Did you know? June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month and to help create awareness and some yummy recipes, we’ve invited Tara Rochford, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Healthy Living Blogger, Tara Rochford Nutrition, into our kitchen!
On the agenda? Berries and Brain Health, included a Berry Salad with Cinnamon Roasted Nuts and Herby Italian Salad Dressing, Superfood Salad, and Strawberry Salsa!
Berry-themed, brain-healthy recipes
About Tara Rochford: (as told by Tara)
Hi! I’m Tara Rochford, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Healthy Living Blogger at Tara Rochford Nutrition.
I share tons of produce forward recipes that I make and develop in my own kitchen.
June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and I am teaching some cooking classes focusing on brain health this month so I wanted to share some of that information here too! A new way of eating has emerged from research called the MIND Diet. Basically, this is an eating and lifestyle pattern that focuses on eating lots of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and olive oil to help improve cognitive function and brain health.
One of the foods to focus on is BERRIES and berries are in season this time of year and one of my favorite foods, so I am putting them in everything.
The berries I’m focusing on today are Strawberries and Blueberries:
○ Jam packed with vitamin C (great for skin health and immune function, antioxidant, essential nutrient which means we need to get it from the food we eat)
○ Filled with fiber – 1 serving has 3 grams of fiber, and the daily recommended amount is 25-30g per day (most of us aren’t getting enough), fiber helps with digestion and a healthy gut microbiome, and it helps you feel full when you eat a meal.
○ Good natural source of folate, which helps with energy metabolism, proper functioning of the brain and nervous system and so much more
○ Great source of many vitamins like K1 (blood clotting and bone health), Vitamin C, Manganese (helps with metabolism)
○ Rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins, which give blueberries their blue color
○ High in flavonoids, a plant compound linked with many health benefits including brain health
You can eat these berries all on their own and mix them into sweet smoothies, yogurt or oatmeal, but today I am going to show you some savory recipes that use berries.
Berry Salad with Cinnamon Roasted Nuts and Herby Italian Salad Dressing
10 cups loosely packed greens
¼ cup chopped strawberries
¼ cup blueberries
¼ cup spiced nuts, roughly chopped
½ avocado, diced
¾ cup Herby Italian Salad Dressing (you can make your own or use your favorite store-bought)
1. In a large bowl, combine the greens, strawberries, blueberries, nuts, and avocado.
2. Gently toss, and just before serving toss with the Italian salad dressing.
To make the spiced nuts, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine 2 cups nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds) with egg white, maple syrup, taco seasoning, cinnamon and salt.
Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until fragrant and brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before chopping and tossing into the salad.
The link to the dressing and all of these recipes are on my site and the Indy Style site.
We are focusing on berries and brain health, this segment we are making a Strawberry Salsa and a Superfood Salad.
Last segment, we talked about how berries are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants making them part of a nutritious diet and specifically helpful when it comes to brain health.
Let’s start with the Strawberry Salsa:
1 cup fresh strawberries, quartered
½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
¼ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, deseeded and chopped (you can add more or less depending on how much spice you like)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir to combine.
2. This salsa tastes best when served fresh. I love serving it with tortilla chips or as a topping for build your own tacos.
For the Salad
2 big handfuls of Brussels sprouts (about 2 cups)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 carrot, grated
½ cup scallions, chopped
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (if you use salted, make sure to adjust the salt in the recipe according to taste)
¼ cup chia seeds
For the Dressing
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives
1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil, about 2 large leaves
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon turmeric
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1. To shred the Brussels sprouts, cut the bottoms off of each Brussel sprout. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half, then place the flat side down on the cutting board and continue to chop the Brussels sprouts until shredded into small pieces.
2. To make the salad, combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.
3. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to combine. You can also whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.
4. Pour the dressing over the mixed salad and toss to combine.
Tips for storage: Place in an air-tight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Serve cold.
Tips to save time: Chop the vegetables one day ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. Make the dressing one day ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.
You can find these recipes and more from me at:
Tara Rochford Nutrition on Facebook and TaraRochford on Instagram