From regular aging to genetic predisposition – have you ever wondered what you can do to help keep your mind sharp and at it’s best? Although our genes do play a role in if we acquire certain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the brain is a powerful organ and feeding it the optimum fuel or “brain food” is proven to keep it performing at it’s optimum level. Make sure to include these top 5 brain foods to your daily diet for their strong mental and memory protective benefits.
Think the choices you make in your diet only affect your waistline? Think again. Research has shown that eating fish at least once per week can slow memory loss by aging by 10%. Fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, trout and sardines, are rich in omega -3 fatty acid which is very important for heart health but also for reducing the risk of acquiring Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Try eating a 4-ounce serving of salmon a couple of times a week for optimum protection or try trout or herring if you are not a salmon fan.
Berries may be small but they pack a mighty punch of nutrition. Blueberries are known for their brain protecting benefits – reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s’ disease and dementia. Whether fresh, frozen or from juice, make sure you include a variety of berries, such as cranberries, strawberries, and raspberries, as all of these little jewels are chocked full of powerful antioxidants that have a multitude of benefits from reduced risk of cancers, decreased infections and memory protection. Toss into salads, top yogurt or cereal, or add to your smoothie to give your brain a boost.
You have always been told to eat your greens but here is just one more reason to do so. From leafy greens like spinach and kale, to cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, it has been found that those who ate the most of these green veggies had the least memory lost over 25 years. Still other research has shown that broccoli along with other vegetables slow the aging process of the brain allowing it work efficiently throughout life.
Another green food that is often thought of as a vegetable but is actually a fruit, the avocado. The creamy buttery avocado should not be overlooked in fueling your brain with nutrients. Avocadoes are rich in fats but they are important essential monounsaturated fats that promote healthy blood flow, which the brain requires for maximum effectiveness. They also help lower blood pressure, or hypertension, reducing the risk for cognitive decline. Avocadoes are calorically dense and very versatile so add a few slices to your sandwich or top your soup with this delicious fruit.
Are you nuts about nuts? Well that can be a good thing as long as you eat them in moderation. Although nuts are a source of calorically dense fats, they are mostly the heart healthy monounsaturated fats. They also contain an excellent source of Vitamin E which slows cognitive decline keeping your brain healthy long-term. Almonds, walnuts, or cashews - a serving of nuts is 1 - 1.5 ounces so sprinkle on your salad or portion out a serving for a brain-boosting afternoon satisfying snack.
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Blueberry Muffins with Tropical Streusel Topping from Too Hot in the Kitchen: Secrets to Sizzle at Any Age
This luscious blueberry muffin with a crumbly tropical nutty topping is hard-to resist.
Makes 12 muffins
1/4 cup flaked coconut
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour plus 3/4 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons light brown sugar plus 1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, divided
1 teaspoon coconut extract, divided
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 cup whole-wheat flour or all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg white
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups fresh blueberries
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In small bowl, combine coconut, 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/4 cup walnuts. Add 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract and 1 tablespoon oil, mixing well. Set aside.
3. In large bowl, combine remaining 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon.
4. In another bowl, whisk together egg, egg white, buttermilk, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract.
5. Make a well in center of dry ingredients, pour in buttermilk mixture, stirring only until just combined. Add blueberries and remaining 1/4 cup walnuts.
6. Spoon batter into muffin pans that have been coated with nonstick cooking spray or lined with papers. Sprinkle with reserved coconut topping gently pressing into batter. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Nutritional information per serving:
Calories 219, Calories from fat (%) 37, Fat (g) 9, Saturated Fat (g) 1, Cholesterol (mg) 18, Sodium (mg) 96, Carbohydrate (g) 31, Dietary Fiber (g) 3, Sugars (g) 15, Protein (g) 5, Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 1/2 fat
Terrific Tidbit: Frozen blueberries may be used, but don’t defrost before adding to the mixture.
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American Diabetes Association...proceeds from my Holly Clegg Trim & Terrific Diabetic Cooking go to fight diabetes.
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