows you to accomplish eating more vegetables than you normally would.  By incorporating the juice into your eating plan you will easily be able to reach this goal.
  4. Nobody wants to eat that many salads. If you eat the vegetables like a salad then you will be having far too many salads. This violates the principle of regular food rotation and increases your chance of developing an allergy to a certain food.

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