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I’m A Memory Coach: What To Eat & Limit To Supercharge Your Brain Power

Author:

Jim Kwik

November 14, 2023

Memory expert

By Jim Kwik

Memory expert

Jim Kwik is an internationally acclaimed authority in the realm of brain optimization, memory improvement, and accelerated learning. Kwik, an advocate for brain health and global education, is also a philanthropist funding projects ranging from Alzheimer’s research to the creation of schools worldwide. In collaboration with organizations like Pencils of Promise and The Unstoppable Foundation, he ensures that underserved children globally receive essential resources, from education to clean water. He has 4.46 million followers across social media.

Image by Sarah Reid / Stocksy

November 14, 2023

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Neuronutrition is a relatively new field of research that examines the impact of nutrients on brain health, cognitive performance, and mental well-being. Numerous studies have shown a strong correlation between a healthy diet and optimal brain function.

In a piece for the National Institutes of Health, David O. Kennedy, Ph.D., of the Brain, Performance, and Nutrition Research Centre at Northumbria University, wrote of B vitamins, “Their collective effects are particularly prevalent to numerous aspects of brain function, including energy production, DNA/RNA synthesis/repair, genomic and non-genomic methylation, and the synthesis of numerous neurochemicals and signaling molecules.” These vitamins help regulate levels of homocysteine, an amino acid associated with cognitive decline and dementia when present in high concentrations. B vitamins are abundant in foods like leafy greens, whole grains, and lean meats.

In another NIH piece, Simon C. Dyall, a member of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences at Bournemouth University, wrote, “Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) exhibit neuroprotective properties and represent a potential treatment for a variety of neurodegenerative and neurological disorders.” These essential fats, found in fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds, have been shown to promote brain cell growth, reduce inflammation, and improve communication between brain cells. Studies suggest that a diet rich in omega-3s can enhance memory and learning while protecting against cognitive decline and depression.

Other studies have shown that antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and flavonoids, which are available in foods like berries, dark chocolate, and green tea, protect brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation, which can contribute to cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases.

Meanwhile, choline, an essential nutrient found in eggs, soybeans, and chicken, plays a vital role in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is crucial for memory and learning processes.

A topic as filled with evolving data as brain nutrition tends to give rise to a number of LIEs (Limited Idea Entertained) or myths. Here are five of the most common, along with the truth behind each one: 

Myth 1: “Brain health is all about genetics. Diet doesn’t matter much”

This myth likely originated from early scientific studies that put a lot of emphasis on the role of genetics in brain health and cognitive function.

Truth: While genetics do play a role in brain health, your diet and lifestyle choices can significantly impact your cognitive function and brain health. In fact, research suggests that a healthy diet rich in brain-boosting nutrients can help prevent cognitive decline and enhance mental performance.

Myth 2: “All fats are bad for the brain”

This idea probably stemmed from the broader myth that all fats are harmful, which gained traction during the low-fat diet craze in the late 20th century.

Truth: Healthy fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds, are crucial for brain health. These fats are essential for brain function and the maintenance of brain cells.

Myth 3: “As long as you’re eating enough, you’re getting all the nutrients your brain needs”

This myth may come from a misunderstanding about how nutrition works. The idea that quantity equals quality is a common misconception.

Truth: The quality of the food you eat is just as important as the quantity, if not more so. Consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods is key to ensuring your brain gets all the nutrients it needs for optimal function.

Myth 4: “Taking a multivitamin is enough to cover all your brain’s nutritional needs”

This myth likely comes from marketing efforts by the supplement industry, which often emphasize the benefits of multivitamins as a one-size-fits-all solution.

Truth: While multivitamins can help fill in the gaps, they shouldn’t be relied upon as the sole source of nutrients. A well-rounded diet with diverse, whole foods is the best way to nourish your brain.

Myth 5: “Sugar is brain fuel, so the more, the better”

This myth might have originated from the fact that glucose, a simple form of sugar, is a primary energy source for the brain.

Truth: While it’s true that your brain uses glucose for energy, not all sugars are equal. Excessive intake of refined sugars can lead to metabolic disturbances, inflammation, and impaired cognitive function. A diet with moderate amounts of complex carbohydrates, like those found in whole grains and vegetables, provides a steadier and healthier source of glucose for your brain.

By debunking these LIEs, we can empower ourselves with knowledge and make healthier choices to nourish our brains better.

Excerpted from LIMITLESS EXPANDED EDITION by Jim Kwik, published by Hay House, Inc. Copyright © 2023.

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