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Chemo Brain 101

Today's blog post is brought to you by Dr. Serrano of Ignite Chiropractic! When I saw the title of his latest post, I instantly thought of all of the people who have been through chemotherapy and experience the reality of "chemo brain" on a daily basis. This is something that, even being 4 years in remission, I still battle with. During my cancer treatments, I would be wheeled down the hall for spinal taps, which is where they would remove my spinal fluid and replace it with chemotherapy. This greatly effected my memory, my ability to process, etc. And I know I'm not alone... so this if for those of you sailin' in the same boat!


We know that what we eat affects our bodies, but what if I told you that what you eat can affect your memory? What if I told you that your secret weapon to focus and remembering facts and information is in what you eat? Scientist are discovering more and more information about how certain foods help our brains. Let me give you some facts.

The Facts on Memory and Food

Ok, your brain and body work together, especially your brain health and gut health. Weird connection I know, but let me explain. When you have stress whether physical or mental your body releases chemicals that produce inflammation. This inflammation triggers our bodies to attack the inflammation, which is good If it is a outside bacteria, but because it is from ourselves it is actually how autoimmune diseases begin. That means the body is attacking itself…not good. So where does food come in? Well when we eat healthy foods that keep our gut in check with good probiotics and enzymes it will also help keep our immune responses and inflammation under control.

So these foods that are rich in brain strengthening nutrients such as good fats, vitamin * and antioxidants it will keep both the brain and the body healthy. Mind and body just go together, so it makes sense that the foods we put into our bodies will effect our cognition, our ability to process new information, and focusing.

I’ve put together a list for you of 10 of the best foods you can eat for your brain. I think you will be happy and surprised by what you find on this list.

Top 10 Best Foods for Brain Health
1. Blueberries

Blueberries are such an awesome snack.They are good by themselves, in smoothies, on yogurt or on salads, and even frozen! They are one of the highest antioxidant-rich foods, and they also are full of vitamin c, vitamin k, and fiber. They protect our brains from stress and degeneration from the gallic acid that they carry. This is one of those fruits that you should aim to eat every day.

2. Dark Chocolate

Chocolate is full of flavonols which have antioxidant properties that help with inflammation. Chocolate can also improve blood flow to your brain and heart. But remember, not all chocolate is the same. Look for dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao. The darker the chocolate the more benefits.

3. Avocados

This fruit is packed with mono-saturated fats, the good fats that are healthy for your skin and keeping your blood sugar low. They contain vitamin k, folate, vitamin b and vitamin c. They are easy to add to salads and sandwiches. And because of their creamy texture they can be added to smoothies and replaced in baking recipes. My wife makes a delicious chocolate mousse out of them that our kids love!

4. Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the best brain foods because of it’s high nutrients in vitamin k and choline. Broccoli also contains 150 percent of your daily vitamin C intake. This vegetable helps keep your memory sharp while keeping you full with the amount of fiber and nutrients it contains. It is delicious raw, steamed, and roasted!

5. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of those items you should always keep in the house. It has over 70 benefits and cures and when it comes to your brain health, coconut oil is one of the best! It helps with memory loss as you age and keeps your gut healthy by balancing out the good and bad bacteria. It is also an anti-inflammatory and it fights inflammation.

6. Walnuts

Eating walnuts supports your cognitive function. They also contain high levels of vitamin E, which is protection against Alzheimer’s, and it is antioxidants and minerals that support mental alertness. Just having a handful everyday will do the job. You can store them in your freezer to keep them fresh.

7. Turmeric

Turmeric is a simple spice that is packed with some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents. It helps boost your brain’s oxygen intake, keeping you alert and strengthening your ability to process. It also helps keep your immune system healthy and boosts your antioxidant levels.

8. Salmon

Salmon is great for brain function because of the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. It helps keep your brain sharp and improve your memory. These same fatty acids help to fight cancer and tumors. Always look to buy wild caught not farm raised. Farm raised can be filled with toxins. There are many ways to eat salmon such as in salads, or as an entree with butter and garlic or lemon and rosemary, the flavor combinations are endless and the health benefits are big

9. Egg Yolks

Yolks contain high levels of choline, which is important for pregnant women to consume as it helps with the development of the baby’s brain. And don’t worry about cholesterol levels. Research has proven that eating eggs promotes good cholesterol levels. And egg yolks can make you happy! Choline turns into bethane which produces serotonin and dopamine. Eggs are also high in vitamin B which is great for supporting the function of your liver, which is one of the most important organs to be in tip-top shape.

10. Leafy Vegetables

Spinach, kale, swiss chard, and romaine are loaded with vitamin a and k which help keep your bones strong and fight inflammation. Research has also found that eating 1 or 2 servings a day of these vegetables will help fight dementia. Again, these veggies are great in salads or sandwiches. You can put them in smoothies and use them as a side dish for dinner.

Photo by Brooke Lark 

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