Try a delicious smoothie for brain health.
Saturday, January 20, 2018 | by Sharron Cook
We never stop worrying about our kids – from the moment they are conceived until, presumably forever, we want to keep them safe from all harm. Despite all of the outlet covers, 5 point harness systems, curfews, graduated licensing, warnings and lectures, their fate is out of our control…
Our family has been fortunate – despite having three boys, our emergency room visit count is pretty low – I know families who seem to be there several times a year…I send you strength.
Most recently our son was visiting friends in the US and they were involved in a car accident where he suffered a pretty significant concussion. Of course, once he returned home we visited everyone on our primary care team – General Practitioner for official diagnosis and to rule out internal damage, our amazing Chiropractor to deal with whiplash and general body ache, and our Naturopathic Doctor for holistic advice on how to help repair the damage, and minimize future complications, physiotherapist to help with functional movement. All agree that along with a diet high in Omega 3 and antioxidants, rest, time and light exercise are pretty significant factors in his recovery.
As a nutritionist, I know that there are foods that can support brain health and recovery. There are also foods that can, not only not contribute to healing (empty calories with no nutrients – I’m looking at you sugar!), but that can slow things down by causing more inflammation in the brain (such as high levels of Omega 6, commonly found in processed foods).
We began by eliminating any possible inflammatory foods from his diet – we removed sugar, gluten, processed and fried foods, along with any of the foods that he has been sensitive to in the past, such as dairy. This is really important – the body is working to heal a very important organ, and cannot afford the distraction of processing challenging foods.
The YES! list includes fish – especially fatty smaller fish such as salmon, sardines (this one is admittedly a challenge for him, but we’ve ramped up the Omega3 supplement to compensate.) He’s happy to have lots of berries – blueberries, raspberries, fresh, frozen – they are full of antioxidants and flavonoids which improve memory loss and help increase brain function.
A short list of some other great foods for brain health and repair that we are incorporating into his daily diet include:
Grass fed meat and eggs – Grain fed meat has higher levels of the inflammatory Omega 6 that we are trying to reduce in the Western Diet. Grass fed meat, poultry and eggs have a better ratio of Omega 3:6, which, in the long run, decreases risk of illness. We buy our beef from Vibrant Farms in Baden www.vibrantfarms.com
Dark Cocoa, Green Tea or better yet, Matcha – powerful anti-inflammatory and source of flavonoids
Coconut oil (avoid inflammatory “vegetable oils” such as canola, sunflower, corn)
Raw/unpasteurized local honey (antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic)
Turmeric is a very important root that works at a cellular level to control inflammation. This can be found in powder, raw or supplement form.
Raw Walnuts contain manganese, fibre, copper and more nutrients essential for brain function.
I developed this delicious smoothie for my son, to support this healing, but it is good for anyone who would like a boost of brain fuel – this one is fairly highly glycemic, so keep that in mind, maybe omit the banana, and reduce the amount of honey.
I use Organic Traditions dehydrated blueberry powder, found at a health food store – if you don’t have it, use fresh or frozen blueberries. Collagen contains glycine, an amino acid that can support brain function, improves cognitive performance and promotes restful sleep. Probiotics are a great addition to smoothies – these little guys live in our gut and perform a multitude of functions including aiding in the absorption and conversion of some nutrients that enhance the brain.
If you have questions about how to improve your own brain health, or would like to discuss nutrition with me, leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
1/2 frozen banana
1/2c frozen mixed berries
1 Tbsp dehydrated blueberry powder
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp raw honey
6 raw walnut halves
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop collagen
1 capsule probiotics (opened into smoothie)
Blend everything except the collagen and probiotics together in a high speed blender, until smooth.
Add in the collagen and probiotics and gently pulse just until mixed – you don’t want to damage the protein structure of the collagen or kill the probiotics, you want to consume these babies alive.