Brain Foods for Back To School Season
- Wednesday, 18 August 2010
After the long stretch of playtime and outdoor fun, school is finally in session again. Aside from all the standard back-to-school supplies shopping (filled with recycled paper notebooks and organic clothing) how about prepping the nephews and nieces’ brains for the studious times ahead with these nutritious dishes?
Grilled fish: Omega 3 fatty acids are the beneficial fats found to be important for cardiovascular and brain health. To determine the brain benefits of Omega 3, a group of British scientists prescribed Omega 3 supplements to elementary school children who were struggling academically. After taking the supplements, many children reported to having better focus and improved academic performance. The best and most absorbent Omega 3 acids are DHA and EPA, which are found most abundantly in fish. Eating fish 3 times a week typically provides enough Omega 3 fatty acids for the average person. A dish such as grilled salmon salad provides Omega 3 fatty acids as well as vitamins and minerals from fresh vegetables.
Free-range eggs: not only are eggs packed with protein and iron, they also contain choline -- an essential nutrient that has been proven to increase performance in memory tests in rats. Devilled eggs are one of the tastiest and most fun ways to prepare eggs. Cook 6 eggs in boiling water. When the eggs are done, cut in half and scoop out the yolks into a large bowl. Mix in 1/4 cup of light mayonnaise-type dressing, 1/4 tsp. dry ground mustard, 1/2 tsp. white vinegar, 1/4 tsp. paprika and a juice of half lemon. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste and fill the empty egg shells with the mixture.
Mixed berries and flaxseed smoothie: Flaxseeds contain a healthy dose of omega-3, helping to eliminate toxins from the body. Blueberries are high in antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce oxidative stress (which affects memory and cognitive behavior) in the brain as well as act as an anti-inflammatory. Place a 1/2 cup of blueberries, one banana, a handful of ground flaxseed, a cup of vanilla-flavored yogurt (or substitute plain yogurt with 1/4 cup of honey) and ice in a blender. This recipe is great for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack. Remember, maintaining a healthy balance of exercise and studying for maximum brain activity is the key to optimal performance in school.