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Unveiling the Brain-Boosting Power of Animal Protein

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In the realm of nutrition, few topics have sparked as much debate as the role of animal protein in our diets. For decades, mainstream science has echoed warnings against indulging in meats of all kinds—red meat, white meat, eggs, and even fish—painting them as potential villains in the narrative of health.i ii

Eggs, once hailed as a breakfast staple, found themselves under scrutiny, with some studies drawing parallels between their consumption and the risks associated with smoking cigarettes. The culprit? Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a compound believed to be linked to cardiovascular woes and other health concerns (which I cover in a previous article).iii

Meanwhile, the rise of veganism has cast an ominous shadow over animal protein in the last several decades, purporting a plant-based diet as the ultimate shield against the diseases of modern living. Advocates of a meat-free diet tout its ability to stave off a myriad of health conditions, including the dreaded neurodegenerative diseases.

But could meat be the missing link in the fight against cognitive decline.ivv

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Unveiling the Brain-Boosting Power of Animal Protein

By, Kelley Herring 

Zoonutrients: The Missing Link in Cognitive Health?

In fact, “zoonutrients”, those essential building blocks of brain health found exclusively in animal products, from vitamin B12 to omega-3 fatty acids and beyond – play an irreplaceable role in cognitive function. This fact begs us to ask the critical question: Have we underestimated the brain-boosting potential of animal protein all along? vi vii

In a groundbreaking study published in Nutrition Reviews, researchers set out to explore the intricate dance between dietary animal protein sources and the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Unsurprisingly, fish consumption emerged as a guardian against Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive decline.viii

Total dairy intake was found to elevate the risk of Parkinson’s disease… while wielding a protective shield against cognitive impairment.

Most interestingly, total meat and poultry consumption emerged as the real unsung heroes in the fight against cognitive decline, offering powerful brain-protective benefits overall.

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Build Your Mental Muscle with Meat

From the unique brain-boosting benefits of fish to the unexpected role of total animal protein in protecting our neurological destiny, this study – among many others – challenges conventional wisdom and invites us to reconsider mainstream advice.

And let’s not forget the joy and creativity that can be found in the kitchen with all of your favorite grass-fed and pasture-raised meat. To celebrate the power of animal protein in promoting brain health.

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Here are a few recipes to tantalize your taste buds:

  • Wild Salmon with Lemon-Dill Sauce: Tender wild salmon fillets are oven-baked with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, and chopped fresh dill until flaky and delicious. Serve with a creamy lemon-dill sauce made from lacto-fermented yogurt, lemon juice, and fresh dill to showcase the delicate flavors of wild-caught salmon.
  • Classic Short Ribs: This classic dish is a timeless comfort food favorite. Slow-cooked or pressure-cooked to tender perfection, succulent beef ribs are infused with rich flavor from a savory braising liquid and served alongside creamy masher potatoes for the epitome of home-cooked comfort.
  • Pastured Poultry Lemon Herb Chicken: Succulent pastured chicken breasts are marinated in a zesty blend of olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, dried thyme, dried rosemary, sea salt, and pepper, then grilled to juicy perfection. This dish is a celebration of fresh flavors and wholesome ingredients, perfect for a summer barbecue or simple weeknight dinner.
  • Grilled Ribeye: A carnivore’s delight, a grass-fed ribeye boasts bold flavor and juicy tenderness. Generously marbled with fat, the ribeye is known for its rich, beefy taste and melt-in-your-mouth texture. Seasoned simply with salt, pepper (and perhaps a touch of garlic or rosemary) grill to perfection over high heat until deep-golden on the outside and perfectly medium-rare pink on the inside. Served with a side of roasted vegetables or a crisp green salad, this classic steakhouse favorite is sure to satisfy even the most discerning meat lover.

For more health and wellness articles from Kelley and other trusted sources, visit our US Wellness Meats Discover Blog today! 

kelley herring

Kelley Herring

Looking for healthy and delicious, keto-friendly holiday recipes? From sumptuous appetizers… to meltingly- tender meats… comfort- food side dishes… as well as low-carb cocktails and desserts, you’ll find everything you need to bring festive and delicious, low-carb and keto-friendly holiday meals to the table that will delight your family and guests. Grab your copy of Keto Holidays, 100% free.


  1. Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, et al. Dietary protein and risk of ischemic heart disease in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70(2):221-227.
  2. Sinha R, Cross AJ, Graubard BI, et al. Meat intake and mortality: a prospective study of over half a million people. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(6):562-571.
  3. Spence JD, Jenkins DJ, Davignon J. Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque. Atherosclerosis. 2012;224(2):469-473.
  4. Turner-McGrievy GM, Barnard ND, Scialli AR. A two-year randomized weight loss trial comparing a vegan diet to a more moderate low-fat diet. Obesity. 2007;15(9):2276-2281.
  5. Satija A, Bhupathiraju SN, Spiegelman D, et al. Healthful and Unhealthful Plant-Based Diets and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in U.S. Adults. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017;70(4):411-422.
  6. O’Leary F, Samman S. Vitamin B12 in health and disease. Nutrients. 2010;2(3):299-316.
  7. Simopoulos AP. The importance of the omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio in cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Exp Biol Med. 2008;233(6):674-688.
  8. Talebi S, Asoudeh F, Naeini F, Sadeghi E, Travica N, Mohammadi H. Association between animal protein sources and risk of neurodegenerative diseases: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis. Nutrition Reviews. 2023;81(2):1-14.