Food for Brains - Nutritious Recipes to Improve Brain Function
By Rosie Williams
On 18, Oct 2017 | In Food for Brains | By Rosie Williams
We just love this recipe for sweet potato and quinoa falafels, provided by Mira Manek, author of the cookbook, Saffron Soul. Whilst this recipe is great as an all-year-round dish, we find it especially warming as we enter the Autumn season. Not only does it share the colours of Autumn, it also contains fulfilling ingredients such as sweet potato and chickpeas which will warm our souls at the end of a breezy Autumn day.
This recipe is also a perfect fit for our Food for Brains series, packed full of anti-oxidants, amino acids and magnesium which are all vital for reducing stress and keeping the brain happy and healthy. Enjoy this recipe as a main meal, a snack or a sharing plate with friends and family.
Mira Manek’s desire for healthy cooking combined with her love of traditional Indian cuisine led her to tweaking her mother’s and grandmother’s recipes to create lighter, healthier dishes and her first cookbook Saffron Soul was launched this Spring.
Having travelled extensively through India, Mira realised just how authentic her own home cooked Gujarati food was. She champions eating well and eating wholesome home-cooked food that doesn’t compromise on flavour, using the spice box creatively and not just confining it to curries and daals.
Indian food is an internationally popular cuisine, yet, unfairly, it is often considered to be heavy, rich and indulgent. With more people than ever before turning to healthy home cooking there has never been a better time for a fresh and lighter take on Indian food – one that Mira is creating with her vibrant and healthy cooking style.
Saffron Soul is not just a cookbook, it’s a family history shared through recipes that have been passed on down the generations, but with Mira’s healthy twists and adaptations and we are excited to be giving 3 lucky readers the chance to win their own copy of Saffron Soul signed by Mira!!!
I have been having rather a lot of small gatherings recently, and for these, I love making a large, filling, full of flavour salad, with ample crunch. It converts a simple side salad into a main, complementing any meal or feast. The fact that it is always eaten up so quickly is as much to do with the yummy dressing (and lots of it!) as it is to do with the contrasts of textures. The best part of a salad like this is that you can add whichever leaves you happen to have or love.
We regularly share brain boosting recipes and yoga tips for revitalising a weary brain, but what is the connection between diet, exercise and hearing loss?
The old saying “you are what you eat” does have some merit, but do you also hear what you eat? According to some studies, there does appear to be a connection between the quality of your food and hearing loss. Exercise matters too, specifically in relation to cognitive ability and how the brain processes sound.
These warming colours and all the natural hues of mellow pastel green, of light brown and cream – are amalgamated in this this highly nutritious bowl of brain food goodness and go hand in hand with a rainy day in November.
‘Tis the season for soups! Roasting vegetables makes a world of difference, and so here’s an incredibly simple and wonderfully hearty roasted carrot soup, with a swirl of beetroot juice. I’ve added ginger and turmeric, both optional in this recipe, but so good to include in your daily diet, especially at this time of year. I try to add them to everything, from juices to soups and curries. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger and turmeric make them a great remedy for muscle and arthritic pain, for digestion and for colds.
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon grated ginger
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ cup fresh beetroot juice
Preheat the oven on 150C. Chop the carrots into small pieces and slice the onions, cover with some melted coconut oil, just enough to grease them. Then place carrots, onions and the peeled garlic cloves in the oven for around 20-30 minutes. Once cooked, place in a nutribullet or high speed blender, add water, salt and grated ginger and blend. Boil in a pan, adding more salt if required as well as the turmeric. Pour a swirl of beetroot juice when serving.
Brain Energy Tip
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and can be used whole but is most commonly sold as a ground spice which resembles a fine mustard powder.
This antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory is used regularly to season food in India where researchers found that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s is 25 percent lower than in the U.S. In lab studies, mice that were fed curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) developed fewer amyloid plaques, associated with Alzheimer’s, than rats that weren’t.
More recent research published in Stem Cell Research and Therapy suggests it may boost your brain proliferation or its power to repair itself!
We all know the ginger root for its capacity to reduce nausea and pain reducing properties. However, recent research continues to demonstrate it’s brain boosting properties and potential to protect against cognitive disease. Ginger also has a sialagogue action, stimulating the production of saliva, which makes swallowing easier.
Carrots are known to be the go to food for good eye sight. However, they provide great benefits for the brain too. According to a study published in 2010 in the journal Nutrition the high levels of luteolin found in carrots could reduce age-related memory impairment and inflammation in the brain.
This really is one of the most deliciously healthy desserts I have had… the coconut ice cream sitting on top might be a little on the decadent side, but the slight crunch of the fresh coconut in each bite is just heavenly. I do really love the healthy, clean and delicious Oppo ice cream, so if you’re in the UK, I’d definitely recommend serving this pancake with a scoop of their ice cream (either the Madagascar Vanilla or Salted Caramel flavour).
Sometimes, it’s the aroma of something cooking or baking that makes us want to eat it, at other times it’s a beautiful image (we know this all too well!), but there are also times when the mere mention of something triggers a craving.
During a breakfast talk with David and Luise from Greek Kitchen Stories at 108 Marylebone, David mentioned his favourite nut butter smoothie (from their new book on Smoothies), an utterly decadent thickie with berries smashed at the bottom of the glass to create those gorgeous contrasting colours and layers – I’m not even sure he mentioned the flavour.
That was it – the first thing I did when I reached home was create a nut butter smoothie. I sweetened it with just two dates, added ground cardamom and then decided to create a layer of chia seeds, which ended up mixing with the rest, as expected (perhaps if I’d let it set in the freezer I could have created beautiful layers) but it tasted absolutely delicious and what’s more, it is filled with energy giving properties and nourishment for the brain.
We caught up with Mira Manek, health food blogger and author whose approach to food has inspired us here at Cubex to be more mindful about the food that we put in our bodies. Her recipes are easy to prepare, colourful, full of flavour, highly nutritious and definitely one for our Food For Brains recipe collection.
We tried this recipe from the Detox Kitchen and simply loved it!
It tastes so good, it is so nutritious and it was so easy to do. Most of all, this dish is packed with so much energy giving goodness for the brain.