Power Foods for Body & Brain – Dr. Neal Barnard, MD, FACC

There are many problems with diets that involve starvation or restrict healthy eating. However, a diet based on healthy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans is the fuel your body needs to succeed and repair damage caused by years of unhealthy eating.

In the past, diabetes was seen as a progressive disease with no way to prevent or reverse it. However, we now have more knowledge and tools to take control of our health and make positive changes for ourselves and our loved ones.

Diabetes rates are increasing, and many people believe that avoiding carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes, and rice, is the solution. However, if we look at countries like Japan, where rice is a dietary staple, we see that diabetes rates were low before 1980. The increase in diabetes in Japan is linked to the introduction of Western fast food chains and a decrease in rice consumption.

This shows us that diabetes is not caused by eating rice and is not primarily genetic. It is influenced by our diet and lifestyle choices. In the United States, our meat-based diet and increased consumption of meat, cheese, and sugar have contributed to the obesity and diabetes epidemic.

Exercise alone cannot solve this problem. We need to change our eating habits and adopt a diet that aligns with how humans have historically eaten. This means focusing on plant-based foods and reducing our intake of unhealthy fats, cholesterol, and sodium.

As we can see from the changing map of diabetes rates, our diet directly impacts our health. Even in states like Colorado, where overall rates are lower, the situation is worsening.

Researchers have found that Seventh Day Adventists, who follow a plant-based diet, tend to have better health outcomes. This suggests that by making changes to our diet, we can improve our overall health and prevent or manage conditions like diabetes.

You are putting Adventists under the microscope. Seventh-day Adventists are supposed to avoid tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and meat. Most Adventists follow the first three guidelines, but some do eat meat. They are non-smokers and non-drinkers. In 2009, the American Diabetes Association published data on BMI (body mass index). They looked at nearly 61,000 people and separated them based on their habitual diet.

Their findings showed that non-vegetarians had a BMI of about 28.8, while semi-vegetarians had a slightly lower BMI. Pescovegetarians, lactoovo vegetarians, and vegans had even lower BMIs. The only group that fell within the healthy weight range was the vegans. The same gradient was observed when looking at diabetes rates, with the mediators having the highest rates and the vegans having the lowest.

Based on these results, our research team decided to test a vegan diet on postmenopausal women with moderate to severe weight problems. We asked them to avoid animal products and keep oils to a minimum. The diet consisted of fruits, grains, vegetables, and legumes. No calorie counting or carb counting was required. After 14 weeks, the average person had lost 13 pounds, their waist size had decreased by two inches, and their insulin sensitivity had improved.

We then tracked these women for two more years and compared them to a control group following a chicken and fish diet. Over the long run, the control group did not fare as well as the vegan group. The vegan group experienced sustained weight loss and improved health markers.

Encouraged by these results, the National Institutes of Health funded a study in which we compared a plant-based diet to a conventional diabetes diet. After 22 weeks, the vegan group had a significant drop in hemoglobin A1c levels, which was even better than the results from any other diet or diabetes medication. These findings were exemplified by the experiences of individuals like Vance and Nancy, who saw dramatic improvements in their health after adopting a vegan diet.

In conclusion, a vegan diet has been shown to be effective for weight loss, blood sugar control, and overall health improvement. By avoiding animal products and focusing on plant-based foods, individuals can achieve long-lasting results and potentially reverse conditions like diabetes.

Now, let’s take a closer look at how sugar is processed in our bodies. Sugar in our blood is primarily used by our muscles to power movements. In order for glucose to enter a muscle cell, it needs insulin, which acts like a key. This insulin attaches to a receptor on the cell, allowing glucose to enter and provide energy.

11 Best Foods to Boost Your Brain and Memory

Foods that are good for your brain can help keep it healthy and improve mental tasks like memory and concentration. This article discusses 11 foods that boost brain health, including fatty fish, coffee, blueberries, turmeric, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, nuts, oranges, eggs, and green tea.

Fatty fish

such as salmon and trout, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for learning and memory, and may help protect against mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease.


due to its caffeine and antioxidant content, can boost alertness, improve mood, and reduce the risk of neurological diseases.

Blueberries contain antioxidants that protect the brain from aging and neurodegenerative diseases and may improve memory and cognitive processes.

Turmeric and its active compound curcumin have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, reducing symptoms of depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

Broccoli is high in vitamin K, essential for brain cell formation, and other compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Pumpkin seeds

are rich in antioxidants and nutrients like magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper, which support brain function.

Dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain flavonoids and antioxidants that enhance memory, slow mental decline, and boost mood.

Nuts, particularly walnuts, are rich in nutrients like vitamin E, healthy fats, and plant compounds that improve heart and brain health.

Oranges and foods high in vitamin C defend the brain from free radicals and prevent mental decline.

Eggs provide vitamins B6 and B12, folate, and choline, which help regulate mood, memory, and cognitive function.

Green tea, with its caffeine and L-theanine content, boosts brain function, relaxation, and protects against mental decline.

7 Worst Foods for Your Brain
Kerri-Ann Jennings
Cheryl S. Grant
Kathy Warwick, RD, LD