12 of Our Favorite Cookbooks and Nutrition Resources to Help you Set the Table for Brain Health
Food can be a powerful protector of brain health with age. The growing body of clinical, observational, and laboratory research shows that your dietary pattern plays a major role in protecting brain function, especially when you start early. This is wonderful news for anyone who wants to prevent age-related, neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Once you know what foods protect brain health, the next step is to learn how to bring those nutrient-dense foods into your life. Making sustainable dietary changes can be a challenge, but with the right tools you’ll be enjoying delicious, brain-supportive meals in no time. We’ve put together a list of twelve of our favorite brain health related nutrition and lifestyle resources to educate and inspire. This list contains cookbooks and other informative resources from well-regarded neurologists, chefs, and nutritionists leading the way in the world of nutrition for brain health. Whether you want to learn more about how food can keep your brain healthy or want to expand your collection of delicious and nutritious recipes, these well-regarded resources are worth considering. Continue reading to learn why we love these experts and their work.
1. Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power by Lisa Mosconi, Ph.D.
Dr. Lisa Mosconi is well known for her research in early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. Her holistic approach to Alzheimer’s disease prevention stems from her PhD in Neuroscience and Nuclear Medicine and certification as an Integrative Nutritionist. She promotes a comprehensive approach to mitigating the risks related to memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, including appropriate medical care and integrative interventions like nutrition, physical activity, and intellectual fitness. Her book, Brain Food, sorts out fact from fiction to deliver her research-backed plan to keep your cognition sharp. She details which foods and nutrients the brain needs for fuel. This book stands out in its explanation of food as information: our lifestyle, including the foods we eat can turn our genes on or off. This means that even with a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease, what you eat and how you live can have a powerful impact in maintaining brain health with age. She arms you with knowledge of why the world’s healthiest diets are considered healthy, a quiz to help you assess where you are on the brain health spectrum, a comprehensive list of foods to include and avoid, a one-week menu plan, and 24 brain-health recipes inspired by Dr Mosconi’s childhood in Italy. This book is for you if you love a deeper dive into the science behind the power of nutrition and lifestyle in improving memory, preventing cognitive decline, and supporting mental health.
2. Brain Health Kitchen Website by Annie Fenn, M.D.
Dr. Annie Fenn is a physician, chef, and NeuroReserve advisor who is passionate about the role of diet and lifestyle in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. After a career in gynecology and obstetrics, she found that nutrition was a powerful tool in the journey toward long term brain health. After teaching brain healthy cooking classes as a part of the 8-week dementia prevention course, Brain Works, she founded Brain Health Kitchen to build a community around learning how to cook neuroprotective foods. Through this website (in addition to her live classes and lectures) she teaches students how to prevent cognitive decline using nutrition, mindfulness, physical activity, meditation, brain games, and quality sleep. The user-friendly website provides an informative, and recipe-packed resource for putting the science of nutrition, lifestyle, and brain health into practice. In the Brain Health Kitchen blog, you’ll find evidence-based information to help you sift through the never-ending claims about eating for brain health. Dr Fenn’s recipes are based on the Mediterranean dietary pattern, with a focus on nutrient-dense brain protective foods. This is a fabulous resource for staying up-to-date on nutrition, cooking skills, and lifestyle practices to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Find additional recipes from Annie at Brain Table by NeuroReserve, and look for her cookbook, coming in early 2023, with a focus specifically on cooking to fend off Alzheimer’s.
3. Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety: Nourish Your Way to Better Mental Health in Six Weeks by Drew Ramsey, M.D.
Dr. Drew Ramsey is a psychiatrist, author, farmer, founder of the Brain Food clinic in New York, and a proponent of using nutritional interventions in psychology. His integrative approach combines nutrition, psychotherapy, and responsible medication use to successfully address an array of mental health conditions. In his book, Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety, Dr. Ramsey breaks down the latest evidence in nutritional psychiatry and the gut-brain connection to explain that the food we eat impacts not only how we feel physically, but cognitively and emotionally as well. He highlights essential vitamins and minerals central to brain health, as well as anti-inflammatory and microbiome-building foods. These concepts are built into action-oriented steps as a 6-week kick-start food plan, which is rich in foods that can support brain-health and mental wellness. Even when we know what to do, getting started can be difficult. Dr. Ramsey has included tools to identify your barriers to making these changes and tips to find your motivation. This makes it an ideal option for anyone who is looking for a positive mindset as you put change into place.
4. The Alzheimer’s Prevention Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Boost Brain Health by Marwan Sabbagh, M.D. and Beau MacMillan
Dr. Marwan Sabbagh is a neurologist, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, and NeuroReserve advisor. As a lead investigator for many prominent national Alzheimer's prevention and treatment trials, Dr. Sabbagh is committed to developing a cure for age-related neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Together with chef Beau MacMillan, he created one of the early science-to-table cookbooks about Alzheimer’s prevention. The book is filled with antioxidant- and nutrient-rich foods to provide a proactive approach to maintaining brain health with age. Each recipe is based on the Mediterranean-style of eating, which is also known to reduce your risk of other chronic, inflammatory diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. You’ll find close to 100 recipes that include anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric and cinnamon, plus elements from nine brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, and olive oil. Incorporating these elements into a regular pattern of eating have been proven to significantly reduce the risk of multiple neurodegenerative diseases. This book provides a powerful opportunity to take control of your health by incorporating proven, brain-boosting nutrition into your daily diet.
Dr. Uma Naidoo is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, professional chef, and nutrition specialist, with expertise and interests intersecting in the field of nutritional psychiatry. She is the Founder and Director of Nutritional & Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, and is considered Harvard’s Mood-Food Expert and internationally regarded as a pioneer in nutritional psychiatry. Using cutting-edge research, Dr. Naidoo wrote This is Your Brain on Food, a thorough guide explaining the science behind food’s influence on mental and cognitive health. She details how a healthy diet can prevent and treat a wide range of conditions, including ADHD, depression, anxiety, dementia, sleep disorders, and more. Nutrition recommendations and recipes to optimize brain health are also included. This guide provides a great dive into the science for optimizing your brain health using food.
6. 30-Day Alzheimer’s Solution: The Definitive Food and Lifestyle Guide to Preventing Cognitive Decline by Dean Sherzai, M.D., Ph.D., and Ayesha Sherzai, M.D., MAS
Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai are award-winning neurologists dedicated to prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. Co-directors of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University, they’ve spent decades studying the impact of nutrition and lifestyle on their patients’ cognitive function. Based on their findings, their comprehensive Neuro Plan program is a plant-based, preventative approach to nutrition and lifestyle that has helped their patients prevent and sometimes reverse cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. In their 30-day guide, you’ll learn how nutrition, especially their “Neuro Nine” brain healthy foods, can support not just your brain, but total body health! This Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller provides actionable steps and 75 plant-based recipes to jumpstart your brain health diet and lifestyle. If you don’t know where to start with making brain supportive changes in your diet, this resource can help you take that first step.
7. Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life by Max Lugavere with Paul Grewal, M.D.
Max Lugavere is a bestselling author, top health podcaster and advocate for longevity, nutrition and brain health. He dedicated himself to learning everything he could about brain health, performance, and prevention after his mother was diagnosed with dementia, and spent years learning from top neurologists, scientists and clinicians to better understand her condition. He then went on to write Genius Foods, a comprehensive guide to brain optimization. In this New York Times bestseller, he highlights how the foods we eat directly affect our ability to focus, learn, create, analyze new ideas, and maintain a balanced mood. With the help of Dr. Paul Grewal, Lugavere breaks down the research on dementia prevention, cognitive optimization, and nutritional psychiatry, and offers action items for adopting better brain health. This book is a helpful resource for anyone looking to understand what you should be eating and why it’s important for your brain.
8. The Healthy Mind Cookbook: Big Flavor Recipes to Enhance Brain Function, Mood, Memory, and Mental Clarity by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelman
Rebecca Katz, Chef Emeritus with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Health Education, has a passion for using food to support optimal health. She is both Founder and Director of the Healing Kitchens Institute, where she educates the community on the medicinal power of food and provides hands-on cooking experiences to teach the art of creating flavorful and nourishing meals. Rebecca also works with healthcare professionals to add nutrition into their toolbox for patient care. Her passion and creativity can be seen in her interpretations of flavor, color and texture and their connection to nutrition. With multiple cookbooks focused on nutrition in the treatment of cancer, she has now combined her culinary skills with the latest research on nutrition and brain health to create The Healthy Mind Cookbook. She includes a nutrient pharmacy list and key ingredients for cognition, emotion, memory, and mood throughout the lifespan. Rebecca uses nutrient-dense foods and the key ingredients to develop flavor-packed recipes complete with nutritional details for each. This is a colorful and creative approach to the science of nutrition for brain health.
9. The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100 by Dan Buettner
Dan Buettner is an American National Geographic Fellow, founder of Blue Zones, and award-winning journalist, author, and producer. He has written and spoken extensively about his discoveries related to the Blue Zones – five geographically and culturally different places around the world with the longest-lived residents. He was awarded a grant from the National Institute on Aging and assembled a team of scientists to find the common denominators between these populations. They found that despite different locations and cultures, each Blue Zone provided an environment that promotes natural physical activity, a sense of connectedness, a sense of purpose, and a plant-abundant Mediterranean-style diet. Blue Zones boast highly reduced rates of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, Ikaria, Greece has a 75% lower rate of Alzheimer’s disease in people over 85 than those in the United States. In the Blue Zones Kitchen Cookbook: 100 recipes to live to 100, Dan Buettner has collected 100 plant-based recipes from Blue Zone kitchens around the world. Fused with National Geographic photography and scientific reporting, this book creates a dynamic tool to create your own longevity lifestyle. The Blue Zone’s cookbook deepens the cooking experience and places value in the types of ingredients included in each recipe. Use this cookbook to spice up your stand-by recipes and learn how diverse ingredients and cooking styles can incorporate the same foundational principles that promote longevity and brain health.
10. Diet for the MIND by Martha Clare Morris, Sc.D. with Laura Morris
Our list of brain healthy cookbooks would be incomplete without including the creator of the MIND diet, Dr. Martha Clare Morris, one of the world's most prolific and respected researchers of how nutrition and lifestyle affect brain aging. Dr. Morris was the Assistant Provost for Community Research and the Director of the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging and MIND Center for Brain Health at Rush University in Chicago. She received her doctorate in epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and was the principal investigator of multiple studies investigating how dietary factors affect the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cognitive decline, and other common chronic conditions of associated with aging. Sadly, Dr. Morris passed away in 2020, but she leaves behind a great legacy of research for preventive health for neurogenerative disease and other inflammatory diseases. The first part of the book dives into the research that Dr. Morris and her team conducted to develop the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet score, which significantly reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease (by over 50%) and cognitive decline. The second part of the book was created by her daughter, Laura Morris, who trained at a renowned culinary institute. This is where you will find over 80 delicious recipes for every occasion that focus on foods and nutrients important for keeping the brain functioning optimally. Each recipe is based on the MIND diet, which, along with brain benefits, is also known to reduce your risk of other chronic, inflammatory diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. This book provides an in-depth overview of cutting-edge research and quick-and-easy to make, budget-friendly recipes for everyday living.
11. Meals that Heal: 100+ Everyday Anti-Inflammatory Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less by Carolyn Williams, Ph.D., R.D.
James Beard Award-winning food and health journalist, dietitian, and NeuroReserve partner Carolyn Williams has a knack for simplifying the science of healthy eating. Carolyn uses her platform to break down the latest in food, diet, and health trends so that she can be a resource when you need practical, yet research-based answers for you or your family. Her cookbook, Meals that Heal, contains over 100 anti-inflammatory recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less. She incorporates anti-inflammatory and gut-balancing ingredients into recipes for meals and even offers ideas for on-the-go eating. The simple approaches she provides can help you prevent inflammation-based diseases and improve energy. With a focus on anti-inflammatory recipes, Carolyn breaks down the reasons chronic inflammation can be harmful and the role food can play in reducing inflammation. She also includes recipes for specific conditions like brain health, weight loss, cancer prevention, joint health, and immunity. This resource will empower even the busiest of us to add health-supportive foods into everyday life. For additional brain-healthy recipes from Carolyn, visit Brain Table by NeuroReserve.
11. The Alzheimer’s Prevention Food Guide: A Quick Nutritional Reference to Foods that Nourish and Protect the Brain from Alzheimer’s Disease by Sue Stillman Linja, R.D.N., L.D. and SeAnne Safaii-Waite, Ph.D., R.D.N., L.D.
Sue Stillman Linja and SeAnne Safaii-Waite are registered dieticians and researchers with personal connections to Alzheimer’s disease - their mothers were Alzheimer’s victims. Sue Stillman Linja has spent over 25 years specializing in geriatric nutrition, focusing her nutrition services and research on Alzheimer’s disease prevention and “eating to 100”. SeAnne Safaii-Waite is an Associate Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Idaho, a nutrition communications professional, registered dietician, and educator. Her current area of research focuses on diet and aging, especially with regard to centenarians around the world. They have combined their shared experiences and expertise to write The Alzheimer’s Prevention Food Guide. This book includes a comparison of the research behind popular diets like MIND, Mediterranean, and Ketogenic, and makes optimistic recommendations to incorporate foods to support cognition. In it you’ll find a comprehensive list of “brain foods” organized by category, a two-week meal plan, tips for making brain-healthy food combinations, and advice for an overall healthy lifestyle. Learn how food can be used in prevention and treatment of cognitive decline in this detailed guide that helps you incorporate brain-healthy foods into your diet. This book is for anyone looking to learn how diet and lifestyle can be a proactive approach, so you can age with a healthy brain.
Nutrition is considered one of the foundational factors that impacts your long-term brain health, yet translating science into realistic action steps can be daunting for anyone. Remember that there’s no one-size-fits all method to build changes into sustainable habits. If starting small is your preference, choose a cookbook and try out a new recipe each week. Alternatively, if you like to jump in with both feet you can try out any of the resources offering a multi-week kickstart to eating for brain health. Whichever approach works for you, our recommended resources can help to remove any confusion and provide tools to get you in the kitchen creating delicious, brain boosting meals.
To learn more about how to improve your brain health, visit our website www.neuroreseve.com where you’ll also find additional brain-healthy recipes and practical cooking tips from our chef-culinary partners at Brain Table.