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799: Why Body Fat, Inflammation, & Disease is Skyrocketing Because of Vegetable Oil – With Dr. Cate Shanahan

TMHS 716: 10 Foods to Improve Your Memory, Focus, & Overall Brain Health

Eating well has the potential to manifest a variety of changes in your body, including improving your brain function. And at a time when progressive neurodegenerative diseases are at an all-time high, protecting the function of your brain is one of the best things you can do to ensure health and longevity. 

Today you’re going to learn about ten specific foods that have been proven to boost memory, improve focus, and contribute to overall brain health. You’ll hear the studies backing up each food, what you need to consider when sourcing your groceries, plus the best ways to incorporate these nutritional powerhouses into your diet. 

These ten foods are featured in my newest book, Eat Smarter Cookbook. I’m going to share what you can expect from the book, how to incorporate these ten brain boosting foods into your family’s regular meals, and the best ways to upgrade your plate without sacrificing taste, tradition, or enjoyment. Enjoy! 

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • How acai can reduce neuroinflammation. 
  • The link between belly fat, insulin resistance, and inflammation in the brain. 
  • How to utilize the benefits of acai without disrupting your blood glucose. 
  • What percentage of the average American child’s diet is ultra-processed foods.
  • The health benefits of consuming raw honey.
  • What to look for when shopping for high quality honey.
  • Which compounds in fatty fish are necessary for brain function.
  • The connection between omega 3 consumption and brain shrinkage rates. 
  • How drinking coffee can reduce your risk of developing progressive brain diseases.
  • The best way to leverage the health benefits of coffee. 
  • Which food can reduce oxidative stress and improve neuron health. 
  • How much cinnamon to consume daily to reap its benefits. 
  • The importance of phospholipids for brain health. 
  • Which nutrient in eggs is critical for memory development. 
  • The role of choline during pregnancy and breastfeeding. 
  • How to utilize the memory enhancing effects of anthocyanins. 
  • The metabolic and cognitive benefits of incorporating sweet potatoes in your diet.
  • How extra virgin olive oil can improve autophagy in the brain. 
  • Why storage matters when it comes to olive oil. 
  • The role turmeric plays in memory function. 
  • Which ingredient in turmeric can help slow aging of the brain. 

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Transcript:

SHAWN STEVENSON: You are now listening to The Model Health Show with Shawn Stevenson. For more, visit themodelhealthshow.com. Welcome to the Model Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert, Shawn Stevenson, and I'm so grateful for you tuning in to me today. On this episode, we're going to be talking about 10 foods that are proven to boost your memory, focus, and overall brain health. Now, the information that you're going to learn today is the latest peer-reviewed research that is featured in the new Eat Smarter Family Cookbook. Now we're going to kick things off with number one on this list of top 10 brain boosting foods, number one is acai. Prized for thousands of years in countries like Brazil, this Amazonian berry has received great acclaim in recent years, and for good reason. It has some remarkable health benefits, including being good for your brain. Technically, acai berries aren't actually berries, by the way, because they contain pits like peaches and olives. They're actually in the family of drupes. All right, but nevertheless, they're commonly referred to as berries. So, we're just going to keep it in the berry box.

 

Now, research published in Nutritional Neuroscience shows that acai has the potential to protect our brain as we age, and protect our brains from excessive inflammation, which is a huge issue that a lot of people are dealing with in modern society. Now, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have recently affirmed that neuroinflammation, specifically hypothalamic inflammation in the master gland in the human brain that's really helping to regulate our metabolism, inflammation there is leading to excessive belly fat and insulin resistance, and tragically, excessive amounts of belly fat and insulin resistance is causing more inflammation in the brain. So, we can get into this vicious circle, and now we have foods like acai to step in and help to break that cycle, help to transition from a vicious cycle into more of a virtuous cycle. And this is why I'm so excited about this food in this top 10 list.

 

Now moving on another study conducted by scientists at the Human Nutrition Research Center on aging at Tufts University found that acai can actually mitigate the effects of excessive stress exposures, oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. The researcher stated that this study "Offers valuable insights into the protective effects of acai pulp fractions on brain cells, which could have implications for improved cognitive and motor functions." Now, part of the reason acai has been found to be so beneficial for brain health is its incredible concentration of diverse antioxidants. Acai is actually one of the most antioxidant-rich foods ever discovered with one of the highest ORAC values. Now, ORAC is Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. All right, so it's really helping to scavenge free radicals in our bodies and it kind of help to neutralize inflammatory events. So just one of the things that makes it so special. Now, acai bowls are one of the conventional ways that acai is being utilized today. It's super popular. There's acai bowl places popping up all over.

 

But what people don't often realize is that many of the benefits that can be extracted from acai are getting nullified due to the processed sugar that's often coming along with the acai. And added to that, all the high fructose content toppings that can come along oftentimes, and what tends to happen is that something that can be incredibly healthy is now ending up being something that is blood glucose deranging and can disrupt our metabolic health. So, what we want to do is utilize acai, but in a more intelligent fashion. So, number one, you're going to be getting acai typically as frozen pulp, and there are generally going to be two options. One is going to be a sweetened version that's sweetened oftentimes with cane sugar, and one is going to be unsweetened. Get the unsweetened version, and then you can utilize your own sweetener of choice and you can regulate the amount of sweetener that you're using. So that's another really important point, is being able to make your own.

 

Now the question is, how do you make a fire acai bowl that's better than anything out there? And that's what we're delivering in the Eat Smarter Family Cookbook. As a matter of fact, we are really leveraging the opportunity to not just get this acai into our bodies, but also creating a high protein version of an acai bowl and just stacking on those benefits. But we're not short at all on the deliciousness. As a matter of fact, I've got a special guest here to tell you about our acai bowls. Come on over here, B. My son, Braden, is in the studio with us today. Tell them a little bit about our acai bowls, how they taste.

 

BRADEN STEVENSON: The way you make?

 

SHAWN STEVENSON: Yes.

 

BRADEN STEVENSON: Well, the acai bowls that I've experienced having is lowkey fire. That's all I got to say 'cause you already know, he just explained why acai bowls are amazing. Got all of the nutrition, all the deliciousness. It's a little snack to have in the middle of the day. You feeling me?

 

SHAWN STEVENSON: Well, how about the taste? They taste really good?

 

BRADEN STEVENSON: Yes.

 

SHAWN STEVENSON: Is it like the best? Just be honest. Is it the best acai bowl out there?

 

BRADEN STEVENSON: Yours?

 

SHAWN STEVENSON: Yes.

 

BRADEN STEVENSON: Yes, it's definitely better than... I don't know if y'all had this place, Qwench, they're better than Qwench, in my opinion.

 

SHAWN STEVENSON: All right.

 

BRADEN STEVENSON: It's better than Qwench.

 

SHAWN STEVENSON: My boy, you've got on an acai almost colored shirt too.

 

BRADEN STEVENSON: Yeah.

 

SHAWN STEVENSON: So, shout out to that. Thank you, B. Love you, bud.

 

BRADEN STEVENSON: Love you too.

 

SHAWN STEVENSON: All right, so you get kid-tested, parent-approved. All right, so I'm not just blowing smoke here. The acai bowls taste phenomenal. So, we really cracked the code on the flavor side, but also adding in these really remarkable ingredients. So, make sure to pick up a copy of the Eat Smarter Family Cookbook. We've got 100 delicious recipes all backed by science. There's over 250 scientific references in a cookbook. It's never been done before. And so, there's a tremendous amount of education around social science and how our environment, how our social circles, friends and family affect our food choices and health outcomes. And we really need to get this in the hands of everybody really in our society because we're not doing well, especially our children.

 

One of the studies that I bring forth in the book for the first time in a published book, and this was recently published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, they were looking at the ultra-processed food intake by US children and adolescents over about a 20-year time span. So, starting in 1999 up to 2018, they found that American children today, currently, almost 70% of their diet is made of ultra-processed foods. So, foods that are so denatured, so far removed from anything real, we can't even recognize where they come from, and creating all this metabolic disruption that's leading to epidemics of health problems in our children, and of course, as we're growing into adults as well. And so, this is something we can do something about, but it starts with education, it starts with empowerment, it starts with family.

 

And again, I'm really, really excited about this. By the way, go to eatsmartercookbook.com right now, so you can pre-order the book. You're going to be one of the first to get it. And by doing that, you're going to be automatically entered into the 25K health and fitness giveaway. So we're giving away $25,000 in health and fitness goodies. So for example, like $500 fitness prize packs from Onnit, $500 in groceries delivered to your home via Thrive Market, and all other cool stuff like that. And also you get free access to the 2023 Family Health and Fitness Summit. You get a free ticket to that. You could attend virtually from anywhere in the world. The ticket for the event is $297. You get it free, and you get to hear from world-leading experts in health and fitness nutrition, but who also have kids.

 

SHAWN STEVENSON: And again, we're not bringing on anybody who has theory about this stuff, but really who has a family, who has children, and they found how to create a culture of health within their family construct. And so like we've got Dr. Amy Shaw, for example, who's a nutrition specialist, but really a specialist in circadian medicine and looking at the timing of things and how it affects our health outcomes. And we got Laila Ali, undefeated boxing champion. Yes, a daughter of the greatest of all time. Yes, but she also won the cooking show, Chopped, twice, and she's an amazing cook. My son, Braden and I and my family, we've eaten with Laila several times. Her food is fantastic. All right. But also Laila, she's one of the busiest people I've ever met, but she's made it a mandate that she makes family dinner for her family multiple times each week, three to four times a week at minimum. And it's just like, how do you do that? So you get to hear from Laila. How has she been able to do that with all she has going on in our lives?

 

SHAWN STEVENSON: You get to hear from a ton of other experts, Dr. Daniel Amen, Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, the list goes on and on, and get to hear like, how do they deal with picky eaters? How do they consistently eat together with their families, if that's one of their passions? How do they save money on groceries with the family? So we're just stacking the goodness here. We're really working to create a movement. So again, go to eatsmartercookbook.com and get your copy today. Now moving on, I mentioned by upping the protein content in the acai bowl and utilizing a sweetener, this is incredibly rare. As a matter of fact, the benefits found in this sweetener are so remarkable, it's kind of a little disrespect to call it a mere sweetener. And this is what's making... Part of what's making this acai bowl so special, and if you're wondering what that sweetener is, it's next up on our list.

 

SHAWN STEVENSON: Number two on our list of 10 foods to improve your memory, focus and overall brain health, number two is honey. A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nutrients, detailed how raw honey, keyword raw, raw honey intake can improve fasting blood sugar levels. Again, this study again published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nutrients, found that raw honey intake can improve fasting blood sugar levels, improve lipid metabolism, so fat metabolism in the body, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, the scientists noted that the vast antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that honey has was part of the reason leading to these results. Now let's look at honey's influence on brain health specifically. A study published in a journal, evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine titled The Neurological Effects of Honey determine that honey antioxidants have nootropics effects such as memory enhancement. Honey can improve your memory. Shout out to Jessica Alba. All right, one of the classic dance flicks, Honey. All right, well, we're not talking about that Honey. We're talking about the delicious bee product.

 

Plus, a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study revealed that honey was able to outperform a placebo and significantly reduce... So, this is in the context of like what if you're under the weather, reducing cough frequency and severity at night and improving sleep quality, and anything that can help to improve sleep quality is going to improve healing, is also going to be very, very good for our brain. The benefits go on and on and on. There are so many studies affirming the benefits of honey that I really had to kind of dwindle them down to the hardest hitters to even fit them into the book. And so, the keyword again was raw honey. So, this is not heat-treated honey. So, the enzymes, vast amount of enzymes that are in this honey are active, and all of these incredible nutrients and antioxidants are in their bioavailable state. That's what really makes it special. But here's the thing too, if you're getting raw honey, you want to make sure that it's actually being third party-tested for toxicants. All right because our environment is very different than it used to be. And there's one honey, and this is what my family uses, it's on our shelves all the time. I love this honey.

 

This honey is third party-tested for over 70 pesticide residues and pervasive offenders, things like DDT, E. Coli, salmonella, mercury, lead. These things have been found in honeys out there on the streets, but not in the Superfood Honey from Beekeeper's Naturals. Go to beekeepersnaturals.com/model. That's B-E-E-K-E-E-P-E-R-S.com/model. You get 20% off. Their phenomenal Superfood Honey is what we use for our recipes at my house and also their nootropic brain fuel based on royal jelly is phenomenal. Their propolis immune spray, I had that this morning. So many incredible things. Again, pop over there, check them out. 20% off storewide when you go to beekeepersnaturals.com/model. That's B-E-E-K-E-E-P-E-R-S naturals.com/model. So again, there's something really, really special about honey, and I've been thinking about this a lot recently. Humans have been driven towards sweet things for thousands and thousands of years.

 

SHAWN STEVENSON: It is if we're talking about something called post-ingestive feedback, this phenomenon of having certain flavors in nature, and then our body keeping track of nutrient density, caloric density, how much energy we can extract from this food, we've been driven to eat sweet things for that reason. And it's okay that we're sweetie pies. We're sweet-craving, sweet-seeking creatures. That's okay. It's not okay, of course, that food scientists have manipulated our desire for sweet, tasty things and utilizing ultra-processed foods to rope us in. But again, looking back on what have humans been using the longest as a sweetener, and what have we been associating with, our biology, our genes the longest, and that sweetener is honey. That sweetener is honey. And so I've been really bullish on honey recently because, of course, we've got vast amount of different sweeteners today, low glycemic sweeteners, things like stevia and monk fruit and the like.

 

And then we've got artificial sweeteners. The list goes on and on, and we've seen some... A lot of controversy around all of these things really. And so again, if we are using these in intelligent fashion, having a few drops of some liquid stevia here or there, that's not a problem. But when we're buying bags of these sweeteners that look like cane sugar, they look like cocaina, all right, they look like something that could be sold out there on the streets, illicit drugs, bags of it, your psychology, we need to flip the switch on to realize like, "Oh, that's an ultra-processed food and it is what it is. It's a ultra-processed food." So, we need to be mindful of that. We're switching over a lot of well-intentioned researchers, nutritionist, physicians are trying to get people to switch over, for example, in their cooking processes and utilizing these low-glycemic, naturally derived. Let's be clear, they're still naturally derived. We get stevia, for example, but the real stevia leaf itself, and my family knows this, I've experimented with everything, so years and years ago before stevia was popular, I got the real stevia leaves, some dried leaves, and they're these sweet little leaves. They actually have a nice little sweetness, but they have this kind of mediciney kind of aftertaste to it.

 

And it's very different from the more concentrated stevia drops and things like that that have some additional flavors added to them. But these are all things that we can experiment with. But for me, I really want to advocate for what have humans been doing the longest. What if we can get a sweetener that actually makes us smarter? What if we can get a sweetener that actually improves our metabolic health? That's incredibly rare. This is why, again, even to label honey as a sweetener is mad disrespectful. Let's just be honest. Honey is in a league of its own, truly. Very, very special food.

 

And now let's move on to number three on our list of the 10 foods to improve your memory, focus and overall brain health. Number three is wild-caught salmon. Fatty fish are a rich source of docosahexaenoic acid, aka DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA. These are Omega-3 fats that are critical for maintenance of your brain and nervous system. This is why fatty fish like salmon can improve our cognition and mental wellbeing. A brain imaging study cited in the journal, Neurology, found that people who have the lowest intake of EPA and DHA have the highest rates of brain shrinkage. They were actually looking at people's brains and they found that people who have the lowest intake of these Omega-3s that are coming primarily from seafood from fatty fish have the highest rate of brain atrophy. Their brains are shrinking over time. We don't want shrinkage of any form, alright? We want to be robust at all opportunities, all right? And so, we want to protect our brains and part of that is making sure that we're getting in adequate amounts of EPA and DHA. The researchers noted that the lack of EPA and DHA in the diet was particularly harmful to the memory center of the brain. Alright? The hippocampus, which lost neurons at a rate equivalent to two additional years of abnormal aging, basically compared to their peers. If they weren't getting in adequate amounts of DHA and EPA, their brains were functionally two years older.

 

Now they stated that people who ate less than four grams of these Omega-3s per day showed the highest rate of brain shrinkage, while those who ate 6 grams or more had the healthiest shrink proofed brains. Now let's talk about where to get this from. Like does this actually show up in the data if people are eating seafood well researchers at Rush University Medical Center uncovered that adults who eat at least one seafood meal per week do in fact perform better on cognitive skills test than people who consume less.

 

Additionally, a meta-analysis published in Translational Psychiatry found that the omega-3s found in fatty fish have a beneficial effect on individuals with major depressive disorders. So, when looking at brain health, when looking at cognition, we don't want to be in a silo and negate the fact that alterations or abnormalities in our brain health can lead to mood disorders as well. So, there's something really remarkable again about these omega-3s. Now, depending on the variety of salmon from wild Alaskan coho salmon to wild Alaskan king salmon, an 8-ounce filet can provide 1.5 grams up to 5 grams of these vital omega-3s in a single serving. All right, so we're really at that mark just one 8 ounce serving of what's recommended to prevent atrophy of the brain to prevent brain shrinkage. Again, depending on the variety of salmon that you're getting with, really king salmon is the king when it comes to these omega-3s. And so, this is a food definitely to consider adding in. There are other fatty fish as well that provide great sources of DHA and EPA, but this is why salmon has been kind of on that list of brain healthy foods for so many different people.

 

But for me, I'm like, I'm diving in, I'm checking out research that a lot of people aren't even looking at trying to find out, like, does this really stack up? But not just in this kind of vanilla way, but is there something exceptional about it? And what jumped out to me was the fact that people not getting enough of these omega-3s literally had brains that were shrinking and basically degenerating at an advanced rate compared to their peers. So, this is one of my favorite foods, actually, my family just had it yesterday, but one of my favorite recipes is the honey sriracha. Honey sriracha salmon that's in the Eat Smarter Family Cookbook. You're going to love it. All right? It's one of my favorite things. It's got little spiciness complimented with that sweetness, and it's another use of honey as well. Oh, we're just stacking it. That's the thing. You learn about these studies in the book, and then we talk about how to best use it. We learn about the studies on these incredible foods, and then we eat the foods.

 

All right. That's what it's really about. Now, moving on, on our list of the 10 foods to improve your memory focus and overall brain health, we've got a beverage. All right? So, it's not necessarily something that you nibble on, but you can, all right, there's all kinds of foods that are actually utilizing the source of this beverage, which are coffee beans. And number four on this list is coffee. Many of us are well aware that coffee can improve mental performance, but few people know that regularly drinking coffee has been shown to prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. This attribute referenced in the journal, Practical Neurology, is yet another reason why smart coffee consumption. All right, keyword, smart coffee consumption here, keyword smart makes the list of neuro nutritious beverages.

 

Now, coffee can be in that category of controversial foods/beverages, and again, humans have been utilizing coffee for centuries. However, the real problem that has manifested today is all of the pesticide residues, like chlorpyrifos, for example, is regularly used in coffee growing, and it's been found to be associated with things like, yes, neurodegeneration, but also things like birth defects, miscarriages, like all kinds of crazy stuff. And it's still allowed, it's been caught up in red tape for a while, but we know that it's a dangerous pesticide. So that's part of the reason where we can get into some problems with coffee is the pesticide load. Not to mention the things typically added to the coffee, the abnormal amounts of processed sugars, processed creamers, artificial, this and that. So, it's not getting to the true essence of what coffee could be, which again, if used respectfully, then we can find some benefit here. So key word here for this one again, is respectfully, all right, you're respectful. I appreciate that. All right, that's what I would say to coffee. All right, you're smart, you're loyal. Shout out to DJ Khaled. But again, keeping in mind, we don't want to use coffee as a crutch, we don't want to create an abnormal addiction to anything really.

 

And so how do we best leverage the use of coffee? What is the minimum effective dose? The reason that this is here in this data, and it makes this list, is that there are few things truly that have been found to help to dramatically reduce the incidences of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. There's something really special here that coffee is doing for the human brain, but on the other side, if you go too far, it really is a bell-shaped curve of benefits. Without it, you're not going to get some of these benefits, and that's okay, but if too much, the benefits start to degrade. Definitely. So, let's look at another study here. And this was published in the journal Psychopharmacology, and it uncovered that drinking one large coffee a day, which was about 200 milligrams of caffeine, or four small cups of coffee in a day, which was around 65 milligrams of caffeine each, had remarkable benefits on mental performance. The researchers found that both methods of coffee intake led to equal improvements in alertness and improved reaction times, as well as enhanced performance on cognitive vigilance tasks. Activities that involve multitasking and task involving deep concentration. Again, special, special beverage if we're talking about organic high-quality coffee.

 

Now to take the coffee up a notch and the coffee that I drink and that I made for my wife and I this morning, and that coffee number one, yes, it's absolutely organic, high-quality coffee, but it's also infused with another brain nourishing medicinal mushroom called Lion's Mane. And scientists at the University of Malaya discovered that compounds in Lion's Mane are able to significantly improve the activity of nerve growth factor in our brains. And nerve growth factor is essential in the regulation of growth, maintenance, proliferation, and survival of our brain cells. Kind of important. All right, this is a really, really cool thing that Lion's Mane has been found to do. Now, this coffee is coming from my friends at Four Sigmatic, and so you could check them out. That's foursigmatic.com/model. That's F-O-U-R-S-I-G-M-A-T-I-C.com. And they've got some great bundles. They've got up to like 15% off for different bundles and features like free delivery on some things.

 

So, all kinds of cool stuff. And you get hookups, storewide as well. So huge fan of Four Sigmatic. Those guys are just awesome, by the way. I just really love what they do. And being the CEO, being from Finland he has been about that life for a long time with being a mushroom forager in his family lineage, and also the coffee culture being so strong there as well. But also, again, having far less rates of chronic diseases and far less rates of things like Alzheimer's and dementia in their culture as well than here in the US where coffee is often, again, riddled with pesticides and low quality sweeteners.

 

So, by the way, this doesn't mean that you can't make your coffee the way that you like it, all right? Using higher quality sweeteners, higher quality forms of fats, for example, and experimenting, find what really works for you, what feels good for you. You don't have to go right with the straight black unleaded. All right? That makes me think of people like... The TV show, "The Punisher", for example, Like the Punisher's character is always... Is the sh*t bad? He's always grunting and drinking the coffee. It's just like that guy's drinking some nasty coffee. I know it. It's like black and nasty all right. You don't have to do that. But if you're about that life, if you're about that Punisher type life, go for it all right. But we are trying to have this to be a pleasurable experience, and I really cracked the code on my favorite coffee recipe, and it's called The Superhero Coffee, and it's in the Eat Smarter Family Cookbook as well.

 

And with that being said, one of my favorite things to add to coffee and also several other dishes is our next brain boosting food. And this one is cinnamon. Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara discovered that phytonutrients in cinnamon can help comb out protein tangles in the brain made of something called tau proteins. These neurofibrillary tangles are actually one of the primary biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease. Listen to this. Cinnamon is able to comb out these tangles. It's really, really cool. Not only does cinnamon inhibit these tangles from happening in the first place, it also reduces oxidative stress and improves the overall health of neurons. Another study cited in The Journal of Neuro-immune Pharmacology discovered that cinnamon has the potential to improve the learning speed of folks with learning challenges by stimulating hippocampal plasticity. Again, this is the memory center of the human brain and cinnamon of all things has been found to stimulate and act upon that part of the brain.

 

How powerful is that? You probably got cinnamon in your cabinet, but the quality, the quality, all right, we don't want that random want to get... If you're going to utilize some of these spices, especially if they're going to be kind of in a concentrated form, get some organic spices, all right. Spend an extra dollar or two and invest in higher quality stuff when you can. All right? When I was working to improve my health and didn't really have much at all, I was getting organic and higher quality stuff when I could. And sometimes that would mean going to the farmer's market. And even though it's not USDA labeled organic, I talked to the farmers, and I found out that they're doing stuff the way that their ancestors have done. They're not utilizing all these synthetic toxic fertilizers and things like that. And so there are ways where there's a will, there's a way, where there's a will, there's a 1000 ways.

 

We just have to make it a priority and decide, and I promise a way will be manifested. Now, what's cool about cinnamon is that it's super easy to add to all kinds of dishes. Things like coffee, as we mentioned, but also smoothies and hot cereals, savory sweet chicken, and pork dishes, for example, sweet potatoes and more. And by the way, a little goes a long way as far as the research, so shoot for about a quarter teaspoon a day, and you're going to be getting some of these really cool benefits from cinnamon. All right, we're going to move on to number six on our list of 10 foods to improve your memory focus and overall brain health. And for this next brain boosting food, I want to tell you a little bit about phospholipids first. This category of fats are present throughout your entire body, but much more so inside of your brain.

 

This is another invaluable type of structural fat that actually makes up your brain cells. So that's in the same category as omega-3s, and actually phospholipids are made mostly out of omega-3s. And these phospholipids help to give your brain cells their shape, their strength, and their elasticity. Now, you can absolutely be able to extract, your body will extract some phospholipids from omega-3s, but there are certain foods that are very rich in omega-3s. A few of them include fish, obviously, crab meat, krill, milk, oats, sunflower seeds. These are all good sources, but cracking into the top of the list is eggs. You see what I did there? You see what I did the crack with the cracking into? Yeah.

 

Anyways, egg yolks pack a big nutritional punch with over 10,000 milligrams of phospholipids per 100 grams of product. That is power packed with phospholipids. Now, this speaks to some of the direct brain supportive benefits of eggs, but another phenomenal brain boosting nutrient found in eggs is choline. Now, choline is one of the most important things for developing your lifelong memory capabilities. Research conducted by scientists at the University of North Carolina postulates that your memory characteristics are heavily impacted by how much choline your mother ate during pregnancy and lactation. Choline is still even after that baby phase, all right, when you're baking in the oven and when you come out and you're on the tit, all right. After that choline is still important to the memory center of your brain throughout your life, and one of the very best places to find it is eggs.

 

Now, egg yolks in particular have gone in and out of fashion more times than short shorts and fanny packs, all right? I just saw somebody at the basketball court with a fanny pack on, I'm just like, "How? How's that?" It was not cool then it was cool. The Rock. The Rock's vintage photo he's got the fanny pack on, it's gone in and out of favour. All right another thing is the short shorts. All right? And I just talked to my wife about this yesterday. I was training, I had the above the knee joints on, all right, because I'm about that life.

 

But I remember it was a few years back right before the trend changed where we had the shorts was dangling past the knee, first of all then it got to a place where it's like only a couple of inches above your ankle if you're from where I'm from, all right? So, it's just like maybe a inch or two of your leg is getting any daylight so, they're barely even shorts. And to go from that, and the shorts took a jump above the knee again, which it used to be. Shout out to John Travolta in Grease, all right? It used to be like that, but I told my wife, we went on a trip, we was going to family vacation, and I brought them back, all right? And I was like, "Babe, this is where it's going. It was trying to mess with me a little bit." But she also was into the sugar daddy legs out here, all right? So, with that being said, these things go in and out of style as does egg yolks and enough is enough. That day is done.

 

Eggs have been utilized by humans for thousands and thousands of years, it's one of those things. And in nature, if a human hunter gatherer was to come across some eggs somewhere, oh my... They're all over it. They're eating it right there on the spot, all right? And now it's really looking at where did the idea, this kind of mutation of eggs being bad for you is because of the cholesterol content. And we've done masterclasses talking about cholesterol on this show many, many times. And cholesterol is... Just a brief summation of this. Cholesterol is one of the most important compounds for building your sex hormones. For helping to actually build... It's like a building block to make things like testosterone and estrogen. I can't even stress this enough how important this is because again, this is a building block of so many different things in our bodies, but also being packaged up and utilized by its cars, basically, that are shuttling different places in the body, HDL, LDL. HDL, high density lipoprotein, LDL, low density lipoprotein, these cars shuttling cholesterol to and from different places in the body. Actually, getting it shuttled back, for example, the role of HDL that's why it's so valuable.

 

And why is your body bringing it back to get recycled if it's so bad? It's such a valuable nutrient in the body that your body's actually sending it to be used again and again as much as it possibly can. Now, can there be some issues with this? Absolutely. We're not negating that. But if we look at specifically eggs in this context related to heart disease and the scare. The scare bears have been out here on the streets. Now, the myths about eggs and heart disease have been put to bed yet again by researchers from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Their data concluded that eating whole eggs specifically does not translate to increased risk of heart disease and problematic ratios of cholesterol. In fact, eating whole eggs was found to decrease heart disease risk. All right? This is just one of many. The majority of peer-reviewed data demonstrates that there is no increased risk of heart disease when eating eggs. All right. So again, we just need to put that to bed. If you don't like eggs, that's cool. No harm, no foul. But...

 

The data has been clear about this for a very long time, but because it has a compound that's been villainized and that compound being cholesterol, that's where this whole food gets demonized. Now again, eggs have some of the most packed sources of brain boosting nutrients ever seen. This is why it's so special. Again, those phospholipids, choline, vitamin D, omega 3s, ah, come on. The list goes on and on. And I'm a huge fan of utilizing eggs in creative ways. You know, a standard, just being able to scramble some, some eggs that, that takes a little bit of skill, all right? It was the first thing; this is a true story. First thing I ever made was some scrambled eggs. It was the first thing I ever made personally, like "cooked". It was for Mother's Day, and my mom was asleep, and I was like, I'm going to make her breakfast in bed.

 

And so, I scrambled the eggs up in a bowl and put them in a microwave because she never taught me how to use a stove. All right? Unfortunately, all right. And she ate them. I could see on her face maybe she didn't enjoy it that much, but because she was trying to not make me feel bad, she didn't let on that they weren't delicious, all right? But they didn't look right. All right? Since then, however, mastered my son Braden, who makes the best eggs?

 

BRADEN STEVENSON: You.

 

SHAWN STEVENSON: That's right. Alright, one word answer, boy, you that is me. I'm just known for that. But also, he knows how to make eggs. He's been known how to make all kinds of food for many years, and he's 11 right now. Shout out to my son Braden 11. He's about to hit his 12th birthday. And I'm so proud of you, man. And so being able to utilize, yes, okay, we can make the super simple stuff, some scrambled eggs over easy omelets, those kind of things. But what about frittatas? We've got a fantastic frittata recipe in the Eat Smarter Family Cookbook, and one of my favorite things is the Southwest chorizo scramble that's in the book as well. So, try that one. I think you're going to love it. Love it. Alright, let's move on to number seven on our list of 10 foods to improve your memory, focus and overall brain health. Number seven on our list is sweet potatoes. An analysis published in Archives of Pharmacal research revealed that anthocyanins in sweet potatoes exhibit memory enhancing effects. The researchers believe this is due to its potent antioxidant effects, right?

 

So, these anthocyanins are a really remarkable form of antioxidants that directly influence our memory. So, it's pretty cool. And again, sweet potatoes. There's so many different varieties by the way, we've got, obviously the orange is like kind of risen to the, the dominant form that we'll see here in the US grocery stores. But there are purple sweet potatoes. There's Japanese sweet potatoes that have the white inside, outside is a purple skin, and inside it has the white potatoey goodness. And there, there are others as well. But in particular, the orange sweet potato is the one that we're looking at here with these anthocyanins and the purple sweet potatoes as well, really pack a punch there. Now, another study found that sweet potatoes can be helpful in fat loss and reduce the risk of degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer's. This recent study published in the journal; Nutrients specifically analyze the inclusion of sweet potatoes on a macro-managed calorie restricted diet.

 

Okay, so macros are the same, calories are the same, but a group of the test subjects included sweet potatoes as part of their diet. Now, the participants who included sweet potatoes as part of their diet lost more weight and lost more body fat than the control group who weren't getting that sweet potato, all right? They didn't get the sweet potatoes. And again, macros the same. Calories the same, sweet potato did something really interesting to their metabolic health. Plus, the sweet potato group had a greater drop in glycated hemoglobin levels. This is hemoglobin A1C. This is a marker for risk of insulin resistance, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease. Shout out to sweet potatoes. Another really amazing food that we can use in really awesome ways. And one of my favorite ways to utilize sweet potatoes is sweet potato pancakes. All right, my family is about that life when it comes to brunch foods.

 

We love it. And so, I crafted these sweet potato protein pancakes, and it's one of my favorite recipes in the Eat Smarter Family Cookbook. And again, it's just another unique way that we can utilize sweet potatoes. There's also an incredible enchilada recipe as well that has sweet potatoes. And there's even a sweet potato smoothie. I know it sounds crazy, but wow, it is super delicious. It's like sweet potato pie in a glass. So, it's pretty awesome. Now again, this is just taking advantage of real whole foods to make some of the things that we're accustomed to, to just really upgrade the quality of some of the foods that we love. And that's what this was really about, was we didn't want to jump from families eating primarily ultra-processed foods to doing something that's so strange and so different that it makes that bridge more difficult to get to, right? So, we're just upgrading the ingredients of a lot of our family favorites, and this is what, it's just another reason really that makes this so special, and I'm very, very proud of this.

 

So, we're going to move on to number eight on our list of 10 foods to improve your memory focus and overall brain health. Number eight is olive oil. Groundbreaking research conducted by scientists at Auburn University asserts that extra virgin olive oil has the potential to reduce brain inflammation, improve autophagy in the brain, and improve the function of the blood brain barrier. Now, autophagy is part of the brain's self-cleaning process. It's the body's way of cleaning out damaged cells in order to "Make room to regenerate newer, healthier cells." And in the brain, impaired autophagy is another ingredient seen in neurodegenerative diseases. Now, extra virgin olive oil. Key words here, extra virgin olive oil. This means that it's not heat processed, it's not heat treated. All right?

 

And also, it should be traditionally utilizing a cold pressing of the oil and bottled in dark glass. If your olive oil is not in dark glass, you don't want to have it, all right? These oils can leach plastics if it's in a plastic bottle, and if it's a clear bottle, light can oxidize our oils. They're light sensitive and heat sensitive. All right? This is why again, traditionally, people knew this, they figured this out centuries ago. Why would they do that? Why would you put this in a dark bottle? What's wrong with you, Leonardo da Vinci? He's just like, "Oh, it's because of figuring it out." Shout out to Leonardo, Donatello, Rafael, all of them, alright? Now, keeping in mind this process of you like that B? [chuckle] I saw you. I saw you. As part of our normal metabolism brain cells produce wastes that need to be removed from our brain, and it's kind of like taking out the metabolic trash. And so this is again speaking to why autophagy is so important and why olive oil can be such a support. A major waste product that can be accumulated in the brain is harmful Amyloid beta peptide. And this is essentially kind of in this category of a toxic protein, but it's not...

 

That's really just kind of painting it in one bad picture, but the story's bigger than that. But just for our intents and purposes we'll put it in that light. And this is linked to Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. And the ability to clear out these "plaques" appears to be enhanced by the oleocanthal. All right? This is the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phenol that's contained in olive oil. So, supporting autophagy is serious business. As a study published in current biology states that autophagy is actually required for new memory formulation. Alright? Please hear what I'm saying. Autophagy, clearing out the old is what enables new memory formation. So, if you're finding as the years roll on that your ability to remember things, that capacity has been reduced, we need to really focus our attention on making room. Being able to clear out metabolic wastes to support autophagy so that we can continue to make and retain the memories that we want.

 

All right. So, bottom line here is that a sharp memory isn't just about getting the good stuff in, it's also about getting the not so good stuff out and olive oil is one of these unique foods traditionally used that has its affinity towards healing and supporting brain health. And again, dark glass, extra virgin, and we want to utilize it. Ideally, not always cooking with it so we want to use it as a finisher after our food is plated and cooked already to just drizzle on a little bit of extra virgin olive oil on top, making salad dressings. That's been done for a long time as well. This is something else that we can do to really get the most out of this olive oil. And also, you can cook with olive oil. So, keep in mind it does hold up pretty well as far as a smoke point. And again, just those kind of spot instances, we want to switch over. We definitely want to get rid of these oils that have invaded our families’ cabinets and our food system just in the last couple of decades.

 

Some newly invented sh*t that we should not be eating, alright? And I'm talking about these highly processed, denatured, degraded, highly oxidized "vegetable oils." One of the studies that I highlight in the Eat Smarter Family cookbook was published in the journal, Inhalation Toxicology. And they found that just smelling the fumes of "vegetable oil," things like canola oil while cooking can damage your DNA. Just smelling the fumes while cooking with that incredibly abnormal, ultra-processed food, newly invented... Olive oil, thousands of years, canola oil, couple decades. And it is truly in every sense an ultra-processed food. If you look at how olive oil is made, olives are crushed, oil bottled. If you look at how canola oil is made, oh, where do I even begin? Not only is this so-called food incredibly low in oils, so it takes a tremendous amount to be able to extract any oil from these things versus olive oils they're so rich in oils, by the way, but with something like canola, a lot goes into being able to extract them in the first place then they're heat treated, extremely high heat that's going to damage the innate polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs that are found in high ratios in these oils causing massive amounts of oxidation.

 

So, you're just going to be drinking or eating free radical inducing substances when you're eating foods that have these oils in them, and it is what it is. And they're utilizing chemical bleaching agents, deodorizing agents because it stinks, alright. And creating this uniform oil that simply doesn't really exist in nature in an easily accessible way like again, with olives, you press the olive, and you get the oil all right. "Vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil," like we're talking about, that stuff is of every sense of this term ultra-processed. And so, we're switching over for good.

 

Olive oil, that's going to be one of our go-tos. Of course, we've got coconut oil, we've got ghee, grass fed butter. These things have been utilized again for thousands of years, alright? And then we've got other forms of high quality, low processed oils that can be utilized as well. We talk about all this in the Eat Smarter Family Cookbook. Now moving on, we've got number nine on our list of 10 foods to improve your memory focus and overall brain health. Number nine is turmeric, noted for its exceptional antioxidant capacity turmeric has been found to enhance brain hygiene by giving your brain a virtual spa treatment. Scientists from the department of neurology at USC found that the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, well, one of the active ingredients in turmeric. Curcumin is able to help eliminate amyloid plaque buildup, slow down the aging of your brain cells, excavate heavy metals from your brain and reduce inflammation in your brain.

 

What? That's pretty remarkable. Now turmeric is in the ginger family, and it's really grown in acclaim recently, but again, certain cultures have been utilizing it for centuries. And something really noteworthy about curcumin is that it's also been revealed to improve the function of your resident macrophage cells that operate as the frontline of your brain's immune system. In the instance that an unwelcome invader is able to finesse its way past the blood-brain barrier and get into your brain, these cells are there to basically pull up on them and open up a can of, you know what? In order to protect your brain at all costs, alright? You don't, the invaders, they don't want it with turmeric. Alright? Now known as your microglia, they participate in overall brain maintenance and are constantly scavenging your brain and the rest of your central nervous system for plaques damaged or unnecessary neurons and synapses, and as noted, any infectious agents that sneak their way through.

 

Because of these incredible features, turmeric has been noted in multiple studies to improve memory function. And to put a good brain hygiene final touch on this, research published in the journal PLOS ONE revealed that curcumin is capable of improving neuroplasticity and stimulating the creation of new brain cells. Really remarkable. Now, keep in mind, curcumin isn't the only powerful brain boosting nutrient found in turmeric, there are several others. This is what makes it so special is that there are all these other antioxidants and a variety of phytonutrients that work in synergy together. This is why the isolated version of these things is cool in spot instances, but we really want concentrates of the real thing. And one of those compounds is highlighted in a study cited in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy, and it detailed how neural stem cells proliferated 50-80% faster when exposed to varying levels of a compound called ar-turmerone that's found in turmeric.

 

And animals that were injected with ar-turmerone showed both increased proliferation of neuro stem cells, this means more total neuro stem cells by the way, and increased neurogenesis. So, this is the creation of new neurons. Now again, turmeric has risen in popularity recently because of all these incredible benefits but again, it's an ancient old brand-new food for a lot of people. Now obviously, or maybe not so obvious for some people, one of the go-tos to get a great amount of turmeric is going to be in a curry, all right? And one of my family's favorite slow cooker curry recipes is in the Eat Smarter Family Cookbook as well, and it's one of those great ways to really wholesome way. Do you know how you eat certain food it just feels like a hug from somebody that you love, maybe it's your grandma, your auntie? But that's really what I get, the vibe that I get from the slow cooker curry recipe. And it's one of those things, it just helps us to really, certain foods and sitting down and eating with your family is so rejuvenative as the data indicates, that you'll learn about as well. So, if you're in a hurry, have a curry. All right?

 

Shout out to Chef Curry with The Pot. All right shout out to Steph Curry. Now, in addition to that, we can also have a concentrate of turmeric itself. And this is one of the supplements that I utilize on a regular basis. And it's the organic turmeric complex from Paleovalley. All right? Now again, this is a turmeric concentration that also has bio-potentiators that are combined with it so that it increases the absorption and utilization of your cells, including your brain cells. And again, it's all organic, no binders, no fillers, no crazy stuff, they do it the right way. Go to paleovalley.com/model, that's P-A-L-E-O-V-A-L-L-E-Y.com/model, and you get 20% off everything storewide. Alright? So really, really cool, paleovalley.com/model for 20% off. And now moving on, we're at our final one here on our list, number 10 on the list of 10 foods to improve your memory, focus and overall brain health.

 

Number 10, we have walnuts. Compounds found in walnuts have been shown to help scrub your brain clear of the harmful amyloid beta peptide that leads to bonafide amyloid plaque buildup. The data highlighted in the journal, Neurochemical Research demonstrates that walnuts have the potential to reduce oxidative stress in the brain, reduce inflammation, and protect your brain cells from an early demise. Now, walnuts are packed with brain healthy vitamins, minerals, and fats. And if you look at the doctrine of signatures, walnuts kind of look like a brain, like very eerily similar to what the human brain looks like, even having the, the two lobes, you know, and so, and all the wrinklies. But in addition to that, you know, the vitamins, minerals, and fats. Recent research from UCLA suggests that eating a handful of walnuts per day may help to boost your memory, improve your concentration, and improve the speed at which your brain processes information.

 

All right. Pretty cool. Pretty cool indeed. So, walnuts are another one of these brain supportive super foods, and it's another food that we're utilizing. Okay, yes, we've got this great science, but how can we best utilize walnuts in delicious ways? And one of them is making this incredible superfood pesto. And if you know about a good pesto, ooh, there are very few things that are tasty as a good pesto. And you can utilize it in a variety of dishes. You know, traditionally, you know, maybe some kind of a pasta vibe, but also for things like making wraps and sandwiches, a great pesto can be delicious there as well. And so, again, I hope that you got a lot of value out of this recipe. And if you've gotten value out of the Model Health Show, this is your time to step up as a community.

 

We need to make sure that we get this book in as many hands as possible, and we are really working to create a movement. So, I need you right now. If you've got any value from this show at all, this is my request from you. Please go to eatsmartercookbook.com today and pre-order your copy. Let stores around the country know that we demand having copies of this book nationwide. We have campaigns going on, yes, Barnes & Noble, Target Stores and the like. But we want this book to be everywhere. We want it to be in airports. We want it to make sure that this book is front and center, major media and the like. You know, we've got some things going on. You're going to see book launch week, you're going to see me a lot of really cool places, but it's not going to stop there.

 

We're working to create a movement for families, for reconnection, for health. We have to change things for our future generations. We have to change things for us. And this is a guide to do it. It's one of those things that we can give to the people that we love, that is a true guide to wellness. Yes, they get the encouragement, the science, the empowerment, absolutely. But they also have these phenomenal recipes. All they got to do is make a couple of recipes and start to bring in more intelligence into their cells. Because food isn't just food, it's information. And so, we're working to change the stuff that we're made up of as a society, because right now most of us are made of ultra-processed synthetic foods. The very ingredients used to make ourselves and our children has changed dramatically in recent years. It's not an accident that we're experiencing these multiple epidemics of chronic illness. And so, again, if you've gotten any value out of this show, please head over to eatsmartercookbook.com, get your copy and be a part of this movement. I appreciate you so very much for tuning into this episode. We got some incredible masterclasses and world-class guests coming your way very, very soon. So, make sure to stay tuned. Take care, have an amazing day, and I'll talk with you soon.

 

And for more after this show, make sure to head over to themodelhealthshow.com. That's where you can find all of the show notes. You can find transcriptions, videos for each episode. And if you have got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that this show is awesome. And I appreciate that so much and take care. I promise, to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.

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