After Max Lugavere’s mom started showing early signs of dementia, he began researching the link between food and the brain. He says he “became laser-focused on learning how food affects cognition.” In his “New York Times” best-selling book, “Genius Foods,” he shows how much we affect brain function with our choices.
Now Lugavere believes that we can protect and improve the cognitive function of our brains in our kitchens. He says some “genius foods” can make you “smarter, happier and more productive.” It sounds too good to be true, but here are the foods we should be eating more of and the science-backed reasons why.
- Dark leafy greens - If you’re only adding one “genius good” to your diet, he recommends dark leafy greens. "Research shows that one-third of a cup of dark leafy greens per day—the equivalent of a large salad—is related to up to 11 years of reduced brain aging,” the author says, explaining that it’s probably because all the micronutrients and fiber that help lower inflammation.
- Egg yolks - Lugavere says whole eggs are “one of the most nutritious foods you can consume.” It’s the yolks that contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect the brain and “improve neural processing.” Which eggs are best? Lugavere explains “pasture-raised > omega-3 enriched > free-range > conventional.”
- Extra virgin olive oil - Research shows people who eat a Mediterranean diet have a lower rate of Alzheimer’s, which could be thanks to all the olive oil, which protects the brain and fights inflammation.
- Avocados - He says these are an “"all-in-one 'genius food'—the perfect food to protect and enhance your brain.” But how do you pick a good one? Squeeze it in the palm of your hand and if it gives to pressure, it’s ripe and ready to eat.