Hi Everyone! June is a busy month for all of us. From the long-awaited summer solstice, our longest day of the year, to the peak of berry season, a personal favorite of mine—the month of June encourages us to celebrate the beauty of seasons and spend a little more time with our loved ones. June is also Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, which is a chance to acknowledge those fighting the good fight against the disease and give some tender loving care to our own brains. All of June’s happenings dovetail nicely into today’s post: 5 Brain Foods I Love.
In collaboration with SCAN Health Plan, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit Medicare Advantage plans, serving more than 200,000 members in California. #GatherAndShareWithSCAN
I want to take this moment to give a shout out to all those who live with the challenge of Alzheimer’s—over 50 million beloved individuals around the world have been diagnosed and are currently living with the disease. I also want to give a shout out to all those who take care of them with love and respect. Keep up the fight!
June 21 marked the summer solstice and is recognized as “The Longest Day” by those who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s. Many wonderful people have special projects, events and fundraisers started on that day. If you would like to find out more, or find out how you can help, learn more here.
In recognition of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, what could be better than to feature some of my favorite foods, each of which may have a little something extra for that “most important of all organs,”—the brain?
Now here is my short list of favorite brain foods.
5 Brain Foods I Love
I knew I loved berry season for a reason. June is the peak of berry season and, besides the fun of hunting for them in the wild, berries may actually help delay memory decline, too. Awesome, right? A Harvard study found that “women who ate two or more servings of blueberries or strawberries per week (I definitely fall into that category) could delay memory decline by up to two and a half years!”
Try out a recipe or two:
- Fast Banana-Berry Smoothie
- Easy Strawberry Horchata
- Pan Seared Cod with Strawberry Salsa
- Purple French Toast with Blueberries
2. Nuts and Pepitas
I’m nutty about nuts and seeds, and it seems they just keep discovering new wonderful things about them every day!
If you’re not familiar with pepitas, they are pumpkin seeds! We eat a ton of them in Mexico. We usually remove the white, outer husk and eat the delicious, green pepita inside. I use them in all kinds of recipes including mole. My family loves to eat them while sitting around the table chatting, too. Pepitas deliver a powerful package of minerals including magnesium, zinc and copper, all essential brain nutrients.
As for the nuts, they are loaded with brain boosters, too, including “vitamin E, healthy fats, and plant compounds,” according to Healthline.
Try out this yummy tropical parfait with pepitas.
Salmon is hands down my favorite fish. I love its color, richness and taste, and I find it somehow easier to cook than other fish. Rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids—important nutrients for brain function—the body uses these nutrients to build brain and nerve cells.
Here are two of my favorite recipes:
4. Green Tea
I first became interested in green tea after learning my adopted 102-year-old grandmother drank it everyday (I invite you to read more about the life lessons I learned from her here). Green tea has polyphenols and antioxidants, and a particular amino acid, L-Theanine, that may help us relax without feeling tired, according to Healthline.
You probably already know how much I love avocados, and it turns out they may make for a healthier brain, too! According to WebMD this is because avocados feature “monounsaturated fats which contribute to healthy blood flow.”
Try my simple guacamole recipe at home and tell your family it’s for their brains!
More yummy avocado ideas:
Who would have thought boosting our brains could be so delicious?
100+ Stories from 100 Years of Living
As we, as well as our families, get older, it’s important to take care of our brains by eating well, sleeping well, engaging our brains, and staying connected with others. Now, while you are enjoying all your brain food, check out how others have done it by watching the digital photo series, stages, a project that spotlights some of the 80,000 engaging and fascinating people who are 100+ years old living in America today. These vignettes feature the beauty and dignity of aging, and are a joy to view.
Join the conversation at #SCANstages, #SCAN100over100 and #GatherAndShareWithSCAN hashtags on social media.
Thanks to the great folks at SCAN Health Plan for making this post possible. Since its founding in 1977, SCAN has been a mission-driven organization dedicated to keeping seniors healthy and independent. That’s a great thing.