An Integrative Nutritionist’s Favourite Beverages For Brain HealthLuke Coutinho
The human brain is far more complex than any other organism on Earth. Our brains comprise an arsenal of 86 billion neurons and glial cells. Each neuron has branch-like projections called axons and dendrites, which receive and transmit electrochemical signals to communicate with adjoining neurons, whereas the glial cells provide protection to neurons and help keep the brain healthy. This information highway works continuously from the time the brain is formed. Our day-to-day food choices and lifestyle continually influences what’s going on inside our brains!
Nuts are superfoods for brain development and cognition. Photo credits: Unsplash
By the way, did you know our brain weighs only about 2% of our average body weight but consumes 20% of our metabolic energy? Certain foods that we eat help to nourish the brain, support brain cell regeneration and help it to perform optimally. This stands true for all people, young and old. While some of these nutrients may be readily available for the brain through the body, we must source the rest from our daily nutrition. Here are some lip-smacking beverages for not just you, but children as well as senior citizens, which are not only super delicious but the kind your brain will thank you for, in kind!
Brain Detox Smoothie
- 1 cup Coconut water
- 1 tbsp Flax Seeds
- 1 tsp Chia seeds
- 1 tsp Acai berry powder
- 1 tsp unsweetened raw cacao nibs
- 1/4 tsp Spirulina powder
- ½ cup unsweetened Almond milk
- 1 tsp raw unpasteurized honey
- Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Mix for 1 minute. Enjoy chilled
- Raw cacao nibs have mood and mind-boosting properties.
- Flaxseeds and chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are great for cognitive development.
- Berries are rich in antioxidants which curb free radicals affecting brain cells.
- Almonds are rich in magnesium, a relaxing mineral.
- Spirulina has neuro-protective properties.
Refreshing Cacao Smoothie
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1 tsp dried Goji berries
- 30ml aloe vera juice
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 Medjoul dates
- Water as required
- Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Mix for 1 minute at high speed. Enjoy!
- Goji berries stimulate nerve growth in the brain and support memory.
- Aloe vera reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.
- Dates impart natural sweetness to the drink while lowering inflammatory markers responsible for conditions like Alzheimer’s.
- Pure almond butter is mood regulatory and great for memory.
Smoothies are a great and easy way of getting nutrients in. Photo credits: Unsplash
- ½ avocado
- 1 tsp virgin cold-pressed coconut oil
- 1 handful green leafy vegetable (Spinach/kale- blanched)
- 4-5 walnut halves (soaked overnight)
- 1/4th tsp Brahmi powder
- Water as required
- 2 tbsp blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- Blend all ingredients (except) blueberries in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass and top it with chopped fresh blueberries or thawed and gently mashed frozen blueberries.
- Avocados are rich in MUFA that nourishes the brain.
- Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals. It supports cell regeneration.
- Coconut oil is rich in MCT, an easily absorbable source of energy for brain cells.
- Green leafy vegetables protect the neurons.
- Walnuts are shaped like the brain and are packed with healthy fats and antioxidants.
- Brahmi is an age-old herb used in Ayurveda for different brain disorders and to improve memory.
- 1/4th tsp turmeric
- 2-3 whole black peppercorn
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp date palm jaggery
- Boil all the ingredients (except date palm jaggery and cayenne pepper) in 1.5 cups of water for 4-5 minutes, reduce to 1 cup. Strain it. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and date palm jaggery and sip lukewarm.
- Turmeric is a medicinal herb rich in curcuminoids which increases neuron life and delays brain aging.
- Black pepper helps in better bioavailability of the curcumin.
- Rosemary helps to improve concentration and focus.
- Capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps to reduce any pain and releases dopamine.
Include at least one of these beverages as a mid-meal regularly to reap the benefits. You can adjust the quantities for each of the drinks as per your taste preference.
Let’s get mixing and let’s give the brain wonderful treats it deserves to keep it going razor sharp.
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