You”ll never eat cereal on its own again when you realize what blueberries do for your brain. Blueberries improve memory and learning, and delay age-related cognitive decline like that seen with Alzheimer”s disease and Parkinson”s disease. They”re delicious, too.
Blueberries are a super food for your brain. They”re high in vitamin C, fibre, and antioxidants called flavonoids (also called polyphenols). In your brain, flavonoids interact with proteins and enzymes in ways that keep your brain younger. Scientists don”t know exactly how all those elements play together, but blueberry flavonoids do seem to keep you smarter. People who eat a high-flavonoid diet stay sharper than those with low-flavonoid diets. In fact, drinking blueberry juice daily can improve your memory function by up to 30%.
Ready to keep your brain smart and young? Here”s how to slip more blueberries into your diet:
Toss blueberries into a smoothie. Protect your memory and cognition by sipping a smoothie made with frozen blueberries, yogurt, or low-fat milk. Add half a banana and some flaxseeds to increase memory even more. Try this memory-enhancing Berry-Banana Smoothie recipe courtesy of EatingWell.
• 1 ripe banana, sliced
• 1/2 cup raspberries
• 1/4 cup blueberries
• 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
• 1/2 cup ice
Place ingredients in the order listed in a blender. Pulse twice to chop the fruit, stir well, then blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 126 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 5 g fiber; 4 mg sodium; 338 mg potassium.
Or enjoy a brain-boosting blueberry salad. Like most berries, blueberries are great with more than just cereal. Try them in salads, too. Protect your memeory with this EatingWell recipe for mixed greens with berries and honey glazed hazelnuts.
• 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon honey
• 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, or walnuts
• 1/3 cup raspberries, blackberries and/or blueberries
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1 small clove garlic, crushed and peeled
• 1/2 teaspoon honey
• 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
• Freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
• 10 cups salad greens, (about 8 ounces)
• 1 cup blackberries, raspberries and/or blueberries
• 1/2 cup crumbled feta, or goat cheese (4 ounces)
To prepare nuts: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a small baking dish with cooking spray. Combine oil and honey in a small bowl. Add nuts and toss to coat. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and bake, stirring from time to time, until golden, 10 to 14 minutes. Let cool completely.
To prepare dressing: Combine berries, oil, vinegar, water, mustard, garlic, honey, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in shallots.
To prepare salad: Just before serving, place greens in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the greens and toss to coat. Divide the salad among 4 plates. Scatter berries, cheese and the glazed nuts over each salad; serve immediately.
Tips and Notes
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the dresing (Step 2) for up to 2 days.
Per serving: 232 calories; 17 g fat (4 g sat, 10 g mono); 17 mg cholesterol; 15 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 6 g fiber; 349 mg sodium; 596 mg potassium.
Eat frozen blueberries. Fill ice cube trays with unsweetened blueberry juice and then toss them into cold club soda. Bonus: Frozen blueberries maintain their nutrients and are relatively inexpensive. Get Smarter with these Watermelon-Blueberry Ice Pops (recipe courtesy of EatingWell).
• 3 3/4 cups chopped seedless watermelon
• 2 tablespoons lime juice
• 1-2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 cup fresh blueberries
Puree watermelon, lime juice and sugar to taste in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Divide blueberries among freezer-pop molds. Top with the watermelon mixture. Insert the sticks and freeze until completely firm, about 6 hours. Dip the molds briefly in hot water before unmolding.
Tips and Notes
Make Ahead Tip: Freeze for up to 3 weeks. | Equipment: Ten 3-ounce (or similar-size) freezer-pop molds
Per serving: 29 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrates; 1 g added sugars; 0 g protein; 1 g fiber; 1 mg sodium; 79 mg potassium.