Recipes for Brain Health

A balanced diet is an essential part of maintaining cognitive health. You may be shocked to see which foods provide benefits for your brain.

cooking salmon

 

Omega-3 fatty acids can increase blood flow to the brain and also enhance cognition and thinking abilities. An example of an Omega-3 rich food is fish such as salmon and tuna. Below, I’ve included one of my favorite salmon recipes. This meal is simple and easy to make which is perfect for after a busy day. 

Caper Salmon

Ingredients

  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon filets 
  • Salt and ground pepper 
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers 
  • Fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, or dill (chopped) 
  • Half a lemon (cut into quarters) 

A middle cut, 1-inch piece of salmon will take approximately 20 minutes to cook. Thinner or end pieces should be checked earlier. Thicker filets require an extra 5-10 minutes of cooking time. 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Season both sides of the salmon with salt and ground pepper. For every 1 ½ pounds of salmon, use ½ teaspoon of salt. 

In an oven-safe pan or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the capers and garlic when the butter starts to bubble. Continuously stir until warm for about 1 minute then remove from heat. Add the salmon fillets, skin-side down. Tilt the pan so that the butter pools on one side then spoon the garlic caper butter mixture over the salmon. 

Cover the skillet with a sheet of aluminum foil. You can also tuck parchment paper around the salmon fillets instead. Bake the covered salmon for 15 minutes then uncover and spoon more of the garlic caper butter over the fillets. Continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes depending on how thick the salmon is. 

If you’re craving something sweet, hazelnut brownies might just do the trick. This decadent treat isn’t just a dessert dark chocolate and nuts are also brain foods. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids which is a type of antioxidant that stimulates blood flow to the brain and promotes vessel growth in the parts of the brain involved in memory and learning. Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds contain vitamin E. Vitamin E can support brain health in older age and may contribute to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. 

Hazelnut Brownies 

Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ cup of chocolate chips or chunks (half dark chocolate, half semi-sweet)
  • ½ cup of butter, sliced into ½” pieces 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ vanilla extract 
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt 
  • ½ roasted, unsalted hazelnuts 

Instructions 

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment. Leave room for the parchment to hang over two of the sides so you can easily remove the brownies from the pan when they’re done. Spray the dish with cooking spray and set aside. 

To a large microwave-safe bowl, add 1 cup of the chocolate chips or chunks along with the butter. Heat for 20 second intervals until melted, stirring in between. It should have a smooth consistency. 

Whisk in the sugar and eggs until well combined. Then add the flour and salt and whisk until the batter is smooth. Add the rest of the chocolate chips and chopped hazelnuts.  

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth out the surface into an even layer. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The edges should be well-set , the top should be crackly, and a tester (or toothpick) inserted in the middle should come out relatively clean. Allow the brownies to cool before slicing them. 

 

A balanced diet is an essential part of maintaining cognitive health.

 

After a long day, I turn to these recipes because they are quick, tasty, and also promote cognitive well being – plus the whole family likes them. 

While eating healthy is an important part of taking care of your brain health, it doesn’t mean you have to cut out your favorite foods. These meals are delicious and include ingredients that will benefit my brain. 

 

Written by, Wendy Bronfin on Mar. 4, 2021
Wendy Bronfin

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