How To Fix Your Brain And Biology With Plants: An Interview With Neurodietetics Author Richard Aiken On The Best Diet For The Brain.

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Body, Diet & Nutrition, Mental Health, Mind-Spirit, Nutrition, Podcast, Podcast-new

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

A couple years ago, I released a podcast episode with Dr. Richard Aiken entitled “How Blenders Can Destroy Food, Why I Eat 20-25 Servings Of Vegetables Each Day, The Vegan-Paleo Debate & Much More

During the show, Dr. Aiken explained the potentially damaging effects of high-speed blending on food and referenced a recent experiment he performed on bananas.

Later, Dr. Aiken was kind enough to send me the complete results of that experiment, published in their full, scientifically nerdy details at “How To Biohack Your Green Smoothie (And Can High Speed Blenders Really Damage Your Food?)“.

Now, after publishing his new book “Neurodietetics: The dietary science of human flourishing“, Dr. Aiken is back. Dr. Aiken, MD, PhD, is a chemical engineer and physician, and studies how diet has a profound influence on our minds and how, using food, we can relieve suffering and possibly help reverse pathology.

He highlights in the book how – even if we don't have clinical signs or symptoms of physical, cognitive or emotional decline – we can achieve a profound state of mind-body wellness, eudaimonia – human flourishing with proper lifestyle choices. This book is about the science of mind flourishing through dietary choices that Aiken calls “neurodietetics”.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-What exactly is Xenohormesis when it comes to consuming plants…[9:30]

-Why you should eat cucumbers that have been exposed to high amounts of heat, grapes grown in poor soil and water deprived turmeric…[19:00]

-The “Cinderella drug” you can find in plants that barely anybody knows about…[23:05]

-The hibiscus and green tea workout drink that Dr. Aiken considers to be a physical and mental performance game-changer…[38:00]

-The two crucial ingredients to add to a blender to “biohack” your smoothie and concentrate the antioxidants…[40:20]

-The single seed that Dr. Aiken recommends most highly for mental performance…[50:30]

-Why Ben threw out a 60 dollar bottle of liquid fish oil…[58:30]

-How to “rescue” any smoothie from tasting bad (even when you add the potent one-two combo of turmeric and black pepper)…[62:35]

-The brand new sleep hack Dr. Aiken has been experimenting with very successfully…[70:30]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Neurodietetics: The dietary science of human flourishing

My podcast on “Fit Vine Wine”

Lithium discussion with Kevin Rose

My article on “The God Pill”

How To Biohack Your Green Smoothie (And Can High Speed Blenders Really Damage Your Food?)

Organic green tea leaves

Organic hibiscus leaves

Study: Is docosahexaenoic acid synthesis from α-linolenic acid sufficient to supply the adult brain?

Omica Organics stevia

Circadian rhythms, time-restricted feeding, and healthy aging

Alteril Sleep Aid

Dr. Kirk Parsley's Sleep Remedy

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Richard or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

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23 thoughts on “How To Fix Your Brain And Biology With Plants: An Interview With Neurodietetics Author Richard Aiken On The Best Diet For The Brain.

  1. Leila says:

    Hi Ben

    I was wondering what your thoughts are on hibiscus tea and it’s negative affect on HDL for APOE4 carriers based on this study…
    Would you consume the tea considering all the other benefits and watch your HDL or won’t drink it?

    Thanks! Love the podcast and I’m super grateful for what do :)

    1. Hi Lelia, this would be a good question to call into the podcast!

  2. Art says:


    The hibiscus tea – should it be consumed before, during or after the workout?

    1. Hi Art, ideally, pre-workout.

  3. Jeff says:

    What about all the estrogen in Flax? If that is the case, is this a potential problem for flax consumption?

    1. Flaxseed is the richest dietary source of lignans, a type of phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens act as anti-estrogens and have been studied in the prevention and treatment of various cancers, including breast cancer. See, for example:

  4. Jared says:

    This may seem like a dumb question but hear me out. Whereas you guys blend the ingredients in your smoothies (my past practice), for breakfast I now prefer to actually chew and eat each of my ingredients a.k.a baby or regular spinach, purple kale, lacinato kale, swiss or rainbow chard, brocolli and fenugreek sprouts, celery, carrot, and apple in the morning. Then I take four or five tablespoons of organic, grassfed yogurt and add 5g creatine, 3g ground turmeric, VSL #3 probiotic, and one teaspoon of spirulina powder. I mix with a spoon and eat. If I’m still hungry, I have one or two organic, grassfed eggs either scrambled or boiled. Warning: None of this is for taste. I eat to live, not live to eat. So, my question is, if I ordered the green tea leaves and hibiscus flowers in bulk and rather than blending them, simply chewed them and them washed down with natural spring water, would there be any deleterious effects and would I be minimizing any potentially beneficial effects?

    1. Hi Jared, I love your whole-food varied-plant ingredients and the spring water; also your purpose for eating: healthy survival. I do think that the “super-chewer” (blender) likely makes more cellular contents bioavailable and a heck of a lot easier to eat substantial quantities of tough bitter leaves. But if you can stick with that excellent dietary pattern, the question of blending vs chewing is a secondary consideration.

    2. Fantastic podcast, loved some of the out of the box questions and answers. The diet is high histamine (for me anyway) but the protocol looks amazing so wanted to try it anyway. Could the first three days be done without the avocado and nuts and if so, what would be the best oil to replace it with?

      Love the show.

  5. Matt Wilson says:

    In regards to snacking vs long time in between meals, Barry Sears crushes this interview with Dave Asprey and says you should be eating so that your hormones react to where you aren’t hungry for five hours in between meals:…

    One of the top Bulletproof Podcasts I’ve heard, regardless of what you think of the Zone Diet 1.0. Worth the listen, or at least at the 30min mark where they discuss intermittent fasting.

  6. RON ALPERT says:


    I like the p’cast except you were a bit over the top with your guest including not letting him finish his points. I ‘get’ Ben but would like to know more about your guests!

    Be well,


    1. Hi Ron, thanks for listening to the podcast!

      You can read all about my background (Aiken) on this link:



  7. Erik says:

    What is your take on the DHA study above? Erik

    1. I haven't yet begun to incorporate flax into my diet but would like to, followed by testing of omega 3 and omega 6's…

  8. Chris says:

    Surprising to hear Dr. Aiken recommending Alteril. Lots of ingredients I wouldn’t want which includes high dose melatonin. Everyone underestimates the potency of melatonin. A little goes a long way. (From a long time night-shifter)

    1. Hi Chris – As a physician, as I mentioned on the podcast, the number one complaint from patients is the inability to fall asleep; I recommend first training to “get out of your head” into the moment through sensory focus followed by complete defocusing into just “being” (hard to explain here in a few words). However, many patients wish for a medication. Rather than prescribe a med that leads in many cases to dependence, one such med that my colleagues have recently recommended is Alteril. I have begun to suggest this to my patients with mixed reviews. The melatonin at 4 mg is on the lower end of what many have previously tried. I have found that any more than that can begin to lead to middle of the night awakenings as the half life is about 4 hours. The other ingredients, taken alone, do not substantially have the desired effect but taken together appear to have advantages for some.

  9. Sarah says:

    Hi great podcast as always. Can you clarify the tea mix. Is the l theanine in the green tea or is he adding it? What does the hibiscus do? Wasn’t clear if he added water to this mix in the blender? Thanks

    1. Why is it that aqueous extracts of the Tea Plant is the most consumed beverage in the world? It’s not the taste – it’s because it’s psychoactive.

      The compound responsible is theanine – found only in the Tea Plant and a certain fungus (Bay Boleet). Theanine modulates the psychostimulant effect of caffeine, further increasing focus but also with a calming that has been shown to increase alpha waves in the brain – similar to meditative states (Nobre at al.).

      Therefore there may be cognitive and anxiolytic properties of theanine in the presence of caffeine and possible as an isolated extract.

      A. C. Nobre, A. Rao, and G. N. Owen. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 17(suppl – 1):167-168, 2008.

    2. Hibiscus contains significant flavonoids (such as anthocyanin and quercetin) for antioxidant activity, lowering the stress response from endurance exercise. Also it induces an endothelium-dependent relaxant effect via stimulation of nitric oxide production decreasing blood viscosity and blood pressure and pulse wave velocity.

  10. Fernando says:

    Hi Ben, great podcast. Love your stuff.

    Speaking of superfoods, I’d like to know what’s your take on acai? I’m from Brazil and here it’s considered one of the best superfoods because it contains great fats and antioxidants. I’ve been adding it daily in my smoothies.

    Thank you

    1. Acai berries are one of the best antioxidants available (although indian gooseberries – amla) are even better. If one can get the real thing. There are a large number of supplements and other “mixed juices” that contain little or no acai. Better to get from a reputable BRAZILIAN source.

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