Blink… Blink…. Its New year 🙂 Wishing you all a very Prosperous, Happy and Healthy year ahead. Most of the people will have some new year resolutions which they follow or not; Quitting the bad habits and nourishing good ones, new diet plans for weight loss, avoiding junk foods etc..etc… But have you ever thought of nourishing your brain by eating healthy ? Also anyone familiar with the MIND Diet ? Yes, not only meditation and yoga, nutrient rich food also plays a vital role in brain boosting. So my family’s 2017 new year resolution is incorporating more brain boosting food to our diet.
Most of us are familiar with the nutritional buzz term, superfood. But this, by no means is a superfood related post. We are going to talk about brain foods. Brain boosting foods are rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acid, vitamins, phytochemicls, glucose, gut microbes, good fats, protein and are low in calories. Like our skin and other organs, brain also needs nutrients. The food packed with the above nutrients help to keep our grey matter healthy and happy.
Which are the brain boosting foods? There could be many. Fish like Salmon and tuna, nuts, berries, dark green leaves, Extra-virgin olive oil, eggs, coconut oil, turmeric, wine, vegetables, dark chocolate, coffee, fermented food, wine, whole grains, green tea are some of them. Do you know these brain foods can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia. Nobody want to lose their normal brain function. Focusing on healthy habits like meditation, yoga and good eats can boost your brain health.
The MIND Diet
Like the weight loss diet, vegan diet, vegetarian diet, raw food diet and many other crazy diets, there is a pretty much simple diet we all can follow for a good brain function- The MIND Diet, the short form for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet. The MIND diet is a healthy hybrid of two proven diets- DASH and Mediterranean. The MIND diet is ranked #1 in America’s easiest to follow diet and #2 in Best Diets overall by U.S. News & World Report. The researcher’s at Rush University of Medical Center developed the diet and you could see more about the diet here.
In MIND Diet, there is no daily calorie limit, specific meal times, rules on snacking. There is no tough guidelines to follow. You have lots of freedom to eat the food you love, but in moderate quantities. The diet just focuses on increasing the intake of brain healthy foods. The diet claims to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s by 53% if followed rigorously and by 35% in moderate followers. The added benefit of the diet is the possible weight loss. Although the MIND diet study was not focused on weight loss, by avoiding the added sugar, pastries and dairy products you may also be able to take off some pounds.
The MIND Diet: Recipes to Sharpen the Brain Health
Here are a few healthy and delicious recipes including brain boosting foods to keep you sharp. These 29 recipes, I had put together include desserts, smoothies, sides, meals or something to satisfy everyone. So friends, let’s dig in!!
1. Immune Boosting Green Smoothie
For me, the best part about smoothies are we can enjoy anything raw. This colorful green smoothie by Lauren is packed with nutrients; folate and phytochemicals in spinach helps to lower the risk of mental decline. The curcumin in turmeric is found to help reduce the amyloid accumulation in the brain. In addition, the immune boosting smoothie is loaded with vitamin C and Iron. This quick smoothie makes a healthy breakfast, if you are too busy to cook.
Get the video recipe here. Lauren have many great easy vegan recipes to try.
2. Pan Seared Orange Mustard Salmon
This pan seared Salmon with a sticky orange mustard sauce from Richa will be on your dinner table in 20 minutes. The orange mustard sauce enhance the salmon flavor making it a omega-3 fatty acid rich main dish. The omega-3 DHA fatty acid in fish is found to reduce the oxidative stress and slows the plaque buildup which in turn slows down the memory decline.
Get the recipe here.
3. Pomegranate & Dark Chocolate Bites
Emily made this treat very simple. A few ingredients and less preparation time makes it a humble but healthy treat. In her own words, its a fabulous little treat. I love anything dark chocolates and good for me. If you are in my chocolate club, good for you too. This bittersweet chocolates are rich in flavonoids that help create neurons and improve the memory, reasoning and attention which together leads to more knowledge. So don’t feel guilty for the chocolates you ate, they helped you improve the skills. Next time when you crave for a chocolate, make this little treat.
Get the recipe here.
4. Cooked Ripe Plantains
Yellow Plantains when cooked makes a sweet treat without any other ingredients. The fruit itself is sweet and the sweetness intensifies when cooked. They are given to babies as one of the first solid foods as they are very easily digested. The plantains are rich in Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps in the production of hormones which keeps our mood stable and regulates the body clock. You can cook the plantains by two methods. Both methods are easy and makes a healthy breakfast or snack.
Get the recipe here.
5. Blueberry Banana Detox Smoothie
Gurki’s blueberry banana smoothie looks great, right? They taste good too. They make a energy boosting breakfast or a replacement for evening snack when you feel tired after the day’s hard work. The MIND diet researchers focused fruit intake solely on berries since they are loaded with antioxidants. Among all the berries, blueberry ruled the list. Blueberry is found to protect the sensitive brain cells from harmful free radicals.
Get the recipe here. Gurki has a great smoothie section worth trying.
6. Summer Love Salad
Although Jayne named it Summer love salad, it is great for any season. This is really a great salad with lots of brain foods like nuts, olive oil, greens. Nuts offer a powerful combo of omega-3s, vitamin E and antioxidants. Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), contains oleocanthal which stimulate the production of enzymes that break down the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
Get the recipe at The Purple Ladle.
Do they seem look like a bowl of full moon to you? These full moons are the Idli, the integral part of South Indian Cuisine. They are gluten-free and comes under the category of fermented foods. Fermented food is rich in healthy bacteria and vitamin K. The gut bacteria is found to communicate with the brain to influence metabolism, insulin response and our behavior. Vitamin K plays a key role in the synthesis of important lipids and helps in slowing the dementia related problems. Although more studies on Healthier Gut= Healthier Brain is going on, scientists now refer to gut microbes as the “second brain.”
Jyothi said her title, Idli & motherhood, has nothing to do with motherhood. But as a mother, I will say, it has a lot to do with motherhood. When I wake up after those sleepless nights, Idli batter in the refrigerator made me a happy mother and wife who can prepare a healthy breakfast in minutes. If you have ever tried making Idli, you got me.
If you have never tried it, get the recipe here.
8. Super Green Tea Antioxidant Smoothie
As Katie said, you are going to get more antioxidants by replacing your regular tea with green tea. If not a tea lover, you can enjoy green tea like in this green tea smoothie. Green tea contains the most effective antioxidant catechins which keep our brain hydrated. Catechins also help to block amyloid plaque formation in the brain.
Get the recipe for an energy boosting antioxidant smoothie here.
9. Homemade Yogurt
Yogurt is another fermented food, the probiotic many of us like to have everyday. And if you are using a store-bought yogurt, think seriously about making a change. Because the active culture is very less in store yogurts. But you can use this store-bought yogurt to make a good active bacteria rich yogurt at home.
Try our recipe of homemade yogurt here without any fancy expensive starter culture or yogurt maker.
10. Slow Cooker Salmon Curry
This salmon curry by Shashi is worth all your time. They are creamy and bursting with flavors. The dish is dairy-free and you spent just 10 minutes of your active time making the dish. Slow cooker will do the rest for you.
Get the recipe here.
11. Anti-Inflammatory Lemon Turmeric Tonic
Turmeric, the yellow spice from India is making its way to alternative medicine as a magic drug. The compound curcumin not only gives the root a yellow hue, but can do wonders inside your body according to the studies. Curcumin can help reduce the amyloid plaque build up in brain. This anti-inflammatory tonic by Kelly is a must keep in MIND Diet.
Get the recipe here.
There you have it. 11 incredibly delicious and easy recipes to include in your diet whether MIND Diet is your thing or not.
MIND Diet Meal Plan
- Fish, at least 1 serving(4 – 6 oz) per week
- Green leaf, 6 cups a week
- Vegetables, 1 serving daily
- Nuts, 5 servings weekly
- Berries, at least 2 cups a week
- Wine, 1 glass a day
- Green tea, drink regularly
- Fermented food, eat many times a week
- Turmeric, 1-2 turmeric dishes weekly
There are a lots of other brain foods that you can include in your recipes like coffee (yes, it cannot be bad every time), beans, wine, egg, shell fish, whole grains etc which. All these foods may help protect our brain in the long run. Are we waiting for a cure to be found for dementia ? Of course we could do that. At the same time, making some simple lifestyle changes and efforts to stimulate the brain may protect it. After all we don’t want our loved one’s to slip away and it’s sad we can do nothing to stop it once diagnoised with Alzheimer’s Disease. But we can support our brain health in many ways.
Apart from eating healthy, engage, be social.
Take that chess board to sharpen your brain.
Do some crossword or puzzle games.
Enjoy some cheerful moments everyday with your loved ones.