My Five Top Super Foods for Optimal Brain Health!

Blueberries are loaded with polyphenols and flavonoids.  Long-term consumption of blueberry polyphenols and flavonoids has been shown to improve and even reverse cognitive decline in animal studies.  The cognitive enhancement provided by blueberries is closely related to higher brain production of glutathione (our master antioxidant) and the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity, which prevents excessive breakdown of acetylcholine. In the brain, acetylcholine functions as a neurotransmitter and is important to attention, memory and  motivation.

Broccoli sprouts are one of the richest sources of sulforaphane.

Sulforaphane activates a genetic pathway in our cells called Nrf2.  This pathway controls over 200 other genes that carry out anti-inflammatory and anti-antioxidant processes and the ability to inactivate other harmful compounds that we are exposed to on a daily basis.  Excess inflammation and toxic load have been linked to cognitive decline.

Top your salad with broccoli sprouts or add the sprouts to a veggie wrap! 

For optimal effects, consume ¼ cup of broccoli sprouts 5 times per week.

Wild salmon:

Rich in the Omega 3 fatty acids which decrease systemic inflammation and help keep our cell membranes fluid.  This fluidity allows all of our cells to communicate better, including our neurons!  We do not want rigid cell membranes!

Purslane plant:

Purslane is an edible weed with a juicy, lemony flavor.  You will find it at farmers markets in the summer. I recently learned at a conference on the topic of neuro-inflammation that it is very high in Alpha Linoleic Acid (an Omega 3 fatty acid). In fact, 100 grams of fresh leaves contains 300-400 mg omega 3’s! It is also very high in melatonin, a hormone that’s great for regulating sleep.

Pull the leaves off the larger stems and toss them with lemon juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Pretty simple!  Or combine with other greens like kale!


Flavanols in cocoa have been studied for many years. They have been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, prevent blood clots, and fight cell damage. And cocoa is such a nice treat too. Just make sure that you are not consuming the cocoa with a lot of sugar!



Although technically a herb, I include rosemary on this list because it is so good paired with food! Among the most important group of compounds isolated from the plant are the phenolic diterpenes that account for most of the antioxidant and many pharmacological activities of the plant. Rosemary diterpenes have been shown in recent years to inhibit neuronal cell death induced by a variety of agents.

Add rosemary liberally to your foods. It pairs especially well with roasted chicken and vegetables!



My Top 5 Supplements for Optimal Brain Health

Over the past six months, I have been attending practitioner training’s and conferences to learn all I can about the brain and why our memory and overall brain performance starts to slip. I did not expect there to be a simple answer. After all, a drug that prevents Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) would have been invented by now if the answer was easy.  But nonetheless, my calling is to help all people preserve their precious brain function, including memories. I just don’t want to bear witness to another member in my family being diagnosed with AD, and don’t want to see anyone else go through this traumatizing experience either.

As the incredible Dr. Dale Bredesen has outlined in his research, there are multiple “types” of AD. It is our responsibility to figure out what is driving the neurodegeneration in each person. Is it inflammation, insulin resistance in the brain, low hormone levels, nutrient deficiencies, toxins that have crossed the Blood Brain Barrier, or a vascular issue?

As I attended these training’s and conferences, I observed that the experts in this field mentioned several key supplements over and over again for optimal brain support and to help reverse cognitive decline. So here are the five top supplements I suggest to support your brain for optimal performance and cognitive function:


  1. Acetyl L-Carnitine is the acetylated ester of L-carnitine. It participates in cellular energy production and in the maintenance of neurons. It also repairs neuronal damage. In a nutshell, research shows that Acetyl L- Carnitine helps to energize the brain, increase levels of important neurotransmitter chemicals needed for memory and focus, and repair the damage done to brain cells by stress and poor nutrition.
  1. Phosphatidyl Serine (PS) is a nutrient essential for optimal brain function. Because PS is crucial for the overall health of brain cells, research on PS has shown that it benefits a wide range of brain activities such as mental focus, memory recall, and performance on tasks. PS helps neurons talk to each other, which is essential for memories to be both formed and recalled.
  1. High DHA fish oil: DHA is a structural molecule in all cell membranes, including neuronal membranes. DHA is a precursor to docosanoids, which have anti-inflammatory, immune regulatory and protective actions in the context of various inflammatory responses. Optimal DHA status may be associated with a lower risk of dementia. See UltraDHA for an example of a high quality and high potency DHA fish oil.
  1. Curcumin has been shown to decrease inflammation throughout the body, including the brain! Curcumin reduced development and severity of AD in animal models by reducing plaque aggregation and plaque induced oxidative stress. (1)  Curcumin is also protective to the heart, the liver and the gut. It also helps decrease allergies and is great at reducing joint pain!  Note: most forms of supplemental curcumin are poorly absorbed. CurcumEvail has demonstrated superior absorption in plasma.
  1. Huperzine A is a natural cholinesterase inhibitor (inhibits the acetylcholinesterase enzyme from breaking down acetylcholine, thereby increasing the levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine). It is derived from the Chinese herb Huperzia serrata. In the brain, acetylcholine functions as a neurotransmitter and a neuromodulator. It plays an important role in arousal, attention, memory and motivation. There is evidence that huperzine A may compare favorably in symptomatic efficacy to cholinesterase inhibitors currently in use. In addition, huperzine A has antioxidant and neuroprotective properties that suggest that it may be useful as a disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (AD).


Suggested doses of these above mentioned supplements depend on whether you are using them for optimal brain performance or to help reverse mild cognitive decline.  Please set up a strategy session with me if you are concerned that your brain is not functioning optimally and you are ready to take a preventative approach to cognitive decline!  Remember, Alzheimer’s Disease does not suddenly start when you are 60 or 70 years old.  Dr. Dale Bredesen recommends taking a preventative approach starting at age 40!  Please see my previous blog  “Are You Afraid of Getting Alzheimer’s Disease?”



  1. Baum L, Ng A. Curcumin interaction with copper and iron suggests one possible mechanism of action in Alzheimer’s disease animal models. J Alzheimers Dis. 2004 Aug;6(4):367-77.