curried chickpea and sweet potatoes recipe

Strengthening Brain Health with Nutrition

Dementia and cognitive decline have become pressing health issues, affecting millions of people and their families. While there's no guaranteed way to prevent dementia, research suggests that a healthy diet can play a significant role in reducing the risk and delaying the onset of cognitive disorders.

Nutrition can influence cognitive function throughout life. Diets rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals have been linked to lower rates of dementia and improved memory and cognitive abilities. These nutrients help by reducing inflammation, combating oxidative stress, and improving brain plasticity and neurogenesis.

Brain-Boosting Foods

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain health, supporting synaptic plasticity and reducing inflammation.
  2. Antioxidants: berries, leafy greens, nuts and seeds are high in antioxidants like vitamins C and E, which protect the brain from oxidative stress.
  3. Whole Grains: foods like oats, brown rice and whole wheat provide a steady supply of energy (glucose) to the brain, enhancing concentration and cognitive function.
  4. Curcumin: the active compound in turmeric, curcumin, has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, potentially delaying brain aging and fighting cognitive decline.
  5. Vitamin K: leafy greens such as kale, spinach and broccoli are rich in vitamin K, which is thought to support brain health and cognitive function.
  6. Flavonoids: found in dark chocolate (yay!) and citrus fruits, flavonoids may enhance memory, learning, and cognitive functions.

Integrating brain-healthy foods into your weekly meal plan is a proactive approach to support cognitive function and potentially delay the onset of dementia. Here’s a 7-day meal plan designed to incorporate a variety of nutrients beneficial for brain health, ensuring each meal is not only nutritious but also delicious and easy to prepare.

Weekly Brain-Boosting Meal Plan

Here's a downloadable one week meal plan that allows you to swap ingredients based on availability and personal preference, ensuring you can stick to a brain-healthy diet with ease. By focusing on whole foods, rich in nutrients known to support cognitive health, you can enjoy delicious meals while nurturing your brain.

brain health weekly meal plan life and apples

DOWNLOAD BRAIN-BOOSTING WEEKLY MEAL PLAN

Recipes to Boost Brain Health

Salmon and Walnut Pesto Pasta

This recipe combines the omega-3 fatty acids from the salmon and the antioxidants and healthy fats from the walnuts, making it a powerful dish for cognitive health.

salmon with walnut pesto pasta recipe


Ingredients:

  • 2 fillets of salmon
  • 1 cup of pasta
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Pesto: in a food processor, blend the walnuts, basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and enough olive oil to reach a smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook the Pasta: cook the pasta according to package instructions, drain and set aside.
  3. Cook the Salmon: season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Heat a pan over medium heat, add a bit of olive oil, and cook the salmon for 3-4 minutes on each side or until done to your liking.
  4. Combine: toss the cooked pasta with the walnut pesto. Serve the pasta with the salmon fillet on top.


Curried Chickpea and Sweet Potato Bowl

This vibrant and flavorful bowl combines the anti-inflammatory powers of turmeric with the cognitive benefits of sweet potatoes, rich in beta-carotene, and chickpeas, which provide a great source of plant-based protein and fiber. The added greens supply further vitamins, making this meal a wonderful choice for supporting mental and cognitive function.

curried chickpeas and sweet potato recipe



Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of spinach or kale, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup of cooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Fresh herbs (cilantro, basil or spinach) and sesame seeds for garnish


Instructions:

  1. Roast Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas: preheat your oven to 400°F. In a bowl, toss the sweet potato cubes and chickpeas with olive oil, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper until evenly coated. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chickpeas are crispy.
  2. Sauté the Greens: while the sweet potatoes and chickpeas are roasting, heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the spinach or kale and sauté until wilted. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Assemble the Bowl: put the cooked rice in a bowl. Top with the roasted sweet potato and chickpea mixture, sautéed greens. Drizzle with lemon juice and garnish with fresh herbs and sesame seeds.
life and apples meal planner