The realm of neurology and immunology continues to grow, as we discussed earlier this week. But the conclusion is clear: the stronger and healthier our brain, the better equipped and the more resilient our immune system. And what you eat can have prominent effects on your brain health, and in turn bolster your immune strength. In today’s collection of delicious brain foods recipes, we share a full menu of easy-to-make homecooked meals that contain brain superfoods that power-up your cognition (and thus power-up your immunity).
1. BREAKFAST: Avocado Smoothie
When it comes to brain foods, don’t skimp on the most important meal of the day — your breakfast! Avocados contain carotenoids shown to boost cognition and are also high in magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin E, and other vitamins and minerals that strengthen your brain and your immunity.
This morning breakfast incorporates avocado for an ultra-rich, creamy meal replacement shake that’s nourishing and delicious.
1 frozen banana
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1 scoop plant-based protein powder
1 large handful of greens, such as spinach or lettuce
1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
2. LUNCH: Zesty Italian Salad
Transport your tastebuds to the Mediterranean, and transport your brain health and immune health to another level. Leafy greens have been shown in studies to reduce cognitive decline. Dark leafy greens are also rich in plant-based nitrates, which help ensure healthy blood flow to your brain and other areas of your body for a stronger immune system. It’s a refreshing meal full of brain foods.
1 Romaine heart, chopped
2 cups spinach, chopped
1 large shallot, diced
1 cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup ripe green olives, halved
1/2 Parmesan cheese, shredded
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp each dried oregano, dried thyme, and dried basil
1/2 tsp sea salt
6 tbsp olive oil
Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.
Combine the salad ingredients, drizzle with dressing, and enjoy!
3. DINNER: Sesame Ginger Salmon
Grey matter is the colloquial term referring to the part of your brain that contains some of the highest neuron density in the brain. Your grey matter is responsible for sensory perceptions like hearing and seeing, and it’s also key for emotional regulation, speaking, memory, and more. And omega-3 fatty acids are critical for your grey matter.
“Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon, are associated with increased grey matter volume in areas of the brain commonly linked to mood and behavior,” reports the University of Pittsburg. “Finding suggests that omega-3s may promote structural improvement in areas of the brain related to mood and emotion regulation — the same areas where grey matter is reduced in people who have mood disorders such as major depressive disorder — investigators note that more research is needed to determine whether fish consumption actually causes changes in the brain.”
This delightful salmon recipe provides more than a day’s worth of omega-3 fats, plus other brain foods that boost your immune system like ginger (which works as an anti-inflammatory).
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tbsp soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari sauce if you have a gluten sensitivity)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp sesame seeds
4 green onions, diced
4 salmon filets
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
Whisk all the sauce ingredients together and set aside.
In a bowl, combine all of the main salmon ingredients with the exception of the salmon. Place the salmon in a big plastic sealable bag and add the rest of the fish ingredients. Let it marinate for 30 minutes, or ideally overnight.
Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until the fish is well-cooked and flakes easily. Drizzle with the sauce and enjoy!
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