The Brain Building Salad: Synaptogenic Nutrients in a Bowl: Foods for Concussion Recovery

foods for concussion recovery tbi dha keto supplements

Have you had concussion or a brain injury? Or would you like to optimise your cognitive function?

Would you like to discover the science behind these foods for concussion recovery? If so, this easy recipe is for you.

This salad is packed with neuro-protective and neuro-regenerative ingredients (foods for concussion recovery) which support synaptogenesis. Synaptogenesis is when the brain repairs and rebuilds itself by growing and connecting neurons.

This recipe contains the majority of nutrients for your brain to support recovery from TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury); including choline, DHA, uridine, antioxidants, sulphur and vitamins A, B, C and K, as well as plenty of healthy cholesterol for your brain. Yes, we need cholesterol.

Brain Building Salad Ingredients:

Serves 2
1 raw beetroot
2-inch piece of raw turmeric, or half a teaspoon of turmeric powder
2 boiled eggs, peeled
A bag of rocket, watercress or baby spinach leaves (80-100g)
200 of smoked or tinned mackerel, sardines, anchovies or salmon
3 tbsp of olive oil, mct oil or avocado oil
2-3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
Ground black pepper and pink salt to season (you need the black pepper to help absorb the anti-inflammatory properties from the turmeric)
Mixed herbs to taste
Optional: Add an additional 2 tsp of wild fish oil for additional DHA
Optional: a handful of sprouting broccoli, a handful of crushed walnuts

foods for concussion recovery tbi dha keto supplements

Salad Instructions:
1. In a large bowl, grate in the beetroot and turmeric.
2. Mix in the salt, herbs, pepper, oils, lemon juice or vinegar pepper, green leaves, sprouting broccoli
3. If using mackerel or salmon, tear up the pieces and layer on the salad or simply add the anchovies or sardines.
4. Slice up the eggs, add to the bowl and serve. Garnish with more lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or extra olive oil to taste.

Brain Friendly, Keto, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo, Grain Free, Nut Free, Sugar Free

This salad packs a punch! Let us know how you feel after eating it!


The Science behind the Salad: How does it work?

The nutrients that you need to support TBI recovery through synaptogenesis are listed and briefly explained below. You will notice that many of the ingredients feature in this Brain Building Salad! These are foods for concussion recovery.

CHOLINE: An essential nutrient for the synthesis of components in cell membranes.

– Found in organ meats, egg yolks and fish.
– Smaller amounts found in cauliflower, broccoli and collard greens.
– It is a precursor for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter associates with memory, movement, the autonomic system and attention and therefore a critical nutrient for anyone with a prognosis of Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
– Citicoline is a supplemental form of choline and can reduce brain swelling and therefore an excellent supplement to add to your diet following TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)

DHA: An Omega 3 Long Chain Fatty Acid.

– DHA stands for Docosahexaenoic Acid
– Mainly found in fatty cold-water fish, including sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon, herring, trout, tuna and oysters.
Research shows that the human brain would not have evolved to its current size and IQ level without DHA from seafood—as humans mostly evolved on the coast.
– Increased DHA consumption accelerates neuronal recovery and is essential for brain function.
– If you find these fatty, small fish too ‘fishy/smelly’ douse them in lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to knock out the fishy taste and smell.
– Fatty fish also contain cholesterol which we need to build and maintain cell membranes, as well as for building connections between neurons and for our neurons to communicate effectively.

foods for concussion recovery tbi dha keto supplements

URIDINE: A nucleotide which makes up our DNA and promotes synaptogenesis.

– Found in organ meats, beetroot, broccoli and nutritional yeast.
– Optimises BDNF (Brain Derived Neuronal Growth Factor) – a good thing! This enables your neurons to rewire and repair—essential for all brains but particularly the injured brain.
– Has been called ‘Miracle-Gro for the Brain’

ANTIOXIDANTS: Compounds which literally—as they are described—’fight’ oxidants.

– Excessive Oxidation and Free Radicals cause immense damage in the brain and body. One of the issues with repeated head injury is the build-up of free radicals and oxidation which further damage brain tissue and brain cells.
– Antioxidants rich foods are often anti-inflammatory and reduce inflammation in the body and brain.
– Found in dark and vibrant coloured fruits and vegetables, including beetroot, red cabbage, carrots, blackberries, blueberries, asparagus, avocados, peppers, sweet potatoes.

‘At a cellular level, when we look at what happens after a concussion/brain injury, we effectively see the brain age in hyper-speed, and antioxidants help to protect against the effect of aging.’ -P48 ‘How to Feed a Brain’ by Cavin Ballaster (ref236)

foods for concussion recovery tbi dha keto supplements

SULPHUR: Sulphur is an ingredient which supports liver detoxification and blood circulation.

– Found in leafy green vegetables, particularly sprouting broccoli, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, garlic, onion, turnips and radishes.
– The liver rids our body of toxins, therefore more efficient liver can more readily process and eliminating toxins in the body, reducing inflammation.
– We need healthy blood vessels that can efficiently circulate blood around the body; providing us with nutrients and oxygen, as well as clearing away waste products.


– On consumption, vitamin A becomes retinol and supports the health of the retina, bone growth and the optic nerve of the brain.
– Vitamin B is essential for energy as well as to create myelin, the sheath that protects axons and support neural communication.
– Vitamin C supports our immune cells.
– Vitamin K supports digestion and healthy heart valves and blood vessels—essential for transporting nutrients and oxygen around the body.
– Sulphur rich leafy green vegetables are also usually dense in vitamins A, B, C and K. If you eat a colourful diet—as in naturally vibrant and colourful from fruits and vegetables, then you will most likely be getting the vitamins you need. The darker pigmented fruits and vegetables tend to have more of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients mentioned above.

Don’t worry about remembering any of the names of these nutrients—or even what they do—but DO remember to eat them! As they are foods for concussion recovery and cognitive repair.

In all almost all instances, meats contain a higher concentration of what you need then the plant alternative. So, if you are not sure between broccoli or eggs for choline, choose the eggs.

Choline, DHA, Uridine and Anti-oxidants all work cohesively together to rebuild your brain and reduce inflammation, so be sure to incorporate these ingredients into your daily diet to give yourself the best chance for alleviating symptoms of TBI.

foods for concussion recovery tbi dha keto supplements

Recap: Eat More of these for Optimal Brain Recovery

  • Eggs
  • Small Fatty Cold Water Fish
  • Organ Meats
  • Green Vegetables
  • Purple Fruits (blueberries, blackberries)
  • Purple, Orange and Red Vegetables (beetroot, sweet potato, turmeric)

Foods to Avoid:

Some foods are inflammatory and anti-nutrient (instead of nutrient dense). If you are looking to optimise your cognitive function and repair your brain, then try to avoid the following foods:

  • Vegetable Oils
  • Trans Fats
  • Gluten
  • Grains
  • Sugar
  • Carbohydrates
  • Milk products
  • Legumes
  • Processed Sugars

A high fat, low carb diet that is rich in whole foods will give you the nourishment that you need on your journey of recovery. Find more free keto recipes here.

Recommended Further Reading:

How to Feed a Brain, Cavin Ballaster
The Concussion Repair Manual, Dan Engle
The Wahls Protocol, Terry Wahls
Grain Brain, Dr David Perlmutter

Alleviating Anxiety: Can the Ketogenic Diet help?

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