Our brains are massive oxygen consumers. Twenty- five percent of every breath you take is going directly to support the ravenous metabolic needs of your brain, and ensuring that your blood lipids are healthy is one way of keeping your cognitive power supply free of interruption. Thankfully, there are some other ways of increasing healthy blood flow to the brain:
(The process of LDL oxidation clearly plays a major role in the development of atherosclerosis. Interestingly, atherosclerosis is only found in arteries, as opposed to veins.
Arteries, unlike veins, carry oxygenated blood in a high- pressure environment, providing fertile ground for those small, dense LDL particles to become damaged and stick to the vessel wall.
And while a heart attack (due to plaque build- up in the arteries surrounding the heart) is what many would consider a worst- case scenario, atherosclerosis can happen anywhere, including the microvasculature supplying oxygen to the brain.
This is what vascular dementia is: lots and lots of tiny little strokes in the brain.
Eat dark chocolate. Compounds in dark chocolate (called polyphenols) have been shown to boost brain perfusion, or blood flow to the brain.
As we learned with Genius Food #4, stick to 80% or higher for the cocoa content (ideally 85% or higher– this means less sugar), and make sure the chocolate has not been processed with alkali, which degrades antioxidant content.
Eliminate or reduce grains, sugar, and starch. Allowing your brain to run on fat, or more specifically ketones, may increase blood flow to the brain by as much as 39 percent. More on this in the next chapter.
Consume more potassium. High- potassium foods include avocado (a whole avocado has twice the potassium of a banana! ), spinach, kale, beet greens, Swiss chard, mushrooms, and, believe it or not, salmon.
Indulge in nitrate- rich foods. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels and expands your arteries while also improving blood flow. Gram for gram, arugula has more nitrates than any other vegetable.
Close seconds include beets, butter leaf lettuce, spinach, beet greens, broccoli, and Swiss chard. A single nitrate- rich meal may boost cognitive function.