The power of plant foods and the brain!


The life-enhancing effects of colorful, fresh food are nigh to miraculous. We know that a rich and varied diet–some nutritionists call it “The Rainbow Diet,” benefits all of the systems of the body.

Studies over the last couple of decades have shown that the more colorful produce and botanicals we include in the daily foods we eat, the healthier our hearts are, our skin is more resilient against the damaging effects of overexposure to sun and pollution and even our emotional health receives a boon: Researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand found in one study that people who consume more fruits and vegetables experience more happiness and satisfaction with life. Even more creativity! (Read about that exciting bit of info at

Now the newest science is showing that our brains become stronger and age better with fruits and vegetables.

The author of the most recent plants and brain health study, Dr. Thomas Holland of Rush University, Chicago, says that those who eat the most amount of plant flavanols (the colorful beneficial chemicals in produce) have the greatest chance of lowering their dementia risk.

Three flavanols seemed to enhance brain health the most: isorhamnetin, kaempferol and lyricetin.

“This research lends a further understanding of the contents of the foods we eat,” Holland said. “The bioactives in foods — which from our research would be specifically flavonols found in kale, spinach, tomatoes, tea, olive oil, apples, pears, and over 20 other foods — have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that have the potential to protect against cellular damage due to oxidative stress and sustained inflammation.”

Are you eating these foods? They were the big stars in Rush University’s findings…

Foods containing isorhamnetin:

Foods containing kaempferol:

Foods containing lyricetin:

If you’re wanting to learn how to greater enhance your health through the foods you enjoy–Dr. Michael Dunbar, the naturopath at Awakenings, is a fabulous resource!

Sources: MedPageToday, and