Lillian Wilson

Genius Foods by Max Lugavere

'Genius Foods' offers you a science-based diet plan that will improve your brain's performance while protecting you against dementia.

Genius Foods Book Cover
“Discover the critical link between your brain and the food you eat and change the way your brain ages, in this cutting-edge, practical guide to eliminating brain fog, optimising brain health, and achieving peak mental performance from media personality and leading voice in health Max Lugavere.”

Alzheimer’s disease poses a significant challenge as it gradually impairs cognitive abilities, making everyday tasks and self-care difficult or impossible to perform. Sadly, with an estimated burden of 55 million individuals affected worldwide, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia currently lack a cure, and early detection can be challenging.

To tackle this pressing issue, Max Lugavere and Dr. Paul Grewal offer a solution in their book, ‘Genius Foods.’ This scientifically grounded work provides valuable insights into how we can safeguard our brains against cognitive diseases by adopting specific dietary practices.

About the authors

‘Genius Foods’ is written by American experts Max Lugavere and Paul Grewal, MD.

Max Lugavere

Max Lugavere is an accomplished American television personality, health and science journalist, and author. He currently resides in both Los Angeles, California, and New York City. Lugavere holds a degree in film and psychology from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.

Lugavere is recognised for his work in the field of health and science journalism. He directed the documentary Bread Head, which explores the impact of lifestyle choices on preventing dementia. His expertise has led him to be a frequent guest on notable shows such as The Dr. Oz Show. Lugavere has also delivered lectures at renowned institutions like the New York Academy of Sciences, Weill Cornell Medicine, and the Biohacker Summit in Sweden.

Paul Grewal, MD, is an accomplished internal medicine physician and speaker who specialises in utilising diet and lifestyle strategies for weight loss, metabolic health, and longevity. Dr. Grewal holds a bachelor of arts degree in cellular and molecular neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University. He pursued his medical education at Rutgers Medical School and completed his residency at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Hospital. He is the founder of MyMD Medical Group, a private practice located in New York City, and also serves as a medical advisor to financial firms and healthcare start-ups.

What is the book about?

After Max Lugavere’s mother got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he decided to put his career in media on hold and grasp the finer points of the science of the human brain. His search for understanding his mother’s condition spanned half a decade, as he consumed the latest scientific research, spoke with leading scientists and clinicians, and visited the best neurology departments.

By writing ‘Genius Foods,’ Max Lugavere aims to present an in-depth guide of brain optimisation through food choices.

In every chapter, you will learn about the specific elements for optimal brain function, such as your vascular system, your gut, and your precious cell membranes. Following each chapter, readers will find a section called ‘Genius Food,’ featuring foods that promote different aspects of brain function. These foods are presented as effective tools to combat cognitive decline and deterioration. As the book progresses, it introduces the concepts of ‘Genius Lifestyle’ and ‘Genius Plan.’ In these sections, you will find practical guidance and insights on optimising brain function through exercise, nutrition, and overall well-being choices.

Throughout the book, readers will also come across valuable insights and ‘Doctor’s Notes’ that showcase the clinical and personal experiences of Dr. Paul Grewal, a close friend and colleague of the author. In these notes, Dr. Grewal shares lessons on reversing obesity through exercise and nutrition.

Overall, ‘Genuis Foods’ is a comprehensive read that highlights how our food and lifestyle choices are closely linked to our brain’s performance. It explains that the foods we consume have a direct impact on our ability to concentrate, learn, remember things, be creative, think critically, and maintain a stable mood.

The author combines cutting-edge research on preventing dementia, enhancing cognitive abilities, and the role of nutrition in mental health. He simplifies complex scientific discoveries into practical steps that can be implemented in our daily lives, offering guidance on how to enhance brain power. This includes recognising nutrients that boost memory, discovering foods that energise the brain, and adopting a powerful fat-loss method that improves brain function.

Table of contents

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Dedication
  • Introduction
  • How to Use This Book
  • Part 1: You Are What You Eat
  • Chapter 1: The Invisible Problem
  • Genius Food #1: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Chapter 2: Fantastic Fats and Ominous Oils
  • Genius Food #2: Avocados
  • Chapter 3: Overfed, yet Starving
  • Genius Food #3: Blueberries
  • Chapter 4: Winter Is Coming (For Your Brain)
  • Genius Food #4: Dark Chocolate
  • Part 2: The Interconnectedness of It All (Your Brain Responds)
  • Chapter 5: Healthy Heart, Healthy Brain
  • Genius Food #5: Eggs
  • Chapter 6: Fueling Your Brain
  • Genius Food #6: Grass-Fed Beef
  • Chapter 7: Go with Your Gut
  • Genius Food #7: Dark Leafy Greens
  • Chapter 8: Your Brain’s Chemical Switchboard
  • Genius Food #8: Broccoli
  • Part 3: Putting Yourself in the Driver’s Seat
  • Chapter 9: Sacred Sleep (and the Hormonal Helpers)
  • Genius Food #9: Wild Salmon
  • Chapter 10: The Virtues of Stress (or, How to Become a More Robust Organism)
  • Genius Food #10: Almonds
  • Chapter 11: The Genius Plan
  • Chapter 12: Recipes and Supplements
  • “Cheesy” Scrambled Eggs
  • Jamaican Me Smarter
  • Grass Fed Picadillo
  • Pan-Seared Wild Alaskan Salmon with Turmeric, Ginger, and Tahini-Miso
  • Banging LiverInsanely Crispy Gluten-Free Buffalo Chicken Wings
  • Turmeric-Almond Chicken Fingers
  • Sautéed Greens
  • Better Brain Bowl
  • “Cheesy” Kale Salad
  • Brain-Boosting Raw Chocolate
  • Acknowledgments
  • Resources
  • Notes
  • Index
  • About the Authors
  • Copyright
  • About the Publisher

Key takeaways from ‘Genius Foods’

1Not all fats are bad for you. Load up on healthy ones for better brain health

For a long time, fat has received a negative reputation, with doctors advising us to consume ‘low-fat’ foods for weight loss and heart health. However, much of this advice has proven to be untrue, and in recent years, fats have made a well-deserved comeback. Interestingly, certain fats are not only good for overall health but also highly beneficial for the brain.

Omega-3 fats, for instance, are among the best for nourishing the brain. Research has shown that they contribute to improved memory, brain cell function, and executive functions like planning. They can even have a positive impact on anxiety and depression. Foods rich in Omega-3s include mackerel, salmon, sardines, grass-fed meats, and eggs.

Monounsaturated fats are also excellent brain fuel. These fats, found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts, help protect neurons and support neurotransmission. Additionally, they have been found to have a protective effect against dementia.

Thus, the book recommends readers consume healthy fats as well as avoid refined, heated, or processed fats, such as those used for frying food. Excessive intake of fried food and trans-fats should be avoided as these fats can cause brain shrinkage and the development of dementia.

2Fasting and a Keto diet will provide you with the brain’s favourite fuel – ketones

The concept of intermittent fasting is highlighted in the book as extremely beneficial for your brain. Lugavere profoundly explains how by combining fasting and the ketogenic diet, we may promote the production of ketones – the most efficient fuel for our brains. They are produced when your body breaks down fats for energy.

Adopting a ketogenic diet is highly beneficial for the brain. It has been used as an epilepsy treatment for over eighty years and is also capable of reducing seizures and inflammations in the brain. As a result of its effectiveness, it is currently being evaluated as a treatment option for migraines, depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS.

3What effect do carbs really have on the brain?

In ‘Genius Foods,’ Lugavere reveals the truth about carbohydrates and their effect on brain health. The book challenges the perception of ‘healthy’ grains, such as brown rice, and highlights their impact on blood sugar levels. While grains are often considered a healthier choice, they can cause spikes in blood sugar similar to table sugar due to their starch content. This can lead to insulin resistance over time, which has implications for brain health and diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The author discusses the link between insulin resistance and the accumulation of sticky proteins called amyloid-beta in the brain, a characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. Sugar further exacerbates this stickiness, hindering the brain’s natural cleansing process. This combination of factors contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

To combat these issues, the book recommends a low-carbohydrate diet rich in micronutrients and fibre. Alternative energy sources include avocados, vegetables like asparagus, bell peppers, cruciferous vegetables, cucumbers, kale, tomatoes, and courgette. Additionally, dark chocolate with a cacao content of 80% or above is highlighted as a genius food. It promotes insulin sensitivity, vascular function, and athletic performance, and enhances blood flow to the brain, which can reverse cognitive ageing.

Overall rating & strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews

The book has gotten 4.22 ⭐️ on GoodReads.


  • Incredibly informative read with both science and real-life examples.

  • Easy to read.

  • Offers practical advice and delicious recipes to try strategies described in the book right away.

  • Provides advice from a certified doctor.


  • The main author does not hold a degree in medicine or nutrition. This may scare away some readers. However, a certified doctor Paul Grewal is a co-creator of ‘Genius Foods’ which dispels any doubt about the book’s credibility.

Best quotes from ‘Genius Foods’

“Your primary opponents in the battle for your cognitive birthright are inflammation, overfeeding, nutrient deficiencies, toxic exposure, chronic stress, physical stagnation, and sleep loss.” 
“While exercise is one of the best overall ways to boost this powerfully protective growth hormone, consuming omega-3 fats, and particularly DHA, is among the best dietary means that we know of.” 
“One way to optimize this critical brain cleaning is to stop eating two to three hours before bed to reduce circulating insulin.”

Final takeaway

‘Genius Foods’ is a compelling and scientifically grounded book that sheds light on the crucial connection between our dietary choices and brain health. Max Lugavere and Dr. Paul Grewal provide valuable insights into optimising brain function and protecting against cognitive diseases by adopting specific eating habits. From the impact of fats on brain health to the role of carbohydrates and the benefits of intermittent fasting and a ketogenic diet, this book offers practical guidance and evidence-based strategies.

If you aspire to lead a life with exceptional brain health and overall well-being, ‘Genius Foods’ is the book that can help you achieve that lifestyle.

Where to buy

You may purchase ‘Genius Foods’ on Amazon at the best price. It is available in Kindle, audio and hardcover versions, so you are free to choose the format that suits you best.

Healthypedia FAQ

'Genius Foods' explores the connection between dietary choices and brain health, providing insights into how specific foods can optimize cognitive function and protect against cognitive diseases.

The book suggests adopting a low-carbohydrate diet rich in micronutrients and fiber to support brain health. It emphasizes incorporating foods like avocados, vegetables (such as cruciferous vegetables), and dark chocolate with high cacao content. The authors also discuss the benefits of intermittent fasting and a ketogenic diet.

Besides nutrition, the book addresses the importance of factors such as sleep, exercise, stress management, and avoiding toxic exposure in promoting brain health. It offers practical advice and insights on optimizing brain function through a holistic approach.

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