As many of you know, one of my favorite foods is berries. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, acai berries, I love them all! And lucky for me they are one of the best things you can feed yourself for optimal brain health, they are actually called the #1 brain food! They are so easy to incorporate into your diet, and provide your body with phytonutrients, anthocyanins, antioxidants and vitamins. Not to mention they are full of fiber to keep you feeling satisfied and balanced. Berries contain loads of Omega-6 and 9, which are good for overall cardiovascular health which can help prevent Diabetes.
Berries have been shown to increase focus, memory, decision making and verbal comprehension. Blueberries activate a protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) that stimulates new brain cell production, and we want as many good brain cells as we can get! Considering as we get age, damaged cells accumulate in the brain, and berries do the job of clearing those out and preventing age related diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimers.
When buying berries, it is best to buy fresh or frozen for optimal nutrient content, so be mindful when you are grocery shopping! My favorite ways to incorporate berries into my diet are in steel cut oatmeal, smoothies, atop whole grain toast with peanut butter, on top of yogurt or cottage cheese, and as a side dish! Below are some great recipes that incorporate berries, I promise they won’t disappoint!
Banana Berry Smoothie
-Handful of Ice
-1/2 frozen banana
-3/4 c frozen berries
– 1 Vanilla yogurt (I used low-fat Yoplait!)
-2 handfuls raw spinach
-Splash of unsweetened almond milk
-Top w/ granola, chia seeds, almond butter & berries!
Protein Berry Oatmeal
- ½ cup old fashioned or steel cut oats
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1 cup almond milk (or water)
- 1 egg white
- Berries of choice
- Cinnamon to taste
The night before – prepare your oats combining oatmeal, chia seeds and milk/water together in a bowl and refrigerate covered. Then in the morning, take the oatmeal out of the fridge and put in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until the oats and chia have absorbed all of the liquid. Then quickly stir in the egg white until you cannot see it anymore and it is cooked through. Sometimes I will pop mine back into the microwave for 20-30 seconds just to be sure! Then (the fun part) stir in berries of your choice! You can also add granola, mixed nuts, cinnamon and almond or peanut butter!