You don’t need a ton of supplements for brain health. When you include plenty of brains boosting foods, you can work at top speed and be healthy. Now, we want to preface that all fruits and vegetables will provide nutrition and are brain foods. It’s just some are little better than others. Remember, keep mixing things up so you get all your nutrition.
The best brain boosting foods never work on their own. They need the support of a good diet and wonderful healthy recipes. Below are some of our favorite recipes and foods. And more importantly, why we like each food!
Brain Boosting Snacks
They are so easy to eat, fresh or dried. They have a high amount of anthrocyanins and these are powerful antioxidants. Blueberries are also known to help stimulate the brain and improve your mood. As a finger-food, they are hard to beat nutritionally. Avoid ones that are coated in sugars or the fake yogurt shell. Stick to the real thing.
- 1 cup of Blueberries
- 1/2 cup of steamed or frozen(thawed) broccoli
- 1 cup of 100% cranberry or blueberry juice
- 1/2 cup of whole fat plain yogurt
Blend all ingredients together.
- Add strawberries or blackberries for more phytonutrients.
Men take heed, if you want powerful, well-functioning testosterone, pumpkin seeds should be on your menu every day. They contain large amounts of zinc and this helps both masculine testosterone and brain health.
Pumpkin seeds are good for everyone because they support digestive health and provide healthy fats. Even women will benefit from the extra zinc.
Low Carb Pizza Crust
- 1 cup 100% whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsn parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tbsn finely ground walnuts
- 1 tbsn finely ground flaxseed
- 1 tbsn finely ground pumpkin seeds
- 2 eggs, beaten with a little water to thin, about a tsp
- 1 packet yeast for whole wheat recipes, prepped to package specifications
- Water, amount will vary depending on weather, elevation and time of year
Mix all dry ingredients. Add yeast and begin to mix dough. Add eggs and knead dough. Add water if too dry, it should separate from sides of bowl but not be sticky. Add more flour if too sticky. Knead for 10-12 minutes more.
Allow to rise in warm, but not hot, place for 30-45 minutes. An oven that is heated prior and now off is adequate, just don’t begin the baking process.
Flatten on pizza stone or baking sheet.
Allow to rise for 30 minutes in warm place.
Pre-heat oven to 350o. Bake crust for 10 minutes or until crust just starts to brown.
There is no better food for good moods. You want at least 75% or darker because it’s the amount of cocoa that determines the healthy benefits. The cocoa helps modulate our hormones, so depression, fatigue, and general moodiness don’t occur. Like in the Harry Potter books, dark chocolate can improve your mood in as little as 5 minutes!
Dark Chocolate - Pumpkin Slushy
- 3/4 Cup Pumpkin Puree
- 1 Cup Almond Milk
- 1-2 tsp 100% Cocoa Powder
- 1-2 tbsn Sugar
- 1-2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Clove
- 1/4 Ground Nutmeg
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 5 Ice Cubes
All ingredients should be chilled before starting.
Add all ingredients to blender except ice. Mix well, but do not allow to foam. Add ice and blend until smooth.
Best Brain Foods for Studying
Mix up your cooked and fresh tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes have tremendous amounts of the antioxidant vitamin C. Cooked tomatoes have the highest amount of lycopene, great for the eyes and health of our nerves. Both fresh and cooked, tomatoes improve the health and elasticity of our brain, meaning we can learn more and faster. Plus, tomatoes add sweetness to a dish without adding many sugars.
- 5 Large Tomatoes, Diced
- Fresh Parsley and Garlic to taste
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Salt
- Fresh Basil
In a saucepan, cook tomatoes with parsley, garlic, oil and salt until tomatoes break down and mixture thickens. Add fresh basil in last 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before using.
Your mom wanted you to eat this for a reason. The vast amount of calcium and magnesium in broccoli is wonderful. Our brain loves these two nutrients because it means it can process data faster and protect what it already has from oxidative stress. Plus, eating broccoli can help ward off migraines and headaches. But, it won’t work for hangovers.
- 1/2 lbs Cod Fillet
- 1/2 Cups Salsa, to taste
- 1/4 Cup Brown Rice
- 1 Small Sweet Potato, Diced
- 1 Cup Fresh Broccoli
- 2 tsp Butter
- 2 tbsn Chopped Fresh Parsley
Preheat oven to 350o.
Place fillets in a lightly greased casserole dish. Pour salsa over fish. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Cook ¼ cup brown rice as directed.
Steam diced sweet potatoes for 30 minutes. Add broccoli for last 10 minutes.
To plate, make a small mound of rice on half of plate. Add sweet potato and broccoli to other side and top with butter. Place fish on rice and top with hot salsa.
Italian Broccoli Rabe with Pasta
- 2 cups 100% whole wheat pasta, cooked
- ½ bunch broccoli rabe, ends trimmed & diced
- 1 cup organic chicken broth
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsn extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp 100% whole wheat flour
- 1 cup red pepper, sliced
- ¼ tsp rosemary
- 8-oz can chickpeas, drained
- 3-4 artichoke hearts
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Salt & pepper
Cook pasta as directed. Add broccoli rabe to pasta and water as pasta is finishing, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse.
Whisk broth and flour in a small bowl, as if creating a thin rue.
Sauté garlic and rosemary in oil and stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Whisk in the broth mixture. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, until it thickens. Add rest of ingredients. Cook, stirring constantly, until heated through and coated with the sauce, about 2 minutes.
All nuts are rich in nutrients and play amazing roles in our health. From the omega-3s to zinc, eat your nuts! Just keep mixing them up. Every nut has a superstar nutrient. If you eat them all, you could actually do away with a multi-vitamin! Plus, for our brains, nuts are its candy of a healthy kind!
Dark Chocolate Almond Bark
- 1 ½ cups roasted almonds, unsalted
- 1 lb 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped or grated
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Stir chocolate in a double boiler until melted. Add nuts and stir quickly to combine.
Spread chocolate-nut mixture on parchment paper, keeping nuts in a single layer. Top with the more nuts, if desired. Chill until chocolate is set, about 3 hours.
Break bark into pieces and store between layers of parchment or waxed paper.
Turkey with Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentils
- 1 lb turkey cutlets
- 1 cup lentils
- 1 lb butternut squash, cut into half-inch cubes
- 4 tsps extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsns mustard
- 1 tbsn red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsns minced red onion
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Place turkey cutlets on a wire rack and lightly seasoned with salt-and-pepper. Place in oven until cooked through.
In a large pot, bring the lentils and enough water to cover by 2 inches to boil. Simmer until just tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Cover and keep warm.
While lentils are simmering, toss the butternut squash with 1 tbsn of oil. Roast on baking sheet until tender, about 15 minutes.
Whisk together mustard, vinegar, onion, honey and remaining oil. Gently toss with the lentils and squash. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Top with turkey. Sprinkle with walnuts.
Quality is more important than quantity. Yes, we need protein and the flesh of animals is the best. Beef is superior because of the near perfect protein alignment, high levels of absorbable iron, and ease of digestion. It provides long lasting satisfaction and aid in keeping our moods high.
But, this is only for naturally raised beef. Factory beef, the kind you find in the grocery stores and mass deliveries, is riddled with bad fats, growth hormones, and antibiotics. All three of these are known to disrupt brain development and contribute to ADHD.
And as a side note, chicken soup is still the best medicine for a cold because it provides hydration, gelatin, proteins, and a few veggies!
Beef Roll-ups with Red Pepper Sauce
- 1 lb Steak, Pounded Flat
- 1 Cup Roasted Red Peppers
*Place 2 red peppers under broiler for 3-4 minutes per side
- 1 Cup Organic Vegetable or Chicken Broth
- 1 tbsn Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tbsn Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- Salt and pepper
In a blender, combine the red peppers, broth, vinegar, and oil and process until smooth.
Transfer mixture to a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, partially covered, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Season sparingly with salt and pepper.
Smear onto 1 side of flattened steak, leaving 1” on one side. Roll up towards side with no sauce. Tie with cooking twine.
Bake, grill or broil until fully cooked. Remove twine and slice. Serve with remaining red pepper sauce.
Healthier Cheese Steak
- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup onion, sliced
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 cup portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup beef broth
- 1 lb leftover roast beef or fresh beef, thinly sliced
- 3 oz thinly sliced mozzarella cheese
- 4 100% whole-wheat buns, split and toasted
Sauté onion, garlic, bell pepper, oregano, salt and pepper and cook on low, stirring often, until the vegetables are starting to become tender. Add mushrooms and continue to cook until all are tender.
Reduce heat to low. Dust vegetables with flour and stir to coat. Stir in broth. Reduce liquid until the consistency of gravy.
In a separate pan, reheat leftover roast beef or cook steak a few minutes until done. Stir into vegetable mixture.
Scoop a portion onto each toasted bun. Top with cheese. Toast slightly to melt cheese.
Best Brain Foods for Exams
Frankly, there isn’t anything this little herb can’t do. It actually was used at one time to secure world peace!
Sage is first and foremost a powerful anti-inflammatory. It reduces pain by taking away a cause of pain! Research in the Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior shows
Fettuccine with Brown Butter and Sage
- 1 Small Package of dried fettuccine
- 4 tbsn butter
- 20 Fresh Sage Leaves
- 4-5 tbsn Bone Broth, preferably chicken or turkey - nothing strong
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
Cook pasta as directed for al dente. Strain.
Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large pan. Add sage and cook lightly until sage smell is strong and leaves wilt slightly. Butter will take on a brown color.
Reserve sage leaves.
Add broth to brown butter. Stir immediately.
Add pasta and 5 tbsn cheese to butter mixture. Toss to coat. Add more broth if too dry or sticky.
Garnish with fried sage leaves and additional cheese.
A long time staple of country kitchens, research is showing bone broth to contain more nutrients than nearly all supplements out there. And it’s not exactly the bone. It’s the fat and gelatin! So, if you make it, don’t scrape it off. That fat layer is powerful and healthy!
One of the reasons for its goodness, is that nearly every nutrient in bone broth is at 90% or better absorption. Yes, we get more out of the broth than the food. The gelatin is a hydrophilic colloid, which means it likes liquids, including digestive juices, increases your ability to digest. Also, for unknown reasons, it also inhibits nearly all cold and flu bacteria and viruses.
The sheer number of nutrients you are able to absorb gives your brain a boost and gives you long-lasting energy.
- 2 pounds (or more) of bones from a healthy, organic (or naturally raised) source
- 1 large onion, large chopped
- 2 carrots, large chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, large chopped
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 bunch parsley, fresh
- 1 tbsn salt
- 1 tsp peppercorns, ground
- 1 large bay leaf
- 2 cloves of garlic
Place all ingredients except garlic in large stock pot. Cover with water.
Simmer on low heat for 18-24 hours or until bones are soft and/or brittle. *Do not allow bones to break or shatter. Finding bone shards in a dark, rich broth is difficult.
Strain and use. You can also freeze broth for up to 3 months.
- Use a large crock pot for low even heat.
- You can also use the ends of carrots, onions, parsley, and garlic for the stock. This was an old trick from our grandparent’s time to save money and food.
Celery is potentially cancer preventative. It works well with other foods and is an easy snack when you add positive things, like walnut butter or an apple.
- 2 tbsn plain full-fat yogurt
- 1 tbsn extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsn lemon juice
- 2 cups leftover turkey meat, cut into small chunks
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 4 whole grain wraps or flatbread
- ¼ cup chopped nuts
- 1 medium apple, diced with skin on
- ¼ cup fresh or dried cranberries
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups baby spinach
Whisk yogurt, olive oil, and lemon juice in small bowl for dressing, and set aside.
Lay wraps on flat surface, place ½ cup spinach in center, layer rest of dry ingredients on spinach and add dressing to taste.
Roll up burrito-style, and enjoy!
Salmon & Sardines
These are here for the amazing amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. All of the fatty acids help to restore and create nerves in our brains. They are extremely protective against damage and when you have enough of them, you are able to form long-term memories faster.
Sardines make an easy snack (after you get over the smell), so you can have them anytime. Mixing them with a few salty nuts, you can really supercharge your brain. Also, if you are cooking at home, adding a few sardines to a large pot of spaghetti sauce really livens the flavor and increases the nutrients.
Salmon Baked in Foil
- 4-oz salmon fillet
- Olive oil
- 1 tomato, chopped
- ½ cup mixed garlic & onion, chopped
- 2 tbsn lemon juice
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 cup mixed vegetables, your choice
Preheat the oven to 400o.
Drizzle salmon with olive oil. Mix tomato, garlic, onion, lemon juice, oregano and thyme in a small bowl.
Place a salmon fillet, oiled side down, on a sheet of foil. Place vegetables around salmon. Spoon the tomato mixture over the salmon.
Fold the sides of the foil over the fish and seal the packets closed. Place the foil packet on a heavy large baking sheet. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 25 minutes.
Serve hot in packets.
Worst Brain Foods
You have the best, now here’s the worst. Just assume anything from a vending machine is not a good brain food. They all contain something from the three bad foods below. If you really want to boost your health, skip the sugary foods.
It’s in nearly all packaged foods, but it’s not healthy for you. Not only is soy directly linked to over 12 different cancers, it contains large amounts of
Only in the US, do people normally use unfermented soy. That is perhaps why the incidence of thyroid disease and cancer are multitudes higher than anywhere else in the world, including Asia, where fermented soy is consumed regularly.
If you depress or disrupt the thyroid, your ability to produce energy is stunted. Repeated use of soy can cause permanent low levels of energy.
Even the heart association withdrew their support of soy when they realized there was not a single study published that showed soy can help lower heart disease as was promoted for years. It turns out, that was merely used because the soy industry donated over 10 million dollars.
Again, wheat is only found in processed foods. 96% of wheat is genetically modified (GMO) in the US and every single non-organic bread product tested showed evidence of containing pesticide residue. Yes, the cereal and bread in your grocery stores most likely contain pesticides. These pesticides are known for causing brain issues, including ADHD.
Wheat is also high in sugars, so while they will give you a quick high, they also will cause a severe sugar drop. This can make you tired and cranky, and possibly run to get another snack.
Again, nearly 90% of all corn in the US is GMO and corn products have pesticide residues.
But, corn itself isn’t bad. It is a grain, not a vegetable, so don’t fool yourself. Corn these days have very little in the way of vitamins or minerals. It has been bred for its sugars and sweetness. That means the bitters that are what creates healthy have been bred out.
Since corn only provides sugars, it can cause excessive sugar highs and lows. You’ll get exhausted eating corn!
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