Healthy Hollywood: Fab Food Friday - Feed Your Brain!

We all know the foods we eat have tremendous effect on how we feel and look! But, did you know the right nutrition can boost your brain power?

Healthy Hollywood learned all about how to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss at the recent International Conference on Nutrition and the Brain held in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Neal Barnard, author of “Power Foods for the Brain,” and his Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine invited me to attend. I couldn’t resist a weekend surrounded by smart wellness junkies and a menu of incredible vegan meals. Yum!

Over 500 clinicians gathered to discuss and hear lectures on brain health. While, some of the topics where a bit beyond my brain capacity, Dr. Barnard, who is one of the sweetest wellness advocates I have met, gave me a simple 101 on keeping your brain sharp.

Dr. Barnard believes we can cut Alzheimer’s risk by 70 to 80 percent just by eating the right foods. “We know that vegetables have vitamins that protect the brain. We know beans give you protein without all the bad stuff that comes with protein from meat. We know fruits and whole grains are good too. Some of them have special [brain boosting power], certain berries, like blueberries and grapes and vegetables, like sweet potatoes.”

Dr. Barnard believes one of the best ways to keep your brain healthy is through a vegan diet – that means eating no animal by-products. So, besides meat, dairy and eggs are off the menu. “Meats and dairy products are loaded with bad fats; add to that the donuts (and other junky processed foods) that have Trans fats, which does a number on brain health.

“I encourage everyone to eat more vegan meals. It’s not just for President Clinton or Ellen DeGeneres; everybody should know what a vegan breakfast, and lunch and dinner are. The more you plug these types of meals into your routine the better off you will be. Experiment and try different things and then it becomes more familiar and then the idea of making a big change doesn’t become so hard,” advises Dr. Barnard.

Dr. Barnard shared some basic tips to feed your brain.

1. Minimize your intake of saturated fats and Trans fats.

2. Vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), fruits and whole grains should be the primary staples of your diet.

3. One ounce of nuts or seeds (one small handful) daily provides a healthful source of vitamin E, which is a major brain-protector.

4. Skip all supplements, except a reliable source of vitamin B12, such as fortified foods or a supplement should be part of your daily diet.

5. Make a power plate at every meal. One quarter the plate should be filled with fruits, one quarter with grains, one quarter with legumes, and one quarter with vegetables.

For more wellness tips from Dr. Barnard and his crew, check out

-- Terri MacLeod

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