Give your brain a boost with my all-time favorite nutrient

Give your brain a boost with my all-time favorite nutrient 

You probably know by now that one of the best ways to stay healthy is to eat plenty of animal products. And folate (also known as folic acid) is at the top of the “can’t-live-without-it” list. It has been found to reduce the risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, birth defects, and stroke, and it lowers blood pressure, too. 

And now, the latest study has shown that it can also improve the memory of older adults. The study results were so phenomenal that I wanted to share the details. The researchers followed 818 healthy people between 50 and 75 years old who took either 800 mcg of folic acid or a placebo for three years. Here’s the exciting part: At the end of the three years, the folic acid group tested 5.5 years younger on memory tests and 1.9 years younger on tests of cognitive speed (as compared with the placebo group). How about that for results!

It’s a proven fact that the best source of folate is from animals. Yet animal products always seem to be dead last on lists that detail ways to get more of the nutrient (if they’re even mentioned at all). This phenomenon isn’t limited to folate–it holds true for any nutrient. Mainstream medicine just doesn’t think that meat is good for much more than protein. 

Case in point: An AP article on the benefits of folate says that a diet high in folate, “a B vitamin found in grains and certain dark-colored fruits and vegetables–is important for a variety of diseases.” See? No mention of meat whatsoever. 

Instead, the article says that in order to reap folate’s benefits, you’d have to eat 21/2 pounds of strawberries a day. Now, I’m sure this is just meant to be an example, but still, the message from all these closet vegetarians is the same: “For good health and a long life, eat your fruits and vegetables.” 

Fruits and vegetables are not necessary at all for health and longevity. Eat them for pleasure, but whatever you do, don’t eat 21/2 pounds of any fruit or vegetable daily because then you won’t have enough room for the foods that count–things like eggs, meat, animal fat, raw milk, and fish. And don’t forget the offal. Offal consists of the parts of the animal that a butcher typically throws away–the internal organs, such as the brains, kidney, liver, thymus, and pancreas.

A recipe fit for “Fear Factor” 

I know that eating such things probably sounds like something from the reality TV show “Fear Factor,” but believe it or not, offal is loaded with nutrition, and if cooked “just so,” it can be very tasty. Bones are an excellent source of offal because of the marrow, the blood-forming part of your body machinery. You can obtain this super nutrient by making a stew of lamb, chicken, or beef bones. Stew the long bones and the joints between them for eight to 12 hours at low temperature. This method of highly nutritious cooking requires the use of a Crock-Pot. I’m always surprised at how many good chefs don’t use Crock-Pots these days. In terms of nutrition and flavor, they’re the best way to cook animal products and your precious fruits and vegetables. (Throw the plants in for the last hour only, or else you’ll cook whatever nutrients they do contain right out of them.) 

Once the bones are fully cooked, poke the marrow out of the hollow with a thin, blunt instrument or with one of your fingers. When marrow is cooked, it’s a white gelatinous glop that is absolutely delicious. The French make a consomm out of it. You can also spread it on thin toast.

While we’re on the topic of bones, I want to give special instructions to all you dog lovers out there: Never feed cooked bones to your dog because they have been denatured by cooking. That means that all of the nutrition is gone, and they may as well be eating plastic. If you want to have a healthy and happy dog, feed him a raw beef, pork, or lamb bone daily. Dogs love a bone in the morning, and it’s all they’ll need until supper. 

But the best source of folate–by far–is liver. I prefer chicken liver that’s been sauted in butter or pork fat, cooked no more than medium rare (a.k.a., pink). And, unlike the strawberries mentioned in the report, you don’t have to eat 2 1/2 pounds a day. A half-pound twice a week is all that is required to meet all of your folate needs. When’s the last time you heard that from one of those nutrition scholars? 

If none of these options sound particularly appetizing to you, there are other ways to get this nutrient from your diet–you just won’t be getting as much. Fruit (especially tomatoes), beans and legumes, and leafy green vegetables contain folate. Or you could take a folate or folic acid supplement from a grocery store or from a health food store. If you go this route, take about 800 mcg a day. 

There’s no denying that the American culture is saturated with nutrition misinformation. It’s unfortunate that millions of people are giving up foods they love because they think they’re doing something good for their bodies. Jackie O is a perfect example of this. Before the former first lady died of breast cancer, she said: “I did everything right and look what happened.” It was a tragic commentary on animal-hugging vegetarianism–with the U.S. Department of Agriculture leading the way to a premature death with its ubiquitous “Food Pyramid” (or as I like to call it the Pyramid of Death).

But rather than relying on the USDA or the wannabe nutrition expert The New York Times, I strongly recommend checking out the Weston A. Price Foundation ( You should also consider reading its flagship book, Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon. It contains all the cooking and nutrition advice you’ll ever need–besides that of Chef Melissa (, and, of course, the info presented by yours truly in this newsletter.