Detox Your Brain–Part 2

Scientists once thought the brain had built-in protection against harmful toxins through its blood-brain barrier, as the name would suggest. Recently, however, study after study shows that the toxic industrial chemicals in the air we breathe, water we drink, or additives in our food, can cross the blood-brain barrier to gain access to the delicate brain.

The good news is that certain nutrients and phytochemicals found in foods can displace toxins’ access to the brain. Colourful fruits and vegetables, like blueberries, strawberries, and spinach, contain a category of flavonoids, called polyphenols. Polyphenols prevent oxidative damage in the brain. In one study, rats were fed extracts of blueberries, strawberries, and spinach for eight weeks, and the results found that these potent antioxidant foods reversed some effects of age-related brain decline.

Blueberries contain a group of flavonoids called proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins have a unique capacity to protect both the watery and fatty parts of the brain against damage from some environmental toxins. Proanthocyanidins decrease free radical activity within and between brain cells. Blueberries appear to have some of the highest concentrations of these powerful antioxidants.

Dr. Egemen Savaskan at the University of Basel in Switzerland discovered that resveratrol found in grapes, grape juice, and red wine protects brain cells from beta-amyloid-induced oxidative damage by mopping up free radicals. Beta-amyloid plaque has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Tomatoes contain a powerful memory-boosting phytonutrient called lycopene. Researchers at the University of Kentucky studied a group of Catholic nuns. Those who consumed at least thirty milligrams of lycopene in their daily diets were 3.6 times more able to take care of themselves physically and had sharper memories than those who didn’t consume high amounts of lycopene.

Researchers found that a group of natural chemicals found in tea are called catechins have demonstrated promise as brain protectors. In another study, green tea extract was shown to protect animals from the effects of a serious neurotoxic (brain-damaging) agent.

When it comes to brain health, Mother Nature offers some of the greatest protection against pollutants in the environment and toxins in food. Boost your brain protection by eating more colourful fruits and vegetables, particularly: blueberries, strawberries, spinach, grapes, and tomatoes. And, don’t forget to enjoy a nice cup of green tea too.

Excerpted from The Brain Wash: A Powerful, All-Natural Program to Protect Your Brain Against Alzheimer’s, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Depression, Parkinson’s and Other Diseases by Michelle Schoffro Cook (John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2007) with permission of the author.

Michelle Schoffro Cook, DNM, DAc, ROHP, RNCP is a best-selling and six-time book author and doctor of natural medicine, whose works include: The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan. Learn more at:


Evan R.
Past Member 7 years ago

blueberries are the best I've been eating more blueberries in less than a month than what I've eaten in the past year

Eliza D.
Past Member 8 years ago

An interesting thing happened though. When we made the decision to stop complaining (and therefore focus on the fact that we complained too much) we both felt the urge to complain--it was stronger than spur of the moment complaining we usually did. So we had an evening before we started where we were going to just purge the impulse so we could begin fresh. The huge flaw in that plan, though, was that we just dredged up all of the things that weren't working in our lives and that's the energy we approached the process with. I was determined to keep going though, and see what the process yielded.

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Elizabeth C.
Elizabeth C8 years ago

thank you ! l will make a list and buy all of these ingredients. My brain needs all the help it can get.

Deb R.
Past Member 8 years ago

Thanks Michelle...great article...saved it on my computer for future reference.

Gotta go and eat some blueberries...

H H H.
H H H.8 years ago

here is link to more info on Pu-erh tea ....

Genevieve H.
Genevieve H8 years ago

To Maija: What I do is freeze plenty of blueberries when they're in abundance and that way I have plenty until next summer. They still taste nice. You can also buy frozen ones which are not that expensive, if you can't have access to loads of cheap or free ones in summer.
PS. I'm just feasting on some freshly picked ones from my friend's orchard!
Also, regarding pu-er tea, I find it tastes smoky rather than earthy, quite close to Lapsang Suchong tea. Some people say that drinking pu-er tea is one of the reasons Chinese people are so thin in spite of all the fatty food they eat. Its alkalinity helps the body get rid of all the fat, plus all the Chinese black vinegar they also use as a condiment.

Kevin H.
Kevin H8 years ago


Shirley Mccreight
Past Member 8 years ago

Thanks very much, Jason. Researching Pu erh tea now online...

Jason Witt
Jason Witt8 years ago

Shirley, Pu-erh tea is the only truly fermented or "post-fermented" tea. Others like black and oolong are really oxidized. The process of making Pu-erh is still a secret guarded jealously by the Chinese so all of it comes from China only. However, there's a lot of fake stuff on the market so if you go for it don't buy the very cheapest. Search Google for terms like "Pu erh" and you'll find a bunch of mail order tea companies that will sell you selections. You might want to start with mini tuo cha which means "bowl tea." They're little bowl shapes and are a good size for a few servings. That's good portion management. But I must warn you--Pu-erh is considered an acquired taste or something not everyone likes. If you are health-minded you'll probably like it. But many people find the flavor objectionable because it may taste like earth and even like soil. I'd say buy a small amount to try and also consider trying several different kinds in small amounts. Pu-erh teas can vary greatly from one to another. You might even search for "Pu erh samples" on Google. Those will be the reputable companies though some of that might be too pricey since geared more toward connoisseurs.

Aviva Gutin
Aviva Gutin8 years ago

I stopped getting constant illnesses when I started taking this proanthocyanadin/resveratrol supplement - good to know it's helping my brain too, along with the insane amount of blueberries I ate this summer.