By Cat, 2021
The bulk of the information on this page is from Lee Euler of Awakening From Alzheimer’s, via email. If the item doesn’t list a different source, it is from Lee.
My original post, “Nutrition: Foods and Supplements,” was getting too long, so I’ve broken it down into separate posts. This one is about “Specific Foods, including Herbs and Spices.” See the “reorganized” links, below.
- I’ve reorganized the original Nutrition list into separate postings: 1. Nutrition: Specific Foods, Herbs and Spices (this posting); 2. Nutrition: Worst and Best foods Lists; 3. Nutrition: Supplements; 4. Diet & Lifestyle; 5. Symptoms & Causes; 6. Testing & Treatment; 7. Related Diseases/Disorders;
- See also: Notes on Natural Health and Healing Menu
Specific Foods – includes Herbs & Spices
Aronia berry (a.k.a. chokeberry, not to be confused with chokecherries)
2/2/18. From Lee’s email; I didn’t save link to his email, but here’s a quote, and for more, see his sales pitch (3e)
“In recent years, however, academic institutes across Europe and America have rediscovered its powerful [anti-oxidant and] anti-inflammatory properties, and how it affects everything from cardiovascular to joint health.”
Avocado: One a day boosts your brain
from Green Med Info: greenmedinfo.health/blog/avocado-day-boosts-your-brain; the article sites several studies (not listed here). See also greenmedinfo.health/substance/lutein and greenmedinfo.health/substance/carotenoids.
“Avocados are a treasure trove of nutrition, in part because they’re a bioavailable source of lutein, a carotenoid that’s excellent for your brain. Lutein crosses your blood-brain barrier and also accumulates in the macular region of your eye’s retina. … one avocado contains about 0.5 milligrams (mg) of lutein…”
From Lee Euler email:
The lutein in avocado is good for eyes and brain; it is more bioavailable in avocado than in other fruits/veggies that contain more lutein (corn, kiwis, squash, pumpkin and spinach). He cites four studies: LE2a, LE2b, LE2c, and LE2d.
Beets may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease
See Mercola’s article of the same title (5a).
Berries, including blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries
from Green Med Info: greenmedinfo.com/blog/berries-drive-brain-health-keep-aging-bay
The main nutrient for supporting brain health as people age: anthocyanins, which are “flavonoid compounds that give the fruits their distinct colors and are capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier to act on areas of the brain linked to memory and cognition.” But they have other important nutrients: “vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols, and phytosterols that translate to a massive range of health benefits (more than 350 conditions studied.” (see greenmedinfo.com/substance/berries-all)”
One study (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3582325/) concluded: “participants who consumed at least two half-cup servings of blueberries or strawberries every week had slower mental decline. This equated to a delay in cognitive aging by about 1.5 to 2.5 years.” Previous studies have also explored the link between berries and healthy brain aging. Here’s a few (read Green Med Info article for details):
- Strawberries fight aging, such as “oxidative damage and age-related reduction in mitochondrial function.“
- Blueberries improve brain function: by “improving brain perfusion — a measure of how much blood is taken up in certain areas of your brain, which can be an indicator of brain function — along with task-related activation and cognitive function in healthy elders.”
- Grape and blueberry extract help prevent memory decline: by improving “age-related episodic memory decline in those with the highest cognitive impairments.”
Cat’s note: The best time to consume fruits, especially berries, is in the morning. And for maximum benefit, consume them every day, rotating varieties. I add them to my morning smoothie along with apple, avocado, banana and a bit of fermented orange.
Canola oil increases memory loss
(from Sayer Ji (20g)) Summary: Canola companies claim it is as healthy as olive oil, but studies on both oils indicate otherwise – that olive oil supports brain health while canola “demonstrates negative impacts to bodies and brains.”
From Green Med Info: greenmedinfo.health/blog/coconut-oil-improves-alzheimers-disease-symptoms; article by Sayer Ji.
Article discusses several studies, including one that studied isolated caprylic acid triglycerides (caprylic acid is one of the saturated fats isolated from coconut oil), and others that used whole coconut oil, which contains a complex of saturated and other fatty acids in triglyceride form.
While more research needs to be done, the preliminary results are encouraging. They compare the effects of natural fatty acids with the common class of drugs prescribed to reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms (cholinesterase inhibitors and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists) that can have severe side effects such as seizures.
(from Lee Euler email) Eating fish 1 – 2 times each week can help avoid neurodegenerative disease because of a special protein in most fish meat, called parvalbumin. It binds to alpha-synuclein, which is “a hallmark of Parkinson’s, … preventing the formation of Parkinson’s-associated amyloid structures.” (from a Swedish study; no reference provided)
High levels of parvalbumin can be found in cod, carp, herring, redfish, sockeye salmon and red snapper. Also, autumn is the best season for catching these fish because parvalbumin levels increase under abundant sun, providing the highest levels at the end of summer/beginning of autumn.
Green Tea; links:
- Sayer Ji of Green Med Info (20g): includes: Curcumin, green tea, ginkgo biloba, and also mentions lots of veggies.
- Mercola: Green Tea Boosts Heart & Brain Health (5j)
- Life Extension: New Research on the Health Benefits of Green Tea (29)
Meats, especially pasture-raised and finished
Such meats are excellent sources of the amino acid carnitine (see acetyl L-carnitine supplement, below). Most commercial meats, including beef, pork and chicken, are finished in crowded and filthy conditions, with little room to move. Some – especially chickens – are kept in those crowded and filthy conditions from the time they are hatched or born. Not only is this inhumane, it also leads to ill health in the animals, which affects the quality of their meat, and ultimately the health of the human who eats their meat.
“Finished” means how they are kept the last few weeks/months before they are butchered. Those that are raised and finished in pasture have far more healthful meat than those kept in confinement.
Mushrooms that help the brain
10/27/17: From a recent review of many types of mushrooms published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that the following provide the most benefit (in alphabetical order):
- Cordyceps – This has a long tradition in Chinese and Tibetan medicine. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is able to promote neural growth. Other lab studies show the cordyceps mushroom is able to prevent memory loss in rodents and the death of human neurons.
- Lion’s Mane – This is the star mushroom in terms of its effects on the brain. Studies suggest it can promote the regeneration of injured or damaged nerves, stimulate NGF secretion, improve myelination – the insulation around nerve fibers — and induce neurite outgrowth. In several human studies, lion’s mane decreased anxiety, improved sleep quality and improved cognitive functions.
- Maitake – This species is able to induce neurite outgrowth – the growth of axons and dendrites that project from the body of a nerve cell. Dysfunction of this outgrowth leads to neurodegeneration. Studies have also shown that maitake reduces inflammation, inhibits high blood pressure, and enhances insulin sensitivity
- Oyster – The most active compound in this large, edible wild mushroom is uridine, which has been shown to be critically important in many areas of brain function..
- Reishi – Used medicinally for thousands of years in Asia, this mushroom improves cognitive abilities and could prevent toxicity and death of brain cells. Mice that were fed reishi extract in their food had lower brain amyloid and higher levels of antioxidants.
Regarding “broken cell-walls,” which is a requirement for humans to digest mushroom powders: On Dec 1, 2017, I posed the following question to OM-brand mushroom powders/capsules regarding broken cell-walls (I saved the complete reply as a pdf in HEALTH-NUTRITION > HERBS > MUSHROOMS / Om-pwders-BrokenCellWalls.pdf):
“I am interested in your powders/caps but want to know if the mushrooms have been steamed or otherwise heated (such as autoclave) to break the cell walls. Your site indicates you use low-temp process to dehydrate them, so I’m concerned that the cell walls have not been broken, making the nutrients inside the cell unavailable. If you don’t heat them, how to you ensure the cell walls are broken?”
I received the following information in their reply on Dec 5, 2017:
“We dehydrate our mushroom mycelial biomass and fruit bodies for a period of 12 to 16 hours at temperatures that are sufficient to safely and efficiently dehydrate the material without microbial growth and at temperatures that are sufficient to fracture/crack the cell walls. The material is exposed to additional heat generated during the milling process that breaks the biomass into fine particle sizes with a lot of surface area that facilitates digestion and assimilation. We get good health responses to supplementation with our powders in our human, pet and equine product lines.
See PQQ, Berberine and other mitochondrial enhancers, references 5a and 14 for more detail; see also my summary of these in the “Supplements” section, below.
Rosemary, along with spearmint:
From Mercola, May 3, 2018: “Lifestyle factors linked to Alzheimer’s” (5h).
A 2013 study (26b) conducted at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine with lab mice suggests the antioxidant extracts from these herbs [rosemary and spearmint] improve learning and memory and reduce oxidative stress. “We found that these proprietary compounds reduce deficits caused by mild cognitive impairment, which can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease,” said Susan Farr, Ph.D., research professor geriatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
Sage (Salvia officinalis, the herb)
10/13/17: Sage is important to keep acetyl-choline transmitter active. This is discussed in more detail in Dr. Teitelbaum’s episode (Awakening from Alzheimer’s-1 docu-series). [pdf file of my notes: DrTeitllbaum-MIND.pdf is lost]
Sage (Salvia officinalis) helps keep your brain from losing a vital substance: acetyl-choline, by banishing the enzyme that erases acetyl choline from the brain (the enzyme is called acetylcholinesterase). Your brain relies on acetylcholine to make, maintain, and recall memories. Without acetylcholine, you can’t remember your friends, family, or loved ones. You lose everything that makes you “you.”
Sage also helps your body to increase production of the BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) (from Lee Euler sales pitch for Green Valley’s Advanced Brain Power supplement (3d)). BDNF “acts like a ‘growth hormone’ for the brain.”
- Makes you RESISTANT to Alzheimer’s
- Helps you stay smarter longer
- Enhances brain regeneration
- Researchers at The Brain Sciences Institute in Melbourne found that when patients were given sage, they experienced “IMPROVED delayed word recall, BETTER word recognition, and IMPROVED mental performance, all in as little as one hour!” Lee recommends sage extract (as in Green Valley’s Advanced Brain Power supplement (see Diet & Supplements, above for more).
See also (regarding sage):
- Web MD: The herb sage improves memory (31). This study uses sage oil caps (not essential oil?)
- NaturalNews: Improve Your Memory and Prevent Alzheimer’s with Sage (32a), which recommends sage tincture: Sage can be purchased as teas, extract tinctures. Make sure you get organic non-irradiated sage leaves and twigs only. If you buy bulk sage, you can make your own tincture inexpensively as well. For instructions on making your own tinctures, go to Natural News Elderberry article: Elderberry Trumps Tamiflu for Flu Remedy (32b) and scroll down to that tincture/extract recipe; use sage instead of elderberry.
I use a tincture combo of sage and ginkgo (see below) from SV Herbs
Salt Can Steal Your Memory
See Lee Euler 11/13/22 article: Brain Health Breakthroughs: This Popular Spice May Steal Your Memory. See my pdf copy of his article: Health-Nutrition / Podcasts-Articles / SpiceThatCanStealYourMemory_LeeEuler_111322.pdf. [Cat’s note: he calls “salt” a “spice.”]
Smoothie Recipes to Protect against Dementia/Alzheimer’
See sanesolution.com/secure/diabesityebook/99_Brain_Health_Smoothies.pdf. I’ve also saved the pdf: HEALTH-NUTRITION > BRAIN / BrainHealthSmoothie-99Recipes, This e-book is by Jonathan Bailor, and includes a dietary introduction.
4/29/18: Spearmint enhances Short-Term Memory and Helps You Sleep. Use as an herb, in tea, or a dried aqueous extract in capsules. Active ingredients for memory are rosmarinic and slavianolic acids. Other members of the Lamiaceae family that contain these acids are lemon balm (as in Bluenesse, above), rosemary and sage (above). See also Mercola article (5h) regarding a 2013 study conducted at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
7/20/19: notes from Mercola article (articles.mercola.com/herbs-spices/spikenard.aspx)
The spikenard plant typically grows in mountainous regions, between 1,200 and 3,000 meters (almost 4,000 to 10,000 feet) above sea level. It is an herb originating from the Himalayas.
- It’s commonly used to make an essential oil that’s added to perfumes due to its sweet, balsamic and earthy scent;
- Spikenard is famous in Ayurvedic medicine for its cognitive, psychological and neurological benefits
Some of its health benefits include (see Mercola’s page for the reference numbers):
- Neurodegenerative disease – In recent studies, it has been used successfully as an alternative treatment for minimizing symptoms and slowing down the development of both Alzheimer’s13 and Parkinson’s disease.
- Hepatoprotective — In a 2000 study from the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, researchers found that spikenard extract may have hepatoprotective properties. Rats were pretreated with 800 milligrams per kilogram of the extract, which protected their liver from damage after they were exposed to thioacetamide, a hepatotoxic compound.16
- May improve learning and memory — In a 2006 animal study from the Journal of Medicinal Food, young mice were given doses of spikenard extract for eight successive days. The extracts improved their learning and memory and also reversed diazepam-induced amnesia.17
- Helps in stress management — A 2009 study from the Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics showed that the antioxidant properties of spikenard helped curb stress in rats by reversing the elevation in lipid peroxidation and nitric oxide levels in the stomach and the catalase activity in the brain.18
- May assist with depression — The effects of electron beam radiation has been linked to DNA damage and depression. In a 2013 animal study from the International Journal of Research in Ayurveda and Pharmacy, spikenard ethanolic root extract reduced the risk of depression caused by radiation.19 Additionally, a 1994 animal study showed that spikenard extracts caused significant increase in serotonin, GABA and taurine.20
- Aids in managing [Type-2] diabetes — A 2018 study from the Journal of Medicinal Food showed that spikenard extract helped increase insulin sensitivity and inhibit glucose production in the diabetic control group of mice.21
Taurine in all meats, fish, and shellfish, and more
From Lee Euler email: Taurine is an amino acid that helps the brain. It is found in all meats and liver, but especially in fish and shellfish (clams, scallops, and shrimp), raw breast milk, and seaweed. It helps to build new brain cells and neurons, and improve functioning of the mitochondria. It also helps to limit inflammation in the brain.
Tea: Black, Green & Oolong
see Green Med Info: Nature’s Neuroprotective Beverage: greenmedinfo.health/blog/natures-neuroprotective-herbal-beverage-hundreds-side-benefits); see also news.nus.edu.sg/research/drinking-tea-improves-brain-health.
“A new study conducted by the National University of Singapore (NUS), evaluated brain imaging data of senior subjects. The researchers sought to add to the existing literature linking green tea consumption to improved brain function and found that regular tea drinkers had better organized brain regions – an established factor in healthy cognitive function – compared to non-tea drinkers.
The NUS team, along with collaborators from the University of Essex and University of Cambridge, collected data on the health and lifestyles of 36 adults ages 60 and above. The elderly subjects also participated in neuropsychological tests and MRI during the study, which ran from 2015 to 2018.”
6/5/18: see Green Med Info articles by Sayer Ji: A Daily Dose of Turmeric Improves Memory & Mood (20i) about a new study, and How Turmeric Can Save the Aging Brain From Dementia and Premature Death (20j).
Walnuts for a healthy brain
See Green Med info article by Sayer Ji: Why Walnut Resembles the Brain it Nourishes (20K) for more. The article addresses “the “doctrine of signatures,” a concept that goes back at least 500 years around the time of Parceleus (1491–1541), who stated: “Nature marks each growth … according to its curative benefit.“” In the case of walnuts, they resemble the brain (compare the photos in the article), and sure enough, they contain ingredients that are very important for brain health. He notes that the walnut shell resembles the skull; both the walnut and the brain are bio-hemispheric.
The article compares the pomegranate with the ovary, heart and blood; the fruit is a healing food for all three.